Review: Anker’s Ultra Slim Battery Case for iPhone 6 offers a surprising mix of thinness, power, and low pricing

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I’ve learned over the years that there’s no such thing as an Apple accessory that’s perfect for every user. A design optimized for budget-conscious users will often turn off people who are ready to spend more for something fancier, and vice-versa. The best a company can do is to design, execute, and price products well for a particular segment of the population. Anker specializes in this — it focuses on creating very good to great accessories for value-focused users.

Its new Ultra Slim Battery Case for iPhone 6 ($60 on Amazon) is another example of that formula. Unfancy but more polished than similarly budget-priced rivals such as uNu’s DX-6, it’s not the most powerful or beautiful iPhone 6 battery case I’ve tested, but it does precisely what most users want: it more than doubles the iPhone 6’s power, doesn’t add much bulk to the device, and costs very little relative to most battery cases. Anker’s current $60 price tag would be competitive for an Apple-certified case on its own, but at press time actually includes this excellent, powerful six-port USB charger for free (use Amazon promo code FREE60W1). This bundle makes the Ultra Slim Battery Case the best overall value I’ve seen for iPhone 6 users, hands-down.

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Prong’s PWR case for iPhone 6 provides the easiest way to juice up (Video)

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There are a ton of power accessories on the market for iPhone that it’s almost difficult to tell them apart. They all fit a ton of battery power in a case, but they are all pretty much the same, except for one.

Prong has recently launched a new Indiegogo campaign for its new PWR case for iPhone 6. Not only does this case have a built-in battery pack, it also features a power supply as well. This means you could get away with never using a cable again to charge up your iPhone…

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Opinion: Should Apple improve iPhone battery life, or just battery cases?

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As this photo of the original Mophie Juice Pack and Tylt’s Energi for iPhone 6 shows, iPhone battery cases haven’t changed much over the years. They’ve existed for almost as long as iPhones, and remained ubiquitous due to Apple’s continued focus on thinness over longevity. That hasn’t been great for consumers: as 9to5’s Seth Weintraub put it, people are more impacted by their phones’ battery life than an extra 2mm of thinness.

It took until 2014 for Apple to offer one iPhone model — the iPhone 6 Plus — with all-day battery life, though you have to be willing to accept a much larger footprint to get that. By comparison, the smaller and reportedly more popular iPhone 6 improved only around 7% upon the iPhone 5s in run time, so the typical iPhone user isn’t seeing much of an improvement over prior models.

With a variety of alternatives at Apple’s disposal, including some major chip improvements that are just around the corner, we wanted to pose two questions to our readership. Should Apple take a break from slimming down iPhones to focus on improving battery life? Or should it instead focus its efforts on making battery cases better? Read on for our thoughts, and share yours in the comments section below…

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Review: Lenmar’s Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6 streamlines a familiar design, offers 112% extra power

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Featured in our guide to the best Apple device batteries, the one-of-a-kind MacBook external battery pack ChugPlug demonstrated that Lenmar knows how to make unique accessories. By comparison, Lenmar’s new Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6 ($100) isn’t quite as distinctive. It’s basically a softer-curved and more powerful version of the company’s iPhone 5/5s battery case Meridian, which makes it extremely similar to numerous rival iPhone 6 battery cases I’ve tested from other companies.

But with four color options, the ability to refuel itself at 2-Amp speeds, and better button openings than certain lower-priced competitors, the 3,000mAh Maven does have some merits. Here’s a more detailed look at what makes this case blend in and stand out…

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Review: iBattz’ Refuel Invictus battery case lets you swap 3200mAh cells for 127% iPhone 6 charges

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Like most things, the title of “best iPhone 6 battery case” is subject to change whenever something new and great shows up to challenge existing options, and as the iPhone 6 is still young, we’re expecting a lot of jockeying for position over the next few months. The latest real contender comes from iBattz, maker of some of the best iPhone battery cases I’ve tested. Refuel Invictus for iPhone 6 ($100, aka Mojo Refuel Invictus) is the first iPhone 6 case to include a great feature from some earlier iPhone 4/4S and 5/5s cases: removable, replaceable batteries.

Using solely the items in its own box, Refuel Invictus delivered the largest recharge I’ve seen yet for the iPhone 6: 127%, or a full recharge plus an additional 27%. That might be enough to justify the asking price for some people. But you can also add a second battery and external USB charger for $25-$30 more. If you’ve been hunting for a slim battery case that can keep your iPhone running endlessly, this might be the most cost-effective way to do it.

