Do you have an extreme need for battery power in your Samsung Galaxy Note II? The folks at ZeroLemon (as in "no lemon" guarantee) currently offer the highest capacity extended battery for that fabulous phablet. The ZeroLemon Samsung Galaxy Note 2 9,300 mAh Extended battery will be available on Amazon on March 21, and for those of you with a Samsung Galaxy S III, their 7,000 mAh battery is already available for only $31.99.
The Note II extended battery will sell for $39.99 on Amazon, which is crazy cheap compared to other name brand extended batteries like the 6400 mAh from Mugen that sells for $105. What's the catch? In terms of reliability and battery power, none that we can find. I've put the battery through a few cycles with my personal AT&T Galaxy Note II and it's worked well. It doesn't get hot; it hasn't bulged or done anything suspect. It simply works well. With that much power, it takes a long time to put in through a cycle. Charging times are obviously longer given the huge capacity, and ZeroLemon suggests a 12 hour charge before first use. With normal light-average use, I charge my Note II every other day with the standard 3,100 mAh battery. With the ZeroLemon, I charge it every 5 days. I leave it to charge overnight since it can take up to 6 hours to charge a fully depleted battery.
Here's the catch, though it's not fatal. Extended batteries are bigger, so they come with back covers that accommodate the bigger battery. Mugen's back cover is a nice molded hard plastic with a built-in kick stand. ZeroLemon's is TPU, a rubbery, flexible material that's similar to soft plastic cases for smartphones. At first, I thought the lack of rigidity would be a deal breaker, but once on the phone, it didn't feel odd or squishy. You put the back on much as you would a flexible case and it wraps around the front edges. But those case edges need to be tighter and there are small gaps that will likely stretch with time, making for a less secure fit. The back is available in your choice of white or gray, to match the Note 2's available colors. The case has properly located cutouts for all ports and it doesn't block the camera or cause vignetting.
Also note that this battery-case doesn't offer NFC. While ZeroLemon's Samsung Galaxy S III extended battery does support NFC (it's in the battery in the GS3), the Galaxy Note II model doesn't (NFC is in the back cover on the Note II).
For the price, this is a fantastic deal. That said, we'd like to see ZeroLemon tighen up the TPU case and make the plastic a bit less translucent (you can faintly see the print on the battery underneath the case). We'd also like to see them beef up their skimpy website, which you can visit at www.zerolemon.com.
Here's our video review of the ZeroLemon Samsung Galaxy Note II 9300 mAh Extended Battery with TPU case:
The folks at ZeroLemon tell us they in delayed the release of the Note II case until March 21 so they could improve the TPU case. Excellent! They will send us the updated case when ready and we'll post our impressions here.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview