Even with my brand-spanking’ new iPhone 11 Pro, which has the longest battery life of any iPhone (aside from the 11 Pro Max), I keep a charger with me at all times to help ease my low-battery anxiety. So, you can say I was very excited to slap on Apple’s new Smart Battery Case.

The new cases for the iPhone 1111 Pro, and 11 Pro Max don’t look any different than their predecessors. The “hump” doesn’t make it the most attractive case and, at $129, it’s not cheap either. But it does come with a dedicated button that allows you to launch the camera app with a quick press. 

While there’s a case available for each iPhone in the latest lineup, I only reviewed the one for my iPhone 11 Pro. As a heavy iPhone user, it doubled the battery life on my phone, giving me an extra day before I had to plug it back in.

Even though it’s pricey, there aren’t many trustworthy alternatives out there other than the $79.95 Mophie Juice Pack Access. We haven’t had the chance to review it yet, but given the company’s positive reputation, it might be a better option if you’re looking for something cheaper. 

Otherwise, Apple’s Smart Battery Case is a purchase you won’t regret.

A tried and true design with one clever tweak

I imagine every year, the team at Apple literally sits down to redesign its Smart Battery Case but comes to the same conclusion: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

As with the Smart Battery Cases that came before it, the new ones have a silicone back that feels super smooth and a soft microfiber lining (with a status indicator light toward the bottom) on the inside to keep from scratching the phone. It’s easy to slip your phone in and out, although, it might be frustrating at first. Simply bend the top half back and slide your phone into the Lightning connector. It gets easier the more you break the case in.  

Volume 0%00:2000:53More VideosNYC’s YIVO Institute holds Jewish memories saved from destruction during the Holocaust — What’s in the Basement? These expert puppeteers create videos to help kids in the developing world — Mashable OriginalsMeet Zach King, the digital magician – Mashable OriginalsThis comedian uses standup to discuss social issues — Mashable OriginalsA day in the life of a professional armpit sniffer – Mashable OriginalsTake a look inside the library home to 46,881 sketchbooks — Mashable OriginalsClose 

It’s also compatible with Qi-certified chargers. So, you can throw it onto a wireless charging pad to power it up. But I used the 18-watt charger that comes with the iPhone 11 Pro, which charges the phone first and then the case. 

You can also see the status of the battery case in the battery widget on your display, which I like better than the standard LED light indicators on other battery cases. It gives the Smart Battery Case a cleaner, more seamless look.

Apple sells the case in black, white, and Pink Sand. I was relieved to get a black review unit for my iPhone 11 Pro because I thought it would hide dirt and fingerprints but … I was wrong. The silicone is a dust magnet regardless of the color. I’d find myself wiping it with a damp cloth almost every day in order to get rid of the thin layer of prints, debris, and, sometimes, even my makeup. 

The left side has buttons dedicated to the volume rocker and an opening carved out for the ring switch.
The left side has buttons dedicated to the volume rocker and an opening carved out for the ring switch.

On the bottom of the case is the Lightning port and speaker grilles. On the left is the side button and the top right is home to the volume rocker and an opening for the ring/silent switch. 

But the best part of the case comes in the form of a tiny little camera button located on the bottom right. Rather than swiping to the display or unlocking your phone to access the camera, all you have to do is hold the button to launch it and snap photos. A long press on the button allows you to record video.

Even with tiny hands like mine, it’s super comfortable to take photos one-handed in landscape and portrait mode. 

At first, juggling the weight of the iPhone 11 Pro with the bulky case, I honestly didn’t think I’d get used to it. But when taking group selfies in landscape mode with friends, my index finger naturally sat on top of the button anyway. So, all I had to do was press down to get a good shot.

Before, I had the habit of holding the phone with two hands when taking photos in portrait mode. Using the case, I did have to slide the phone up a little in my hand for my thumb to reach the button and to get a comfortable grip. But after a while, it felt natural.

An extra day

Apple says the iPhone 11 Pro lasts four hours longer than the iPhone XR, with up to 24 hours of talk time. But I’d say the battery lasts me a solid 10 hours before I have to plug it into a charger. 

Yes, I know. That’s some heavy phone usage. Just keep reading.

Apple says the Smart Battery case is supposed to add up to 50 percent more battery life across all three iPhones. 

My phone lasted me about 28 hours the first day I tried it with the case. But that’s with low-power mode turned on. 

The second day I used it, I charged both the phone and the case at about 3 p.m. and still had over 20 percent battery left by about 5 p.m. the next day. That’s about three hours less than the first time around, but still, over double the amount of time the phone lasts me without the case on.

Like I said before, it’s very important to note that I use my phone, a lot—in addition to the standard texts, calls, emails, and social media. I use it to play podcasts in the morning, to stream music at the office during the day, and to catch up on TV shows on my commute home. I also use it to play white noise through the night in order to help me fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Even with all that activity, the Smart Battery Case managed to more than double the battery life on my phone. Those who use their iPhone 11 Pro less than I do will probably be able to go even longer.

As mentioned in last year’s review of the Smart Battery Case for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, there’s no on/off switch to control the charging, which is a feature I’m used to with Mophie’s charging cases. It bothers me that even when my phone is fully charged, the Smart Battery Case is pumping out power that could be saved for when my phone is actually dying. 

The best option out there, so far

As mentioned before, your options are limited. While I have yet to review the Mophie Juice Pack Access, it is slimmer than Apple’s Smart Battery Case, and $50 cheaper. It also comes with that on/off switch I very much love.

Of course, there’s also the option to search the internet for a less popular brand. But seeing as how we’re talking about an iPhone here, you might be best sticking to an Apple-branded product.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here