Want to extend the endurance of your Samsung Galaxy S4, but don't want to attach a large case? The Mugen Power HLI-I9500XL is a 5500 mAh battery and back plate for the S4 that more than doubles the phone's battery life. However, this accessory more than doubles the thickness of the S4, and costs $89. Is the added girth and expense worth the price?
The confusingly named HLI-I9500XL is such a large battery that it comes with its own custom back plate to fit the added girth. While it doesn't make the S4 any wider or taller, it more than doubles the thickness of Samsung's latest flagship phone to 0.65 inches from 0.25 inches. It also increases the overall weight of the S4 to 6.6 ounces from 4.6 ounces.
Available in either black or white, the plate snaps snugly onto the Galaxy S4 and has openings for the camera lens, flash and speaker. Its curved edges and sandy texture made it quite comfortable to hold. However, some might find the plastic backing too snug--we thought we would rip our fingernails off trying to remove the plate.
MORE: Best Smartphones 2013
Yes, that is an S4 in my pocket. The added thickness of the Mugen battery creates such a bulge that Mugen Power includes a black leather, clutchlike case with every HLI-I9500XL. Unfortunately, it feels rather cheap and doesn't include a belt clip.
For what you will gain in size with the HLI-I9500XL, you will more than double the S4's battery life. With 5500 mAh of capacity, we coaxed 11 hours and 7 minutes out of the AT&T Galaxy S4 on the LAPTOP Battery Test (Web surfing via LTE). With its own 2600 mAh battery, the S4 conked out at 5:14. Mugen Power's much smaller 2750 mAh battery, the HLI-I9500SL, didn't move the needle much, lasting just 5:23.
In favor of such a large capacity, you might expect the nifty Near-Field Communication features in the S4 to be dropped. Fear not: Since Mugen included NFC on this battery, we had no issue sending an image from the AT&T S4 to another via the S Beam feature.
MORE: Best Apps 2013
For $90, the Mugen Power HLI-I9500XL is a fantastic accessory, more than doubling the battery life of your Samsung phone. Your S4 will more than double in thickness and gain a noticeable 2 ounces, but this solution will please case-averse users because it provides long endurance without hiding your shiny new phone.