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The Best iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus Battery Cases

It’s a great time to buy an iPhone 6 battery case. Last year, there were zero Apple-certified options, but today, there are a handful of good to great choices at various price points. They may look similar to each other in the picture above, but the sea of black shells masks some important differences in iPhone protection, battery recharging capabilities, and pricing. One stands out as a particularly excellent combination for the iPhone 6, and we also have a good pick for the iPhone 6 Plus.

Which iPhone 6 battery case should you buy? The most recent update to this piece on March 13, 2015 added new options! Read on for all the details…

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Review: OtterBox’s Resurgence Power Case ruggedizes and doubles the iPhone 6’s battery

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The OtterBox name is synonymous with ruggedized iPhone cases, but not with battery cases — something the company worked to change with the iPhone 4/4S Defender iON Series, and the iPhone 5/5s Resurgence Power Case. iON aimed to thoroughly protect an iPhone while automating the recharge process, while Resurgence reduced the automation and protection to make daily use easier. At CES this month, OtterBox launched a new version called the Resurgence Power Case for iPhone 6 ($100), and it’s been redesigned with a collection of small but welcome tweaks.

Whether you’ll prefer Resurgence to Incipio’s excellent offGRID Express (review) depends on what you’re looking for — ruggedization or raw power for the dollar. Like many companies, OtterBox is promising to double the iPhone 6’s battery, but it also has some currently unique benefits to offer. Read on for what makes OtterBox’s latest battery case special.

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Review: uNu’s DX-6 battery case more than doubles the iPhone 6’s power, with Apple certification (Video)

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I’m always up for reconsidering the “best accessory” in a given category when something new arrives, and after every year’s CES, the “best iPhone battery case” tends to change thanks to new arrivals. But even though many new options were shown at CES this month, none impressed us enough to take the crown away from Incipio’s $80 offGRID Express (review).

uNu’s new DX-6 ($80 MSRP, street price $70) is the latest to arrive for testing, and despite the company’s strength with multi-device USB battery packs, its iPhone 6 battery case doesn’t stand out in any way except pricing. The pitch is simple: if you want an inexpensive, Apple-certified 3000mAh battery case, DX-6 is your option. But you’ll give up some frills to get it …

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Pepcom highlights: Yantouch’s Daisy lamp, Zolt’s MagSafe charger, Brookstone’s Bluetooth signal splitter + more

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A MagSafe charger smaller than Apple’s but made by a third-party? Ruggedized rubber hard drives from a company known for Mac-matching aluminum enclosures? Synchronized stereo speakers with color-shifting mood lights for your bedroom? Yes, the annual pre-CES Pepcom event took place in Las Vegas last night, and these were just a few of the products we spotted on the floor. Read on for more details…

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OtterBox unveils durable, 2600mAh Resurgence power case for iPhone 6

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OtterBox has today revealed its Resurgence power case for the iPhone 6 at CES 2015. The company made its first foray into the iPhone power case market with the Resurgence for iPhone 5/5s, so it only seems fitting for the company to continue iterating on the case. OtterBox touts that the Resurgence for iPhone 6 doubles the battery life of the smartphone, while also offering military grade drop protection.

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Zagg announces iPhone 6 Speaker Case w/ detachable Bluetooth speaker & backup battery, more

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Zagg, the company behind many of our favorite Bluetooth keyboards and cases, today announced its latest creation, the ZAGG Speaker Case for iPhone 6 with detachable Bluetooth speaker. Not only that, but the case also packs in an 1800mAh backup battery, which the company says will get you approximately “8 hours of additional talk time, and can be shared with a friend.” Read more

Review: Incipio’s offGRID Express is the most affordable Apple-authorized iPhone 6 battery case

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If I had to choose one word to describe how Incipio’s past iPhone offGRID battery cases felt, it would probably be “svelte,” as they were all impressively thin and gently curved. Starting today, Incipio is shipping its first offGRID case for the iPhone 6, and it notably trades “svelte” for “edgy” design. Offered only in matte black, it’s called offGRID Express ($80), and Incipio claims it’s the first Apple-certified iPhone 6 battery case that’s actually available for consumers to purchase. This time, the back is somewhat angular, due in part to a larger battery pack than prior models, and the sides are equipped with the fancy metallic button protectors rival Mophie has only offered in its most expensive Juice Packs.

Incipio’s message is clear: by offering 3000mAh of power at an $80 price point, offGRID Express is practically daring Mophie – and any other Apple MFi-licensed manufacturer – to step up and take a swing at its value proposition. Yes, comparatively unknown vendors are selling cheaper options, and Tylt offers a 3200mAh, Apple-licensed alternative called Energi for $100, but offGRID Express actually matches it in recharging performance for a lower price. It’s positioned directly at consumers who care about both quality and cost, not just one or the other. Read more