iPhone 5-toting travelers need a simple solution to stay juiced up while on the move, and it doesn't get much simpler -- or cheaper -- than i-Blason's PowerGlider battery case. Available for as little as $47.95 online, this iPhone 5 battery case offers an excellent combination of features, performance and price. However, the lack of Apple certification for this accessory should make shoppers think twice.
Click to EnlargeThe all-black, soft-touch finish (also available in glossy white) of the i-Blason PowerGlider sports rounded edges, making it one of the more comfortable cases to hold. The upper quarter of the PowerGlider pops off, so you can slide your iPhone 5 in. The case has openings for the camera and flash as well as its power, vibration and volume controls.
The lower half of the accessory houses four LEDs that indicate charge level, a button to activate charging, forward-facing speaker ports and an opening for the audio jack (adapter included). A pop-out stand on the back, while a tad flimsy, is also helpful for watching video and FaceTime calls.
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Click to EnlargeConveniently, the PowerGlider has a Lightning port on the bottom, so you can recharge the case using the cable your iPhone came with; every other iPhone 5 battery case we've tested requires a microUSB cable to charge.
The PowerGlider measures 5.3 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches and weighs 2.5 ounces, bringing the combined weight of it and an iPhone 5 to 6.45 ounces. That's about a half-ounce lighter than most other battery cases we've tested; the Mophie Juice Pack Helium is the same weight as the PowerGlider, but is a longer 5.5 x 2.5 x 0.6 inches.
Not Made for Apple Approved
Click to EnlargeThe Lightning port on the i-Blason PowerGlider is not Apple-approved, so there's no guarantee that the PowerGlider will work if Apple makes an update to its iOS operating system. According to some user reviews, the PowerGlider was unable to hold a charge after repeated use, and others claimed that the company was unresponsive with complaints. We reached out to i-Blason about this accessories lack of Made for iPhone certification, but did not hear back in time for this review.
Click to Enlargei-Blason promises that the PowerGlider, which packs a 2200 mAh battery, will provide 1.2 times the battery life of the iPhone 5 on a full charge. In our testing, the PowerGlider provided an additional 3 hours and 29 minutes of battery life using the LAPTOP Battery Test (Web surfing via LTE), for a total time of 8 hours and 59 minutes. That's far from i-Blason's claim, but about 15 minutes longer than the Mophie Juice Pack Helium ($79), which lasted 8:40. However, it's not the longest-lasting case we've tested. The Lenmar Meridian lasted about an hour longer (10:05), and the iBattz Mojo Hi5 Power Bank lasted about four hours longer (12:54).
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i-Blason says that you should get 800 full charge cycles out of the this lithium polymer battery. After that, the PowerGlider's battery will likely diminish to around 75 percent of its original capacity.
Click to EnlargeThe i-Blason PowerGlider offers fairly good battery life and a lightweight design for a low price, making it worth a look. And the fact that you can use your iPhone's Lightning cable to recharge the PowerGlider (instead of microUSB) means you can leave an extra cable at home. However, there's a reason i-Blason can charge as little as $47.95; this accessory isn't Made for iPhone certified, which raises questions about how long it will last.
Overall, we recommend the Lenmar Meridian iPhone 5 Battery Case. Although it weighs a half ounce more and costs $79, you'll get an hour of extra runtime and the peace of mind from owning an MFi-certified product.