Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Anker MFI (made for iPhone) Battery Case

Anker MFI Battery Case Review

  • Relatively small and light. Basically doubles thickness of iPhone 5S
  • Adds less than 3 ounces to the weight of the iPhone 5S
  • Feels great in hand. Good tackiness. Rubberized feel
  • Micro USB connection- can use cheap, readily available micro USB cables instead of expensive Lightning cables
  • Simple to operate- one button to start charging and stop charging your phone from the case
  • Anker thought of everything box includes
    • 2 frames for phone (front of case)
    • extension cord for audio jack access
    • micro usb cord for charging


  • Micro USB connection- if you have an iPhone 5S, it’s likely you’ve also invested in Lightning connection cables
  • Makes audio port nearly inaccessible for most 3.5 mm jacks- the Apple headphones will fit into the jack- they are straight in and narrow. (but it comes with an extension, you just have to carry that around with you)
  • Makes phone bulky (every battery case does and many normal cases do). But, I like a thin, lightweight phone.

As smart phones have gotten smarter, they’ve gotten thinner and lighter, something I really appreciate, but the challenge has been the things we do with them require more and more battery power. Battery capacity is not growing at the pace where we get longer battery lives now than we did years ago. In fact, in many instances they’ve gotten shorter. We no longer just talk on our “phones’ (Why do we still call them phones anyway?). As I watch videos, listen to music play games, etc. while I’m traveling I often find my phone won’t last half a day- let alone the whole day without needing another charge. I could carry an adapter with me and I often do and can find somewhere to plug it in, but there are those times when you just can’t plug your phone in. That’s when you need the Anker MFI Battery case which doubles the battery life of your iPhone 5S.

There are two battery extension alternatives for when you’re on the go. There are external batteries that you charge and carry separately. I’ve reviewed several of those. They work fine. The advantage of using those is they keep the form factor of your iPhone itself exactly the asme. I’m a minimalist when it comes to cases for my phone, I want the case to “go away”. If you’ve got a bag you can throw an external battery into, they work great. However, if you don’t want to carry them and their cable separately, the Anker Battery Case is the way to go.

The case has a great feel- feeling slightly rubberized. The finish is pleasant. It’s slightly tacky in your hands, which I like. It gives you a good grip on your phone and feels kind of “soft”. It basically doubles the thickness of your phone and adds less than 3 ounces in weight, not even doubling the weight of the phone. The frame (it ships with two in the box) protects the front edges of your phone and the battery on the back protects the back. You might see a smoked frame and a clear frame (both translucent) in some pictures of the device. Mine came with two jet black opaque frames. Others have also mention a kick stand. I guess that has been removed. Mine did not come with a kick stand (which I wouldn’t want). It has speaker ports, so the sound from the iPhones speakers (located at the bottom of the phone) is not muffled. In fact the ports direct the sound to the front of the phone instead of coming out of the bottom, maybe making it even better.

The battery pack is simple to use. There is a single button in the back and four LED lights that display the remaining power. It came fully charged. You simply slide the Lightning connector into the bottom of your phone and snap the frame around the front. Be sure to snap it down all the way around. I didn't at first and it was kind of loose. But, once I installed it properly it was secure. To remove it, I had to use a small screwdriver to pry it apart at the bottom. It charges through a micro USB cable (included). You can charge both the phone and the case together (so you never really have to remove the case). The cable plugs into the side of the case and charges the phone first, the battery pack second. To use the battery to charge the phone, you just hold the power button down for 3 seconds to begin charging your phone and hit it again for 3 seconds to stop charging. The LED lights show you how much of a charge you have left on the battery pack.

It’s been reported it can take more than two hours to fully charge the phone from the battery and some have complained the phone never reached 100% charge. Neither of those things matters because you can use your phone while it’s charging from the battery. BTW, my phone did go up to 100% charge from the battery case.

The micro USB connector that is used for the case is both a positive and a negative. I realize that Apple’s Lightning adapter is proprietary and micro USB is more prevalent (and cheaper), but I’ve invested in Lightning cables in my car, all over the house on my computer, etc. When I go to plug my phone in, I’m much more likely to find a Lightning connector than a micro USB. I’ll have to keep up with the micro USB cable to charge the case. You can charge the case separately by removing your phone, or you can charge your phone while in the case. It charges the phone first, then the battery in the case.

The second slight drawback to using the case is the thickness at the bottom means you’re probably not going to be able to plug much into the 3.5 mm headphone jack on your phone without using an adapter. The good news is Anker thought of that and thoughtfully includes an extension cord that allows you to plug your headphones in. The Apple headphones (that ship with the iPhone) have a narrow, straight in plug, so they will actually work with the case. Most of my headphones have a 90º bend on them and will not work without the extension.

I was pleasantly surprised by the cost of this case. It’s not much more (not any more) than you would pay for some cases alone. Given that it both protects your phone and doubles the battery life, it’s well worth it. I’m a minimalist when it comes to cases though. I’m not a fan of the cases that ruin the form factor of my phone. I carry the lightest thinnest case (transparent) that I could find. I will use the Anker for those occasions when I need a battery boost, but won’t use it for daily use. That’s just me though. If you don’t mind the extra thickness and weight, this is a great case.

p.s.- the manufacturer provided this case to me in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are purely my own. I received no compensation for this review.
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  1. I like the way you start and then conclude your thoughts. Thanks for this nice information regarding iPhone 5S Battery Case. I really appreciate your work, keep it up.