Requirements: iPhone 4/4S
TiP Rating: 4/5 stars
The Incipio OffGrid takes on Mophie’s Juice Pack at its own game, and performs admirably. The backup battery/case works really well, it’s simple to apply, and simple to use. Only downside: charge time.
I use my iPhone a lot, especially since I’ve been checking out new apps and games more recently – the battery takes a hammering. An hour or so playing The Drop Out, and I’m suddenly below 50% battery, add that to the calls and texts, twitter, Facebook and Mail and you have a battery life of only 7-8 hours. Thanks to the unhelpful omission by Apple in iOS 5, the iPhone 4S won’t allow me to switch off 3G. Not fun.
Incipio’s OffGrid is a case that not only protects your iPhone but also gives you an extra 1450mAh of battery power to charge your handset. In theory, it could double the time between your iDevice’s plug-in charges. Available in 6 colors (including two black finishes) the OffGrid is applied by sliding the main case on to your iPhone. The smaller, plastic cap clips on top. Couldn’t be simpler. There are cutouts and holes in all the right places for access to all necessary ports. Due to its method of charging, the 30-pin connector is covered, but thanks to a MicroUSB port you can still sync with your PC/Mac if needed. The MicroUSB port is situated right on the bottom of the case, opposite a grill. The OffGrid adds bulk and weight, but, that’s expected with any battery pack.
To activate it you press and hold the power button for two seconds, and your iOS-powered smartphone starts filling up. Adjacent to the power button are four LED lights to indicate how full the battery pack is. Very practical, and incredibly useful. If you just need to check your fuel level, press the power once (don’t hold it) and the LEDs light up. Once iPhone and battery pack are empty, plug in the USB cable and your computer will charge both simultaneously.
Despite being practical and potentially life saving, the OffGrid does have its flaws. Charging it up takes hours. When the USB cable was plugged in to a power source, my iPhone inside would charge quickly, but, the battery pack was much slower. Even when the phone was removed and they were boosted separately, it wasn’t much quicker. It could be the restrictions of MicroUSB technology, whatever it is Incipio should consider a faster charging technology.
The Incipio OffGrid has been on my phone on and off over the past few days, and the times it wasn’t on I missed it. There’s nothing better than seeing your iPhone dip below the red line and knowing that a quick press of a button can charge it back up again. Fantastic case that only needs a minor improvement to make it stunning.