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Mugen Power HLI-I9500XL for Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Our Verdict

The Mugen Power HLI-I9500XL more than doubles the Galaxy S4's lasting power without the need for a case.

For

  • More than doubles battery life
  • Back easy to grip
  • NFC support

Against

  • Adds considerable weight and thickness
  • Back takes significant force to remove

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?

Design

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.

Click to EnlargeAvailable 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.

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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.

Performance

Click to EnlargeFor 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.

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Verdict

Click to EnlargeFor $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.

Tech Specs

Size5.31 x 2.69 x 0.4 inches
Weight3.8 ounces
Company Websitehttp://www.mugen-power-batteries.com/
Battery Type/Life5500 mAh
BrandMugen Power
Accessories TypeBags and Cases
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Joe Osborne joined the Laptopmag.com staff in 2013, focused on improving LAPTOP’s already stellar review coverage and original benchmark tests. With a B.A. in Journalism from Temple University, Joe has covered the games and tech scenes through reviews, hands-on previews, news, interviews and more for outlets like PCMag and AOL’s Games.com.