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Review: Spyder PowerShadow i4 – A Unique iPhone 4/4S Battery Case With Its Own Charge/Sync Dock

Rating: 4.5/5

Posted in iPhone, Reviews on 28/08/2012 by J. Glenn Künzler

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We’ve taken a look at a number of iPhone battery cases in the past. Most of these cases are basically the same – some might have more or less battery capacity, or have quality or design differences, but in general, none of them are profoundly unique. The Spyder PowerShadow i4 challenges all of that.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to spend some time with Spyder’s PowerShadow i4, and while in its essence it is still just an iPhone battery case, the i4 carries one big difference over the competition: A dedicated charge and sync dock!

Overview / Concept

One of the limitations of most iPhone battery extenders is that they prevent you from docking your phone. Because battery cases hook directly to your iPhone’s dock connector port, the iPhone’s only means of hooking to a dock is covered up. As a  result, most such cases have to lay flat to charge, with a cable plugged into the bottom.

Spyder has come up with their own unique answer to the docking problem by creating their own dock and connector for the PowerShadow i4, allowing you to use your iPhone in a docked form without ever having to remove it from the case!

Design

Besides the PowerShadow’s unique docking abilities, I also found myself really appreciating the design – it’s extremely durable, yet not much thicker than other iPhone power cases. I even dropped my iPhone more than once with the PowerShadow on, and hardly noticed a scratch.

Further, while the case is quite robust, it’s also very lightweight, and has a rubberized finish that both gives it a very professional matte look and feel, as well as preventing the case from slipping out of your hands.

I also appreciated the design of the docking system – it’s frictionless! Rather than having to insert and remove a connector, as with most docking systems, the PowerShadow I4 uses a series of four electrical contacts, allowing to to dock or undock the device effortlessly!

Capacity

Aside from being well-designed, unique, and quite durable, it also packs quite a punch in terms of battery capacity. The case has a built-in 2000mAh battery, which is capable of providing more than an entire full charge.

In my testing, I found it was able to charge an iPhone 9with the SIM removed and no apps running) completely one time, and another 15% on top of that. Very respectable for such a thin and light device.

Verdict
Rating: 4.5/5

The PowerShadow I4 isn’t exactly cheap, with a retail price of $89.99, but it’s also certainly not overpriced in relationship to the competition (it’s often available for less than retail on Amazon). I’d highly recommend the PowerShadow i4 to anyone in need of a great iPhone 4/4S battery case, and als0 enjoys docking their device!

For more information, or to purchase, head on over to the official Spyder website.

Pros

  • More than doubles the battery life of your iPhone
  • Built-in dock is frictionless and easy to use
  • No need to remove the case to dock your device
  • Includes speaker and mic holes for optimum sound protection
  • Can also be charged using MicroUSB (if you don’t have the dock handy)

Cons

  • Tends to get warm while charging
  • Can be difficult to install on an iPhone the first time
  • Adds significant bulk (though not more than other iPhone battery cases I’ve seen)


J. Glenn Künzler

Author

J. Glenn Künzler

Glenn is Managing Editor at MacTrast, and has been using a Mac since he bought his first MacBook Pro in 2006. Now he's up to his neck in Apple, and owns an old iBook, a 2012 iMac with an extra Thunderbolt display for good measure, a 4th-generation iPad, an iPad mini, 2 iPhones, and a Mac Mini that lives at the neighbor's house. He lives in a small town in Utah, enjoys bacon more than you can possibly imagine, and is severely addicted to pie.