iPhone 5 Case Review: uNu ECOPAK for iPhone 5 Review
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: 2500mAh battery easily provides more than a full charge for an iPhone 5. Universal USB connector means you can share your power with virtually anybody. Battery snaps on/off of case in seconds. Very eco-friendly (for a battery) when it's time to dispose of it.
What's Not: The lack of a built-in Lightning Connector means you will need to connect your phone to the battery pack via a standard charge cable. Protective case provides minimal protection.
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
The ECOPAK by uNu is a case/external battery combo that is designed to allow you to share power with any device that charges via USB. The fact that the battery is detachable means you can swap it for a fresh one on the fly, or replace it completely when it fails without having to replace the case as well.
Size and Fit
The case portion of the ECOPAK fits the iPhone 5 perfectly, granting full access to ports, buttons, switches, and camera. It adds only minimal size to your phone because it adds only minimal protection (see below). Adding the battery pack adds approximately 60% to your phone's thickness, but because there is no built-in connector it doesn't add to its width or length.
Features and Quality
uNu bills the ECOPAK as a green battery pack, which may be an overstatement in that it uses the same battery technology as other manufacturers. However, the fact that you can replace just the battery portion (without replacing the case) and the absence of a proprietary connector means fewer materials will be wasted when it finally retires (you use your own charge cable). uNu has also chosen to go with Lithium Polymer for its battery technology. Lithium Polymer has some advantages over Lithium Ion, which, for instance, require an overcharge protection circuit and are subject to aging to a greater degree than Lithium Polymer. Conversely, LiPo batteries have a higher cost to energy ratio and a lower energy density than Li-Ion. Both are equally eco-friendly at disposal time. Contrary to popular opinion, however, Li-Po batteries are not more prone to catching fire or exploding that Lithium Ion batteries, and are also less prone to leakage then Li-Ion due to the electrolyte being in gel form rather than liquid. But, I digress. The case itself is minimal, but well-engineered to ensure that the battery stays attached without marring the back of your iPhone. uNu also took the extra (and very necessary) step of lining the camera access port with black to prevent the flash from reflecting off of the case into the lens. The battery pack has a great feel to it, and its 2500 mAh will take your phone from empty to full with some to spare. Initially, I didn't care much for carting my charge cable around with me, but it didn't take long to get used to, and I ended up appreciating the smaller size and increased versatility that came with it. Lastly, my ECOPAK held a complete charge when unused for over a week, and would likely last in your drawer/briefcase/purse for much longer than that.
The ECOPAK case, while minimal and frill-free, is available in more colors than Lucky Charms marshmallows, so you're likely to find something that suits you with little effort.
The uNu ECOPAK is a high-quality and versatile battery pack for you iPhone 5. If you don't mind carrying a charge cable with you, you will never run out of power thanks to the generous capacity and impressive shelf life. While the battery technology is not any greener than the competition, the ECOPAK is certainly designed around the ideas of reuse/recycle and minimizing waste; which are compelling enough arguments for me.