If there’s one thing I’ve learned when I travel, it’s that my iPhone 5 will run out of battery before I finish the day. When I’m at home, it’s fine, but out and about, I find that searching for networks, GPS, and other everyday usage burns through battery like it’s nobody’s business. These days, it’s almost a requirement that you travel with a spare battery or backup power source of some kind.
I’ve been using a Mophie Juice Pack Air for a while now, but I’ve had various problems with mine, so I’ve been looking for alternatives. So when I had a chance to check out the new Jackery Leaf battery case for the iPhone 5/5S, my curiosity was piqued for sure.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Jackery Leaf is that it’s a very different design from other battery packs on the market. Its true innovation is that when the battery is removed, your phone is still protected by a case.
In fact, the cases are interchangeable, and the Leaf comes with both a black and an orange iPhone case for you to swap around.
Once you’ve slipped your iPhone into the case of your choice, simply slide the case onto the keyhole hook on the Leaf’s battery back, ensuring the Lightning connector is docked and you can use the battery to juice up your phone. But if you want to travel light, you can just as easily slip the phone off the back, and it remains in its case. While the look isn’t quite as seamless as other battery cases, the convenience far outweighs that minor tradeoff.
With both battery and case snapped together, its total dimensions are 5.4″(L) x 2.4″(W) x 0.7″(H), providing the sometimes too lithe iPhone 5/5S with some much needed substance. The case itself only adds 0.625 ounce to your phone, while the battery and case combo adds 3.375 ounces. This is a tad more than the 2.75 ounce weight of the Mophie Juice Pack Air, but I didn’t notice it in everyday use. Plus, the Leaf has a larger capacity battery. Keep in mind that with the battery on, you may have to use the included headphone extension cable depending on how long and narrow your headset plug is.
Charging the Jackery Leaf is easy – just plug the included microUSB to USB cable between the case and a spare USB port or charger, and it’ll fill up in about four to five hours. Like the Mophie, I’d rather see a Lightning charging jack, but I’m assuming that using one for charging would drive the price up. The case also offers pass-through charging of your iPhone, so you can leave the case on all the time even if you are only using the internal battery of your iPhone most of the time. The iPhone charges first, then the case.
Turning the battery on or off is achieved by pressing the flat button on the back of the case for two seconds. Tapping that button will illuminate to indicate how much power the pack has using a multi-color LED. The 2400 mAh battery inside was enough to juice up my iPhone fully, and then give it another 35% or so after that. A full charge of the iPhone takes about three hours, but you can keep using your phone right away if it’s low on battery and you enable the Leaf, which I did on several occasions when my iPhone dropped down into the nerve-wracking 10% zone.
I really have nothing bad to say about the Jackery Leaf. It offers an innovative interchangeable case design, carrying flexibility, enough battery to charge your iPhone fully (and a little more) and is an all around good deal when compared with its biggest competitor.
In addition to the black and orange combo pack, Jackery is also offering a version with a white and an orange case. Hopefully, they’ll offer more interchangeable cases down the road, in case your case gets damaged, or if you just want a change of color. Regardless, the very fact that you can keep your phone in a case and then dock it with the battery is a big advantage over other battery cases.
The Jackery Leaf lists for $99.95(USD), but is currently on sale for just $79.95 over on Amazon. I’m not sure how long that price will hold, so you should take advantage of it sooner rather than later.