Price: $79.99 (When available)
Device Reviewed With: iPhone 5,
Hardware Design Rating:
Integration with iPhone Rating:
+ Super light and slim
+ Extra battery life on the go
+ Keeps all iPhone 5 ports accessible
- Not quite a full extra charge
- Occasional disconnects
The iKit NuCharge is entering its final week of promotion on the Kickstarter website, and it's already garnered twice the amount of its original funding goal. There's a good reason for this, of course. The NuCharge is a well designed, light, slim battery case that can offer almost a full extra charge of the iPhone 5 battery case for a reasonable price.
Our review unit came with the battery module, a brushed aluminum face piece, and a slim clear plastic case that fits snugly on the iPHone 5, and to which the other pieces snap onto te back of. The Li-Ion Polymer battery pack is surprisingly light and thin, adding a small amount of thickness to the iPhone when snapped into place. The brushed aluminum face plate is attractive enough to use when the battery module is either charging or when I didn't want the little bit of extra bulk. The battery pack is easily removed, though the aluminum face plate takes a bit of effort to slide off when attached.
The NuCharge has a fairly flimsy kickstand on the back, which works to hold the iPhone 5 in a landscape orientation. It's functional, but doesn't feel as solidly constructed as the rest of the unit. The battery module is charged at the bottom of the unit via an included micro USB cord.
Other battery cases I've used offer a pass-through charging system, which the NuCharge does not. It will not charge the iPhone while the battery pack itself is connected. This isn't a deal-breaker, as the iPhone 5 lightning connector is accessible at the same time, allowing for a dual charge scenario.
Once the battery case is fully charged, it's a simple matter of removing the recessed Lightning cable from the back of the battery unit and connecting it to the iPhone's own Lightning port. The rubberized connector cable feels solid and rugged, ensuring regular use for a while to come. The NuCharge was able to bring my iPhone up from 10% or so up to 94% several times over many days, which is a respectable amount considering the low weight and profile of the entire unit.
The one issue that cropped up during a few of my charging tests was an odd disconnect of the charging system. I'd have the Lightning cable connected to the bottom of the unit. The cables felt solidly plugged in, but the unit didn't charge the iPhone until I either re-plugged the cable in or fiddled with the charging button. It didn't happen every time, but enough to be a concern. This was a pre-release unit, however, so here's hoping the retail version won't have this issue.
Ultimately, the combination of solid features make the NuCharge a fantastic bit of kit, giving iPhone 5 owners that extra full battery of charge for a competitive price. While it'd be great to have just a bit more charge in the module, the weight and slim profile more than make up for it.