Rather low in capacity for an iPhone battery, Patriot’s Fuel+ 1500mAh Mobile Rechargeable Battery with Lightning Connector ($50) is the latest backup charging solution with a built-in Lightning plug. The white plastic rectangle is a far less exciting shape than something like PhoneSuit’s Flex Pocket Charger, but it’s also thinner and narrower, matching the width of the iPhone. At only two ounces, it can easily slip into a bag or pocket for charging on the go. Patriot lists a separate battery-recharging cable as one of the pack-ins, although our review unit didn’t come with one.
The half-inch thick box is almost square, but it’s about a quarter-inch taller than it is wide.
There’s a horizontally-centered power button on front, towards the top. An LED ring around it shows the estimated battery life remaining. It’ll be red at under 40%, orange between 40% and 70%, and green if it’s any higher. Other than a micro-USB battery recharging port on the right edge, and some black logos, the body is quite plain.
To access the Lightning plug, you must pull off a cap from the top; as there’s nothing to tether it to the body of the battery, there’s a chance the small piece will get lost.
Additionally, the plug is surrounded by plastic that makes it incompatible with most cases; unless yours has an open bottom edge, it won’t fit.
Our tests showed that while Fuel+ 1500mAh’s performance was better than we’d expect for the capacity, it still wasn’t ideal. If you’re going to carry around a standalone battery, you should expect to get at least a full charge from it. This one boosted the iPhone 5 by 78%, which is about 10% better than the average we’ve seen in tests of other 1500mAh cells. However, accessories such as Macally’s MBP26L have higher capacities and charge potential, at the same price.