Officially licensed iPhone 6 battery cases are becoming increasingly common, and we’ve seen a bunch of them over the past month from a collection of major manufacturers. The latest to arrive is BuQu Tech’s PowerArmour ($80), which we’re only briefly reviewing because it’s a somewhat uninspired option compared with others we’ve tested.
PowerArmour is different from most of the iPhone 6 battery cases we’ve tested in that it’s closest in appearance and protection to a simple shell: the sides are almost entirely open, the top has a hard plastic lip, and the bottom has a small chin. The chin is the most interesting thing about the design, adding only 1/2″ to the iPhone 6’s bottom, though the overall footprint is basically the same as other cases we’ve tested. Unlike bumper-based cases, which pop off their frames for iPhone insertion, PowerArmour uses a slide-down Lightning connector that moves out of the way when you’re inserting the phone, then slides up to connect for power.
A micro-USB port is on the bottom right, with a deeply recessed headphone port on the left. BuQu includes a headphone port adapter, plus a micro-USB cable for charging; our case arrived around 3/4 charged as per a “pre-charged” badge on the package. Though it’s somewhat underpublicized, it’s worth noting that PowerArmour can be refueled at an unusually fast 2-Amp speed, so it can be ready to go “up to 20% faster” than most battery cases.
The back of PowerArmour is less than thrilling, but it’s functional. BuQu has used a soft touch rubber that quickly showed a lot of fingerprint smudges, with a recessed on-off switch, four oddly different-sized blue power lights, and a larger remaining power indicator. Measuring 0.6″ thick, it’s only a hair or two thicker than most of its rivals, though its sides look awkwardly unfinished compared with Incipio’s offGRID Express (review), Unu’s DX-6 (review), and OtterBox’s Resurgence.
PowerArmour packs a 2800mAh battery, which sits between the 2600mAh cell (and 100% charge) found in OtterBox’s Resurgence and the 3000mAh cell (with 121% charge) in Incipio’s offGRID Express. While BuQu only promises to double the iPhone 6’s run time, our tests of PowerArmour’s 2800mAh cell achieved a 109% recharge — one full recharge in two hours plus an additional 9% in 9 minutes — before expiring, which was just in line with our expectations.
PowerArmour’s $80 MSRP is at the lower end for Apple-authorized battery cases, though for the same price, we’d give the nod to offGRID Express, which offers additional battery life and decidedly superior protection. Also normally $80, uNu’s DX-6 falls between PowerArmour and offGRID in both battery performance and protection. Consider PowerArmour if it goes on an aggressive sale or if you really value its ability to rapidly recharge after depletion; otherwise, you’ll find better armor and more powerful elsewhere for less.