Innocell Plus and Holster review: More than double your iPhone 5/5S battery life

More than double your iPhone 5/5S battery life with this battery pack

I've found an affordable battery case and optional holster that takes my mind off my iPhone 5S battery once and for all. It's Seidio's Innocell Plus.

I have to admit that Samsung's "Wall Huggers" ad resonated with me, as an iPhone 5S user.

Usually near the end of the day — and sometimes, when I get really busy, even sooner — my iPhone is redlined. It sometimes gets down to single digit percent charges before I'm able to plug it in. And even then, once or twice, I've lost juice all together.

Fact is I use my iPhone a lot when I'm out. It's my lifeline to the Internet, my connection to work, and in many cases my ability to get a working Internet connection for my laptop, when I'm on the road. All this stuff uses energy, and the iPhone 5 and 5S can only hold so much charge.

Now we can argue whether Apple should do more to improve battery life on our iDevices, but the status quo means that some of us are running at a real deficit when it comes to juice. The question is, what are we gonna do about it?

Seidio Innocell Plus

Seidio's Innocell Plus is an attractive and affordable way to avoid having that happen. It lets me fully recharge my fully depleted iPhone 5S battery plus has charge left over — about 125 percent the charge of the iPhone 5S's battery.

The case is in two pieces — a battery back that connects to the iPhone 5S using an integrated Lightning connector, and a frame that acts like an iPhone bumper, with volume controls, on/off button and cut out for the mute switch. The frame clips to the battery pack to hold it in place.

Black, the case has a soft powdered finish that makes it easy to grip. The powdered finish does mark up with finger oil and other contamination easily, however, so count on it often looking scuffed, even though the scuffs come out with some cleaning.

The back of the case incorporates a rectangular button with four blue lights embedded in the case horizontally, two astride each side of the button. The lights serve as the battery meter.

When charging from the micro USB cable (included), the lights will flash to show that the case is charging, otherwise they're off, unless you press the button to check their status. Pressing the button twice turns the case on and off. It'll automatically shut off once the iPhone is charged back up.

The back itself is sculpted with a delicate bezel that reminds me a bit of the rounded back of the original iPhone. It's comfortable in the hand, though it does add some bulk: With the Innocell Plus on, the iPhone grows about 0.59 inches (15 mm) longer, 0.2 inches (5 mm) wider and 0.30 inches (7.7 mm) thicker. It also gets 2.5 ounces (72 g) heavier.

The case leaves the iPhone's camera and flash unrestricted, and the extra space south of the iPhone 5 or 5's case is used cleverly: Ports channel the speaker audio and amplify it a bit, making your iPhone 5 or 5S louder as a speakerphone or music playback system.

Seidio opening for the headphone jack is wide enough to accommodate lots of different cables, but its depth complicates things if you're using earbuds or headphones that use a right-angle jack. It also keeps my Square reader from working when I help my kids with the farmer's markets on the weekends, which is kind of a bummer.

The included Micro USB cable works just fine with the iPhone's included wall charger or anything else you want to use, including a Mac or PC (it works for syncing too). Of course Micro USB isn't reversible like Lightning is, which makes for more cable fumbling to charge the thing.

Of course, just like every other iPhone battery case, the Innocell Plus won't fit docks and other products designed to fit the iPhone 5/5S sans case. But it's easy enough to get on and off that that's no big deal.

The Good

  • Plenty of juice to keep your iPhone going extra long
  • Powdered finish and sculpted back are easy to hold
  • Bumper can be used without battery pack.

The Bad

  • Micro USB cable and added bulk reduce compatibility with other iPhone 5/5S accessories
  • Extended length limits compatibility with right-angle headphone cables
  • Adds bulk and weight

The Bottom Line

Seidio's Innocell Plus provides an elegant and comfortable way to more than double your iPhone's run time when you're on the road or away from a wall charger.

  • $67.95 - Buy now

Seidio Innocell Plus Holster

Seidio also makes available a holster for the Innocell Plus. It can be clipped to your belt, pants or bag. The holster is lightweight but strong. The holster holds the iPhone with the screen facing inward, to protect the glass from accidental damage as you're carrying it.

The holster is useless if the iPhone is taken out of the Innocell Plus case — this isn't a "naked" iPhone belt clip. But with the Innocell Plus in place, your iPhone is safe and secure.

The holster has six supports plus a spring-loaded latch that clips it into place - a lock button on the back keeps the latch from opening, which will keep the phone secure until you're ready to remove it. Slide the lock button and pop the clip and the iPhone comes right out.

The belt clip will rotate into 12 different positions horizontal and vertical (allowing the phone to rotate 180 degrees)l, to help you find a comfortable position when you're sitting.

The Innocell Plus Holster is available on its own, but it's also included as part of a bundle with the Innocell Plus itself.

The Good

  • Protects iPhone screen by positioning it inward.
  • Rotates so it won't press into your side when you're sitting down.

The Bad

  • Only works with Innocell Plus case

The Bottom Line

Not all of us want to wear an iPhone case with a belt clip, even if that clip is attached to a bag or some other object besides our belt. But for those of us that do, the Innocase Plus Holster is a good accompaniment to the Innocase Plus itself.

  • $27.95 - Buy now

Innocell Plus and Holster:

  • $86.30 - Buy now
Peter Cohen