If you travel a lot for work or even leisure, you feel the hurt of fleeting battery life more than most. The $79 Lenmar Meridian battery case for the iPhone 5 can double the endurance of your iPhone, but weighs -- and costs -- a bit more than the competition. Is it worth it? You bet.
Click to EnlargeThe Lenmar Meridian features a fingerprint-resistant, soft-touch finish and comes in black, glossy white or red. Unlike the rounded designs of the Mophie Juice Pack Helium and i-Blason PowerGlider, the Meridian's sides are angled, which makes it somewhat less comfortable to hold.
The upper half of the Meridian has openings for all of the iPhone 5 controls and camera. The lower half contains an opening for the audio jack (a 3.5mm extender cable is included) as well as forward-facing ports for the speakers.
Like most other iPhone battery cases, the Meridian charges via a microUSB port on the bottom. To activate the charging function on this battery case, just press the button on its lower back. This button also activates an LED that indicates charge level by color. We prefer Mophie's treatment, whose four LEDs give a more accurate gauge as to the battery level.
Click to EnlargeMeasuring 5.5 x 2.5 x 0.6 inches and weighing in at 3 ounces, the Meridian is one of the heavier iPhone 5 battery cases we've tested. While its dimensions are almost identical to competing cases, its weight brings the iPhone 5 (3.95 ounces) to a hefty 6.95 ounces. By comparison, the i-Blason PowerGlider (5.3 x 2.3 x 0.5 inches and 2.5 ounces) is both smaller and lighter.
According to Lenmar, the Meridian's Lithium-polymer 2300-mAh battery provides the iPhone 5 with double the battery life. We're happy to see that the case lived up to that claim. On the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web browsing over LTE), the Meridian lasted an impressive 10 hours and 5 minutes, almost double the iPhone's time of 5:30 alone. Our battery tests cycles through popular websites on 40 percent brightness.
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The Lenmar Meridian easily bested the category average of 9:06 as well as the PowerGlider (8:59) and the Mophie Helium (8:40). The $79 iBattz Mojo Hi5 Power Bank lasted an epic 12:54, but it has a much clunkier two-piece design.
The $80 Lenmar Meridian for iPhone 5 is one of the longest-lasting iPhone 5 battery cases we've tested. While other cases are lighter, this accessory provides the best balance of endurance and ease of use.