There are two camps when it comes to phone cases: those who want little or no extra bulk, who live with a charger plug and cable always at hand and spend their hours eyeing wall outlets wherever they go, or those who feel smugly superior with their battery cases, safe knowing they won’t run out of charge, but resigned to carrying a phone with a case that adds significant size and weight such that their thin, elegant phone seems more like the Nokia bricks of yore.
But that trade-off may be over.
ThinCharge is the next generation of battery phone case (iPhone only) that actually feels like its designers took their time to refine it to its minimums in just the same way phone manufacturers are doing with the phones themselves (it’s actually a successful Indiegogo campaign that’s made it to market). It adds no more bulk than most standard protective cases from folks like Speck, but it also adds enough battery backup (2600 mAh) to completely recharge your phone, meaning you can last a full and active day without worry.
Compared to the ZeroLemon case I’ve been using, it feels like a dream – my phone fits in my shirt pocket without messing up the flap anymore. Compared to other cases by Mophie, and even Apple itself, the ThinCharge is still smaller, more elegant. Sure, it adds a bit of weight, but otherwise, you’d think it’s just a normal, non-battery case. I’m really happy with it.
A few niggles, though. Instead of charging via micro-USB like every single other phone battery case, the ThinCharge actually uses a lightning port. This is of neutral concern for most iPhone users, since you should have the charging cable that came with your phone. That’s fine. However, the pass-through of capabilities via the port is not complete: I have a nice pair of lightning-capable earbuds that won’t work, which is frustrating. The top cap feels a bit lightweight, and could be prone to breakage if handled carelessly, and the popup port protector is hard to access, needing a lot of digging around with a fingernail to get open.
Also, as I’ve run into with pretty much every other battery case, the access hole for the normal headphone jack is too narrow for any of my existing headphones, so I literally had to take a pair of scissors and carefully, gently ream out just a little bit of the plastic to get them to fit. It doesn’t hurt the battery, but it’s an inconvenience that could have been avoided by a little extra design attention. And, as another wait to avoid added bulk, there’s no separate dedicated button to turn on the charging function. Instead, you press and hold the +volume button. That’s nice for keeping the size small, but then you have to turn the volume back down.
Overall, though, this is an good battery case that finds an excellent balance between added capacity and minimal added bulk. If you can get past the niggles, you can be quite happy with it.
Note: I was sent a case for the purpose of this review; opinions are my own.