OtterBox Resurgence

Earlier this summer, OtterBox announced their first entry into the smartphone battery charging case arena with the Resurgence series for iPhone 5 and 5s. The OtterBox Resurgence is a high-speed charging iPhone case with a 2,000 mAh battery and “military spec. drop protection”, according to OtterBox. Naturally, being an OtterBox case, the Resurgence focuses heavily on protection and durability, but it also boasts a few interesting battery features as well including high-speed and auto-stop charging. Below I’ll unpack how the OtterBox Resurgence case for iPhone measures up as a battery charging case against similar offerings from Mophie and the like…

Power

While OtterBox is probably known first for the durability and protection offered by their cases, the Resurgence series is distinguished by its included battery pack for charging your device. Spec-wise the OtterBox Resurgence is equipped with a 2,000 mAh battery giving you enough power to go from empty to full on the case alone with much use, and you can hit nearly full from nearly empty if you’re actively using your iPhone and recharging.

Two distinctive features make OtterBox’s first entry into this space different: auto-stop charging and high-speed charging. In my testing, the former feature worked rather reliably while the latter feature was somewhat iffy compared to other battery cases.

The goal of auto-stop charging is simple: once your iPhone hits 100%, the Resurgence case realizes and saves the rest of its battery for when you need it again. Smart, and it works pretty well. In my use, the Resurgence case didn’t stop immediately at 100%, but it did stop quickly after as if the case was out of juice but alas it could be reactivated manually. This is probably the reason the case doesn’t have a single off/on toggle like other cases but instead opts for a combined battery indicator and charging activator. You can check your case’s battery life by clicking this button once, or active the charging case by holding it down.

The OtterBox Resurgence also boasts high-speed charging as a major feature, but my mileage was similar to the charging rate of other battery cases I had around my desk for testing. That’s not a bad thing, the OtterBox Resurgence went from zero to full in about 2 hours using the included micro USB cable and a standard iPhone wall adapter (and perhaps a stronger wall adapter would deliver slightly different results), but it wasn’t like the case took 30 minutes to hit full capacity or anything. It’s no worse than other cases, but I wouldn’t focus too much on this area as a benefit either.

Protection & Design

The look and feel of the OtterBox Resurgence case is rather light and sleek, especially for a protective, battery-equipped iPhone case. The profile is somewhat narrower than a few Mophie cases laying around my office, and the back side is flat then tapers off toward the top making it less bulky.

The volume toggles feel more durable than those found on similar cases, which you expect from OtterBox. There is an opening for the mute switch rather than covering it with the case and supplying another switch; this creates an area of exposure you may not want on a protective case, but it’s much more convenient and reliable than what’s found on other cases with their own toggles.

The overall look, especially on the black model which is matte so it’s not shiny, is very toned down and minimal rather than trying to mimic the look of the iPhone without a case (only with plastic) as you will find with comparable cases from Mophie.

Installing and removing the case, though, is a bit different, as the front and back snap together rather than having a top and bottom that slide together. It’s simply not as easy to install and especially more difficult to remove (tip: start at the top). This is definitely an area of improvement for future iterations, although you definitely get the feeling the case will not fall off during a major drop.

In terms of protection, OtterBox says the Resurgence case features military-rated drop protection (MIL STD 810G-516.6) so you can rest easy if your iPhone takes an unexpected tumble. While I wasn’t up for the challenge of tossing my own iPhone off any great heights, the build quality is certainly assuring and on par with similar slim cases from OtterBox.

The display and home button are exposed as is the camera and flash and it’s not a waterproof case, but it’s definitely one of the more durable and surprisingly sleek charging cases for iPhone.

Bottom Line

Specs and bells and whistles aside, the OtterBox Resurgence case is a very sturdy battery case at a competitive price and definitely worth considering.

My main quip with OtterBox Resurgence, though, is that it’s just so darn hard to remove. The battery-equipped back of the case holds your iPhone while the thinner cover snaps in place over it, and assembling it feels secure and permanent. Removing it, however, also reminds you of how tough the Resurgence case is; it might even feel like you’re breaking the case before it’s removed, although this certainly hasn’t happened during my testing.

So should being difficult to remove be a deal breaker for prospective OtterBox Resurgence customers? Probably not if you intend to keep the case on most of the time as is the behavior of many case users. Personally, I use a battery case not for protection but for the convenience of having an extra charge on the go without having to tether to a brick charger, so I’m frequently adding and removing cases as needed making the Resurgence case less ideal.

If you do decide to leave the OtterBox Resurgence on all or most of the time, you can charge and sync your iPhone with the micro USB cable included just the same as you would with your Lightning cable if you weren’t using the case.

Another concern for prospective OtterBox Resurgence buyers is the form factor: it will only work with the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. With Apple expected to release one or more larger screen iPhones next month, you will want to keep in mind that the OtterBox Resurgence isn’t fitted for other iPhone models. This isn’t an issue if you plan on sticking with the iPhone 5/5s for a while longer or especially if you’re inheriting an iPhone 5/5s from someone upgrading.

Availability

OtterBox Resurgence colors

The OtterBox Resurgence power and protective case for iPhone 5/5s runs $99 from OtterBox’s web store as well as other retailers like Amazon Prime. With a 2,000mAh capacity battery included, it’s comparable to Mophie’s Juice Pack Air case which is regular $99 and only rated for 1,700mAh battery capacity. The Resurgence is available for iPhone 5/5s is a variety of colors as seen above which include black, glacier, teal shimmer, and satin rose. If protection is your primary goal for an iPhone case and you’re looking for a way to double up on battery life, pick one up for your iPhone 5 or 5s.

 

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18 Responses to “Review: OtterBox Resurgence iPhone 5/5s power case is tough in more ways than one”

  1. Eli Matar says:

    Why on earth would you need this ugly bulk?
    Most of us can charge our iPhones in the car, businesses and homes. Just keep a F#king doc on your desks and car and your good to go.

    Like

  2. Brad Burke says:

    Because some of us work in the field bud and we are not desk jockeys. Some of us also work very far away from vehicles with power as well.

    Like

    • Eli Matar says:

      For how long can someone stay in the “field”? 8 hours? iPhone gives you more than 8 hours and when your back to your vehicle, you re-charge again.
      No need for the extra weight and bulk. Apple would have made a case if they thought its necessary.

      Like

  3. How’s the sound from the speakers?

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    • Zac Hall says:

      Really can’t tell the difference between when it’s on or off. Speakers route to the front rather than bottom, too, so that helps.

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  4. How do you connect earphones? Does it need adaptor? Does it come with one?

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    • Zac Hall says:

      Comes with an adapter but the standard Apple headphones you can wire through the bottom and use without it. I don’t much care for the hanging adapter that comes with these cases.

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  5. Jim Wagner says:

    Did you carry your in your pocket a lot during your testing? Is a cased phone bulky and heavy?

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    • Zac Hall says:

      Probably the most sleek battery pack I’ve used. Wish it was easier to remove and assemble like the Mophie cases, but it’s definitely the least bulky in this style.

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    • Zac Hall says:

      As for heavy, the case itself is dramatically lighter than the iPhone 5/5s. Wouldn’t say it adds noticeable weight.

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  6. kevicosuave says:

    Can you reconfirm that syncing is available through the MicroUSB? How is OtterBox able to do this where Mophie can’t?

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  7. nsxrebel says:

    I wish these companies could use a lightning port with with passthrough so you can sync and play music, say with vehicles that don’t have BT audio and rely on a cable.

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