avatarby Nirave GondhiaMay 17, 20174 comments

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The design of the iPhone 7 hasn’t changed too much from the iPhone 6S but one of the changes is the new camera and its bigger hump, which necessitates buying all new accessories. One of the most prevalent issues with the iPhone 6S was the battery life and while it is better by up to 2 hours on the iPhone 7, chances are you’ll need additional power by the end of a day’s usage.

For the iPhone 6S, Apple chose to address this problem head on with a Smart Battery Case that, well, made the phone bulky but added much needed extra battery capacity. For the iPhone 7, the company has kept to the same idea with the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, while increasing the battery case further.

If you have an iPhone 7, is Apple’s Smart Battery Case the answer to any potential battery woes you have? Let’s take a look and find out.

Design

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The iPhone 7 is, without doubt, an extremely attractive smartphone but the battery case negates almost all of this with its large hump-back design. Many people find it ugly and I do have to agree that it is, but after a while, it’s not as gharish as when you first use it.

What I will say is that having a humped-back design means it can be difficult to get out of your pocket, especially when a call is coming in. It’s this which is arguably the most annoying part of the design and while it’s incredibly useful to always have on your phone, you’ll most likely end up only putting it on your phone when your battery is running low.

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The soft-touch rubber silicone finish feels great in the hand and the microfiber lining is soft to the touch, which protects your iPhone 7 against scratches. The case also adds grip to the otherwise-slippery iPhone and the hard materials used provide additional durability, not that the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus need it. The case definitely feels robust enough to protect your iPhone 7 from most daily issues but the addition of a soft-touch finish also makes it comfortable to hold.

The iPhone 7 has its speakers on the bottom of the handset and alongside the earpiece and the design of the case does affect the speaker at the bottom. To negate this, the case has grills for both the speaker and the microphone on the front and moving the bottom speaker to the front results in a hugely improved audio experienced: it’s so good, you’ll want to keep the case on all the time.

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The other added benefit to the official Apple iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case is the ability to charge your phone and use headphones. One of the most controversial changes in the iPhone is the lack of a headphone jack and with the in-box Earpods using a lightning connector, it meant charging your phone and listening to music at the same is a chore. The case keeps your phone topped up meaning you can plug headphones into the lightning port and solves a big issue with the iPhone 7.

Unlike other cases – the ones from Mophie and others come to mind here – the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case is unique in that it is a one-piece design and the very top is soft and rubbery allowing you to snap it back when you want to remove and insert your iPhone. Once in place, it keeps your iPhone secure and is designed to fit the iPhone 7 exactly, which it certainly delivers on.

Extended Battery Life

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The iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case comes equipped with a 2,365mAh battery inside, while the iPhone 7 has a capacity of 1,960mAh itself. In theory, you should be able to recharge your dead iPhone fully and then have around 17 percent remaining but in actual usage, you’ll find a full recharge is about the most you can expect. As we’ve previously covered, this is not just with this battery case but instead all forms of external power.

Both the case and your phone are charged via the lightning port and when you dock your iPhone into a case, a notification appears that tells you the battery life of both the case and your iPhone. There’s no On/Off button and instead your iPhone starts drawing power from the case as soon as you dock it.

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Unlike other battery cases and solutions, the iPhone draws power from the case for as long as possible before using its own battery: think of it as how a laptop uses mains electricity for as long as it’s plugged in and only uses its own battery when there’s no mains outlet. The case constantly keeps the iPhone charged at 100% (for as long as it can) so when you do need to drop the case, you’ve got a fully charged phone.

There’s no LED indicators when your phone is docked, as the phone blocks the small LED that pops up on the back of the cover when its charging without a phone attached. Instead, the battery status is displayed on your iPhone lock screen and in the Notification Centre.

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By far the biggest disappointment of the case however is the fact it’s not waterproof, as this is a key feature of the iPhone 7. This necessitates consciously knowing when you’ll be near or in water so you can ensure your iPhone 7 is charged before that moment. Yes, there’s few battery cases that are waterproof but given the price, we thought Apple would have figured this out.

Price & Final Thoughts

On the subject of price, is the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case worth buying? At a cost of $99 (or £99 in the UK), it’s definitely not the cheapest solution on the market and its 2,365mAh capacity is average at best compared to other battery cases. Yet, it just works and like most of Apple’s products, it really benefits from tight integration into the core of the iPhone 7 itself.

If you don’t mind the hump (and after a while, it bothered me less) the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case does offer a full extra charge, intelligent power management, additional grip and relatively robust protection for your phone. If you’re in the market for something different, check out our round ups of the best iPhone 7 accessories, best iPhone 7 Plus cases and the best iPhone 7 battery packs!

Buy the iPhone 7 Battery case now!
  • Chris

    The other thing you forgot to mention is that sans 3.5mm phone plug, using the apple case can use the lighting headphone or adaptor and continues to charge

    • Very good point, added this in! Thanks 🙂

  • Kareem

    Is that compatible with Iphone 6 & 6s as well? if we ignored the 3.5 mm socket?

    • Hmm good question. In theory yes,
      although the camera hump is a different size so pictures may be affected and obviously you lose the headphone jack. Apple do a battery case for the 6S thought and we’d princely recommend sticking with that one.