Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Battery Cases

Apple on Tuesday released new Smart Battery Cases for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, offering a convenient but expensive way for ‌iPhone‌ users to get additional battery life.

The Smart Battery Cases will be in stores starting tomorrow, but we got our hands on the ‌iPhone‌ XS Max and XR versions early to check out the features and to see if they're worth the $129 price tag.


Apple is offering the Smart Battery Cases in black or white, and while there are separate versions for the ‌iPhone‌ XS, XS Max, and XR, each case costs $129 and appears to have the same capacity.

The cases look similar to the prior Smart Battery Cases Apple offered for the ‌iPhone‌ 7, consisting of a silicone shell with a bump at the back that contains the battery. The cases are easy to grip, but bulky, and the ‌iPhone‌ XS Max version adds a decent bit of weight.

There's a 10.1 Whr battery inside of the cases, which is higher capacity than previous Smart Battery Cases. You can expect to get about 50 to 75 percent additional battery from each case, depending on what you're doing.

Specifically, on the ‌iPhone‌ XS Max with the Smart Battery Case, you'll get up to 37 hours of talk time, up to 20 hours of internet use, and up to 25 hours of video playback.

The ‌iPhone‌ XS with XS ‌Smart Battery Case‌ offers up to 33 hours of talk time, up to 21 hours of internet use, and up to 25 hours of video playback, while the iPhone XR with ‌iPhone XR‌ ‌Smart Battery Case‌ offers up to 39 hours of talk time, up to 22 hours of internet use, and up to 27 hours of video playback.

The cases support Qi wireless charging, so you can charge them using a Qi-based charger (though it won't fit on some upright models) or a Lightning cable. You can even fast charge if you have a USB-C to Lightning cable and a compatible USB-C power adapter, such as the 30W MacBook charger. You don't have to use Apple's solutions -- any 18W+ USB-C PD power adapter will work.

You need to attach the Lightning connector in the case to the Lightning port in the ‌iPhone‌, but because the case has its own Lightning port, you can use it as a passthrough for Lightning accessories like headphones.

With the ‌Smart Battery Case‌ attached, you can check how much battery life is left in the case using a widget in the Today section of the Notification Center or via the Lock screen. Your ‌iPhone‌ will always use the battery provided by the case before expending its own battery, but when charging, your ‌iPhone‌ will charge first.

All in all, the ‌Smart Battery Case‌ is one of the simplest ways to get extra battery life for the ‌iPhone‌ because it doesn't require an extra external accessory or a cable and there are multiple ways to charge it, but that convenience definitely comes at a cost.

Do you think Apple's Smart Battery Cases are worth shelling out $129? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

robertcoogan Avatar
30 months ago
Do you think Apple's Smart Battery Cases are worth shelling out $129? Let us know in the comments.
No.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Relentless Power Avatar
30 months ago
I get this product isn’t for everybody, but if you’re somebody that doesn’t always have access to a charging port throughout your day/commute, this easily could be an asset in terms of extending your battery life if you’re somebody that’s dependent on your phone for extensive phone calls, media, ect. The price point is relative pending how much someone requires the additional battery life.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
30 months ago
I ordered one for my Max. It will be here tomorrow (they upgraded my shipping). I didn't buy it for its looks. I bought it for its intended purpose. For all those complaining about the looks, it is a battery pack case. It isn't meant to have a runway model carry it down the runway, as if it were a new fashion accessory.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wandering Wastrel Avatar
30 months ago
I'd pay $129 for this... if it had a headphone jack.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
az431 Avatar
30 months ago
First off who passed this design off as Apple?
Jony Ive? Seriously?

I think this is definitely a case of Apple having to much inventory for battery and decided to makes this god awful battery cases.

Hardware is screwed , I just hope software does NOT get any more worse!
These cases are not aesthetically pleasing. They look the way they do because they take into account antenna placement, interference, and other engineering issues that the makers of cheap Chinese knockoffs don't care about.
[doublepost=1547771770][/doublepost]
I'd pay $129 for this... if it had a headphone jack.
Amazing that in 2019 people are still whining about a headphone jack, a useless appendage that should have died 10 years ago.
[doublepost=1547771811][/doublepost]
Color me unimpressed. By both the case...and, anyone I see with one.
That's really all that matters.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Abazigal Avatar
30 months ago
It would be very easy for Apple to flatten this battery and have it go all the way to the top making the case slim but noooo that’s too much work for a company that flaunts aesthetics.
The point is to keep the top flexible so you can easily put the case on or take it off.

When Apple doesn’t do something “easy”, it often helps to ask “why” instead of “why not”.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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