iPhone 5 Battery Case Review: Brando Power Jacket for iPhone 5 Review
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 3.5
What's Hot: Good capacity, charges fast, protects the iPhone while charging and has a built-in stand.
What's Not: Hard to take the phone out, and doesn't allow flash to fully illuminate.
Reviewed by Tong Zhang
It's been ver two months since the iPhone 5 was released; we're now just starting to see accessories that work Apple's new lightning connector. The Brando Power Jacket for iPhone 5 is an external battery jacket that works with the iPhone 5's charging port. The 2000mAh battery is very slim and light, and its hard shell case protects the iPhone 5's back and sides while charging your device. The battery pack comes in black only.
The Brando Power Jacket for iPhone 5 is reasonably slim and weighs only 2.6 ounces. The jacket is form fitting. Slide into your iPhone 5 to connect with the battery via the Lightning connector. The case covers the bottom of the iPhone 5 as well as two thirds of the sides, but it leaves the top of the phone open. The battery case has soft touch surface that feels nice in hand and doesn't feel slippery. The interior of the Brando Power Jacket has soft micro fiber lining that ensures not to scratch the iPhone when you're handling it with the case. The bottom front of the jacket has four LED lights indicating battery life and a power on/off button. The battery case is hard and can protect your iPhone 5 from potential scratches and nicks while in your bag or backpack. It should protect the phone from some shock damage if you drop the phone on its back. There is no screen protector included.
The Brando Power Jacket fits the iPhone 5 nicely, and it's easy to slide the phone into the case. Taking it out however takes some effort, and you'll likely need to put the iPhone 5 at an angle to have a better grip when you try to take the phone out of the case. Since the lightning plug on the case doesn't move at all, it might put some pressure on the phone's charging port if you have to angle it too much to take the phone out of the case.
The Brando Power Jacket for iPhone 5 is a functional case while charging your phone's battery. The jacket leaves the top part of the iPhone 5 open, so you have access to the volume buttons and the silence button on the side and the top power button easily. The case covers the bottom of the phone, and has two sound grills to let the sound through the speaker and mic. The charging port on the Power Jacket doesn't allow power or data pass through. so you can't sync while charging your iPhone 5 in the Brando battery pack. There is also a cutout for the 3.5mm audio jack that's big enough to let the Apple Earpod's connect through, but not any other earbuds' connectors we've tried. It's just too narrow.
The Brando Power Jacket for iPhone 5 has a cutout on the back for the camera and flash. While the camera has full view to take a picture without being obscured, the cutout is too small for the flash to fully illuminate. We noticed our photos had some vignetting and some parts weren't illuminated at the bottom corners. The Brando Power Jacket for iPhone 5 has a built-in small kickstand on the back, very handy if you are making video calls or watching a movie while the phone is charging.
The Brando Power Jacket for iPhone 5 had a 2000mAh battery that takes 5V input and offers 5V, 500mAh output. It charges the iPhone 5 fully in about 2:30 hours and the battery pack takes about 4.5 hours to fully charge via computer. The Power Jacket comes with a short USB cable that connects to the micro USB port on the jacket and you can use your iPhone charger to charge the battery as well. The battery pack can charge a full run time of the iPhone 5, and you can press the power on/off button to check the battery level on the case and only turn on the battery when your phone needs charging.
The battery pack doesn't allow power or data pass through, which means you can sync while the iPhone 5 is in the case or charge the iPhone 5 with the case together.
The Brando Power Jacket for iPhone 5 is a good accessory to have when you're traveling and it's one of the first external battery packs to come with a Lightning connector. The battery charges reasonably fast and it protects the iPhone's back and sides when it's charging its power. We like the kickstand which makes watching movies or video chatting a lot easier and the power on/off button that saves batter and indicates the power level. The case offers no data or power pass through and it's a bit hard to get it off. You must use the Apple audio headset with the case or something equally skinny at the base of the 3.5mm plug, and the case blocks some illumination from the flash.