Incipio Offgrid Backup Battery Case (for Samsung Galaxy S4) Review

By  |  0 Comments

The Incipio Offgrid Backup Battery Case provides more than enough extra juice for your Samsung Galaxy S4, but it’s a victim of poor build quality.

4 stars
(4 out of 5)

Pros

  • Adds more than 15 hours of talk time
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Case feels flimsy and bends too easily
  • Buttons can be tough to press
  • Headphone jack extender required for larger connectors

If you have an Android phone, you don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to accessories, especially cases. Unlike with Apple’s phones, your ‘Droid is likely to end up in a generic-looking rubber sheath, forget about a form-fitting battery case. Incipio aims to change that, for Samsung Galaxy S4 owners at least, with its Offgrid Backup Battery Case ($89.99 direct). This case delivers some serious extra juice for your phone, double that of the Mophie Juice Pack, but we’re not crazy about the cheap-feeling build quality.

Design
The lightweight Incipio Offgrid measures 5.98 by 2.83 by 0.66 (HWD) inches and weighs 3.45 ounces. The Offgrid and Mophie Juice Pack are equal in thickness, but the Offgrid is .08 inches longer and .09 inches wider. Mophie’s battery case feels more solid, sleek, and rounded, while the Offgrid feels larger and is more difficult to comfortably grip. Our review unit had a glossy white finish, but Incipio also offers a matte black model with a soft touch coating. When you pick the case up, you immediately notice the build quality: It isn’t great. The two-piece, hard plastic (dubbed “Plextonium” by Incipio) case creaks and squeaks when the edges are squeezed, and twisting it made it flex. Mophie’s Juice Pack, by comparison, feels very sturdy and well constructed. There are no rubber bumps to protect the phone from being scratched by the plastic interior of the case like there are on Mophie’s case.

The Offgrid has a small cutout on the back right section for the GS4′s speaker to let the sound come through. The case ships with a headphone extension cord, which is necessary if your headphone connector is too large for the tiny opening. My Skullcandy earbuds with its thin connector fit perfectly, but the wider headphone jack housing of the Sennheiser HD25-1 II was too cumbersome.

Unlike Mophie’s Juice Pack, which requires you to slide your Galaxy S4 fully into the case to transfer power, you can just place the phone on the battery portion of the Offgrid and plug it into the built-in micro USB connector. Getting the phone out of the Offgrid involves prying it open from a notch on the bottom and hoping the cheap-feeling snap-on portion doesn’t break. The good news is that the case supports pass-through charging and syncing, so you won’t have to remove it unless you want to. The protective lip that holds the case together and protects the screen is a snap-on piece that holds the buttons—there are no cutouts here. The volume rocker work just fine, but the Power and Battery buttons for the case are very difficult to press, I had to use my fingernail to turn the case on. And the minuscule blue LEDs that indicate battery life are hard to see indoors, let alone outside.

Battery Life, Conclusions
The Galaxy S4′s internal 2600mAh battery lasted 10 hours and 50 minutes in our talk time test for the T-Mobile model with its 2300mAh battery, turned in a score of 7 hours 12 minutes on the same test. With the Offgrid, you get more than twice the added battery life. And it’s $10 less expensive than the Juice Pack. If it weren’t for a flimsy build with tough-to-press buttons, the Incipio Offgrid would be a true winner.

By Patrick Austin, PCMag


Leave a Reply