Despite a slow start due to Apple’s process for licensing Lightning-based accessories, there are now quite a few iPhone 5 battery cases on the market, and more are arriving on a regular basis. Odoyo’s Power+Shell EX Rechargeable Battery Case ($80) is one of the latest to hit our offices. Coming in matte black or glossy white, the design is one we’ve seen before, with a pop-off frame that enables the iPhone 5 to be easily installed atop the charging connector; iBattz’ just-released Mojo Refuel and others feature a similar setup. Inside the case is a single 2200mAh cell, which isn’t swappable like Mojo Refuel’s, but arrives at a lower price point.
Each version of Power+Shell EX splits into two separate pieces. There’s the main body, which is a plastic sled, and then the plastic frame. Odoyo also includes a headphone port extender and a Micro-USB charging cable. Once the iPhone has been placed on the Lightning plug, the frame snaps in place, but we found it took a few times around to make sure all of the latches clicked in correctly. Like many similar cases, this one leaves the volume and Sleep/Wake buttons exposed, along with the side switch. The speaker and microphone are rerouted towards the front, with no degradation of the sound in either direction. One somewhat unique, although not totally novel, feature is the video-ready kickstand on the back. Additionally, instead of a single battery indicator light, there are cutouts in the shape of the company’s logo that glow to show the battery level—a sort of cool design element.
Odoyo says Power+Shell EX will give a “full complete charge,” and with a depleted iPhone 5, that’s just what we got. In a little over two hours, the handset went from empty to exactly 100% before the battery gave out. Not only does this match the company’s claims, but it also lives up to our expectations based on past tests of iPhone 5 batteries, and the guarantee of truly doubled power is very convenient. The only small issue we saw was the battery indicator light glowed blue when the cell was empty, rather than the red it was supposed to.
While it was on the edge of our A- and B+ ratings due to impressive competition, Power+Shell EX just merits the higher A- mark. It offers a full recharge in a slim and respectable-looking package, packs a kickstand, and sells for $80—the same price as a much lower-performing Juice Pack Helium. Power+Shell EX’s performance compares to iBattz’ Mojo Refuel, although without the second battery, at a $10 lower price. While it isn’t as aesthetically polished as the best-looking iPhone battery cases we’ve tested, the price to performance ratio weighs heavily in favor of choosing this case first. It’s worthy of our high recommendation, and should merit your attention unless you’re willing to pay more for an alternative replaceable batteries.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPhone 5