Review: PocketPlug case for iPhone – Never feel powerless again!
I’ve always been interested in portable charging solutions for my iPhone, which is odd since I am never more than 2 feet from my computer or a USB charging cable. Still, I am a sucker for having a constant charge, which is why Prong’s PocketPlug ($69.95) caught my eye. I’ve always been a big fan of portable battery cases, but the PocketPlug is something different. There is no battery in the PocketPlug, instead the case has a built in, fold-out 2-prong AC plug built right into the back of the case, and it’s kind of genius.
I say kind of, because like all portable charging solutions, it has its issues. But lets first focus on its pluses, which I’d say should outweigh any minuses for the average power-hungry user. First, the case is surprisingly light weight given its thickness, and even more surprisingly comfortable. I was sure that the exposed, recessed holes in the back of the case would annoy me and feel weird when making a call or playing a game, but somehow you really don’t notice them. I suppose (for my hands at least) they are just not where I apply the majority of pressure. The case is made from a smooth, durable-feeling plastic (in both black and white) and feels as though it should provide above average drop protection.
The PocketPlug is a 2-piece case, where a top piece slides out allowing you to insert your iPhone. There is a built-in lightning connector at the bottom of the case that your phone slides onto, and your phone can charge either via the built-in flip out prongs in any standard wall outlet, or via the included mico-USB cable, which connects to the bottom right side of the case, allowing you to charge and sync via your computer’s USB port or any USB adapter you may already own. The case has a large camera cutout so taking flash pictures is not an issue even with the 5S’ flash. The case has an all-around well-built feel to it.
Of course, no case is perfect, but my quibbles with the PocketPlug are fairly minor, and most are fairly obvious when looking at the case. First, most people will likely take off a point or two for style. While Prong did their best, and the case does not feel weird in the hand for the most part, it DOES look a bit weird. Most people who are into stylish, ultra thin cases will have to think twice about whether the idea of never being stranded without power (save for the woods, I suppose) is worth the tradeoff of having a slightly bizarre-looking back with an exposed plug. Of course I suppose you could always put your iPhone face up on tables and no one would know.
The second and a bit more annoying issue is, while you can still use the iPhone’s built-in speaker for calls and music, using the headphones with this case requires a small audio adapter, which to me totally screws up the “no need to bring a chord with you” selling point of the case. The audio jack is so far recessed into the case that they included a 2-inch long thin audio adapter that sticks out from the case about a good (or bad) inch. I’m not a huge headphone wearer, but I DO listen to my music in my car through a mini stereo cable a lot, which is where I have to leave this audio adapter. This adapter is all but sure to get lost at some point, but how annoying this is depends on how much you use your iPhone’s audio jack vs bluetooth solutions. Somehow I feel that the PocketPlug 2 is going to address this better by providing a larger headphone hole or slimmer butt.
The only other real issue I have is that using the PocketPlug’s prongs means your iPhone is stuck at the bottom of a wall in most cases, and not able to be used. Not having my iPhone with me at all times is one of my greatest fears, which is why I like the idea of a battery case so much. I suppose if I just sprinkled 3 micro USB cables around my home, work and car (as I did with Lightning Cables) I could still charge my iPhone the way I always have, and still have the security of “anywhere charging” in a pinch, but given I like to have my iPhone charging overnight AND use it for an alarm clock, I don’t like the idea of it being plugged in across the room where I can’t hit snooze 30 times. Although maybe that would be a good thing. It might also stop me from playing Samurai Siege late into the night.
One final thought here might be the price. At $70, the PocketPlug is right up there with many USB charging cases, which ALSO recharge via micro-USB cables. These cases usually double your iPhone’s battery life, and for many people (assuming you can remember to charge your phone/case ONCE a day) might be a better solution. At $70 it just seems a bit high. For $50 the PocketPlug might be a no-brainer.
Of course most of these these are likely all minor issues for the average iPhone user, save perhaps the headphone jack thing, so odds are if you are someone who constantly finds yourself asking to borrow stranger’s lightning cables when you are out and about, the PocketPlug ($69.95) will be a godsend. The case is light, well-made, offers fair-to-good drop protection, AND offers you the ability to recharge your iPhone virtually anywhere. If I factor in all the money I’ve spent on extra Lightning cables and USB adapters, this case would have paid for itself many times over.
Pros: Ability to rechage your iPhone wherever you have an outlet, available in black and white
Cons: a bit pricey, as most battery cases come in around the PocketPlug’s price tag, a bit large, Charging in an outlet means not using the phone