I love my iPhone 6s Plus and I was extremely fond of my iPhone 6 Plus for one very big reason -- the devices both have/had great battery life. But even with the huge battery that's built into these two devices, on occasion I will find myself getting low on battery power towards the end of the day. Well, there's a new battery case in town from Spyder Digital Research that looks like could be an "everyday carry" power solution for the biggest iPhones. Today we're looking at the Spyder PowerShadow Battery Case for iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus (US$99.99 -- also available in a version for iPhone 6/6s at the same price).
One of the biggest concerns I've had about getting a battery case for the iPhone 6 Plus or 6s Plus is that it's already a large phone -- the last thing I need is to have a case that's going to make it even more bulky. Fortunately, the PowerShadow is quite thin and weighs just 4.25 ounces (120.5 grams). Is it thicker than a "naked" iPhone? Yes. Is it necessarily thicker than other non-battery cases on the market? No. When the case is installed, the total thickness is .59 inches (15mm), a little over double the thickness of the bare phone at .28 inches (7.11mm).
The battery pack has a capacity of 3500mAh, more than the built-in capacity of the iPhone 6s Plus (2750mAh) or the iPhone 6 Plus (2915mAh). That's enough to completely recharge the battery of either of the plus-sized iPhones more than once over, and that's the real selling point of this or any other battery case.
The case does give you some other functionality. First, it's shockproof and can withstand a 5 foot (1.5 meter) drop. Next, the case itself is water resistant and can help in those situations where you're caught in rain or accidentally splash a drink on your phone. Third, the material that the PowerShadow is made out of provides anti microbial properties so that bacteria, mold, mildew and fungus growth is inhibited. It's also dustproof, and with an optional dock ($49.99) it's possible to just place the case with iPhone inside on the dock for charging (there's also a covered micro-USB port).
The PowerShadow comes in two finishes: black and titanium. Unlike most other charging cases, the PowerShadow uses a one-piece design so there's no concern that any parts will be bent, lost or broken when installing or uninstalling the case.
There are pass-through buttons for the power switch and for the volume toggle. There's a small opening for the mute switch, and silicone doors cover the headphone port and the charging port. Two small speaker/microphone holes mark the front of the case, while on the back is the power button for the case and a small "spider-shaped" LED cluster to show remaining charge.
Finally, a USB to micro-USB cable for charging and a headphone port extension are both included with the case.
The PowerShadow comes pre-charged so it's easy to get going once it's removed from its packaging. Installation and removal of the case are both quite easy, and the device comes with a well-written instruction manual that shows exactly how.
To turn on the case and begin charging the iPhone, you press and hold the button on the back for two seconds. That press and hold feature ensures that power is not accidentally turned on.
While the PowerShadow -- like any battery case -- adds some thickness and weight to the iPhone, it's not overwhelming large and it feels solid in the hand.
Spyder suggests that users charge up the device to a full level before use although it does come pre-charged. They also recommend waiting until the battery on your iPhone 6 Plus or 6s Plus is at 20% remaining capacity or less before turning on the battery pack to recharge the phone.
The PowerShadow has more capacity than either of the Mophie products it competes with. The totally waterproof Mophie Juice Pack H2Pro ($129.95) carries 2950mAh of power, while the regular Mophie Juice Pack ($99.95) only supplies 2600mAh compared to the 3500mAh PowerShadow.
There were a few things I questioned while using the PowerShadow. First, while I usually get a 100% charge level on my iPhone while it’s being charged on a dock, it never got above 97% when in the PowerShadow case. Second, when I turned the battery case on while the iPhone had about 75% of its charge remaining, it shut off recharging after a short time. It did not do so when the iPhone had a much lower charge. Neither situation really concerned me — it’s just different from what I’m used to.
With more battery capacity and a design that provides for easy installation and protection, I found the Spyder PowerShadow Case for iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus to be a well-built accessory. For those who can’t make it through a day without running out of charge on an iPhone 6 Plus or 6s Plus, the PowerShadow Case really delivers with more than enough capacity to fully recharge the iPhone.