Long gone are the days where mobile phones lasted four or five days before needing a recharge. Today's smartphones are lucky to last a full day, and many heavy users will find themselves needing to charge well before that.
While Samsung's popular Galaxy S4 Android phone has reasonable battery life, some users will need even more juice and won't always have a power outlet or a USB port around. In these situations, a battery case can extend the battery life of your smartphone and provide some much needed protection. We've put four battery cases for the Galaxy S4 through their paces.
Mophie Juice Pack for Galaxy S4
Mophie is the most well known brand in this market, and it's Juice Pack for the Galaxy S4 works well. A switch on the back of the case toggles between standby and charging modes, so you can choose to switch the charging function on when you wish. A standard micro-USB port on the bottom supports pass through charging and synchronising, so there's no need to remove your phone from the case to charge or connect to a computer once it's attached.
Four LEDs on the back of the case that indicate charging status and battery life of the case when the small indicator button is pressed. In our testing, the 2300mAh battery built into the Juice Pack can't quite double the battery life of the S4 but comes close enough, adding around seven hours of life to an S4 that was almost completely drained.
The biggest downside of the Mophie Juice Pack for Galaxy S4 is the considerable bulk it adds to the phone. It also doubles the weight of the phone at 130g. The matte black finish attracts plenty of fingerprints and is tough to keep clean, while some headphones won't fit into the recessed port hole on the top. On a positive note, the Juice Pack offers reasonable support as a case and protects the entire perimeter of the Galaxy S4. It's also available in white, pink and red colours.
Where to buy: Mophie.com
Droidax Power Pack for Samsung Galaxy S4
The Droidax Power Pack for Samsung Galaxy S4 claims to extend battery life by as much as 65 per cent. In our testing, it added around five hours of life to an almost drained Galaxy S4, which is a solid but not outstanding result.
Like the Mophie Juice Pack, the Droidax Power Pack has four LED indicators, but they are situated on the front of the case rather than the back. A silver power button sits to the right of the LEDs, and toggles the battery charging mode on and off.
The Droidax doesn't provide as much protection as some other battery cases we've seen along the sides and the top, and the overall look and feel is a little on the budget side. However, a built-in kickstand on the back is a nice touch (even if it does feel a little flimsy) and the case as considerably less bulky than some alternatives. At $29.95, it offers excellent value for money and is the cheapest choice we've seen.
Where to buy: Droidax.com
Brando Power Jacket for Galaxy S4
The Brando Power Jacket for Galaxy S4 is one of the lighter battery cases for the Galaxy S4 at just 80g, though it does add significant thickness (19.5mm). It borrows the idea behind Samsung's flip cover and features a faux-leather cover that flips over and sits on the screen when the phone is not in use. The cover slides around a little, however, and the glossy, black plastic finish on the back feels cheap and attracts way too many fingerprints.
We managed around six hours of extra battery life on our Galaxy S4 when using the Power Jacket. Like most of these battery cases, it's not quite a full charge, but should get you to around 80 per cent.
A power button to start charging and four LEDs are located on the front. The Power Jacket doesn't provide much protection for the sides and top of the Galaxy S4, so if you're looking for something to guard your phone, you might be better off with a different option. The Power Jacket is available in black, white, blue, lime and red colours.
Where to buy: MobileZap.com.au
Naztech Power Case for Samsung Galaxy S4
Naztech officially says its Power Case for the Galaxy S4 "nearly doubles" the usage of the device. While it offers a solid six and a half hours of extra use, it doesn't quite manage to double battery life, charging to 80 per cent of capacity in most instances.
The Power Case is one of the slimmest options in the Galaxy S4 range. It offers minimal side protection, but the top and bottom of the phone is well concealed. A single power buttons starts charging, and also activates the LED lights that denote battery charge levels.
The sides of the case are finished in an anti-slip, textured material that aims to provide more grip than traditional battery cases. It's a nice touch, though it doesn't do much for the aesthetics of the case.
Where to buy: MobileZap.com.au