With the Incipio offGRID Express, the iPhone 6 battery case market finally has a winner. It’s a market which tends to be hit and miss because vendors have to carefully balance wedging an extra battery into a case against making the iPhone impractically bulky, and in recent years have also had to deal with the headphone port being on the bottom next to where the iPhone plugs into the case. But the offGRID Express manages to thread the needle on both counts.
The case employs a two-piece design in which the iPhone 6 slides into a rear sled piece and then the front piece snaps on. Tabs along the sides make it easier to get the front piece back off. The side buttons are protected with press-through overlays, while the ringer switch and charging port are necessarily left open. The iPhone screen sits recessed just a small fraction within the case, meaning it won’t make direct contact with the floor if you drop it face down. The all black styling is minimalist but fits with the design of the iPhone 6 itself, though some may complain it’s the only color choice.
The 3000 mAh of battery life is enough to recharge an iPhone 6 about one and a half times, effectively giving the phone about 2.5x its usual battery life, meaning that all but the most strenuous of power users should be able to get through the day with it. But the case is just over half an inch at its thickest, meaning it’s still within the range of being practical for a mobile device.
The weakest feature of the offGRID Express is that, as with all of its competitors, it still uses an obsolete micro-USB port for recharging the case. My tests over the years have found that micro-USB ports are fragile and can get warped out of shape while in a pocket, and are typically the first component to fail on any battery case. It also forces users to keep a micro-USB cable around, which for Apple users is anathema. Here’s hoping Incipio shifts to a Lighting recharging port on its battery cases as soon as pragmatically possible. However, because all of the offGRID Express competitors also use micro-USB, we’re not deducting from its overall star rating.
Perhaps the nicest feature is the battery meter system. It puts the five indicator lights on the front where you can see them the most easily, whereas most competing products put the lights on the side or rear. You quickly tap the button to see the lights, or hold the button for a second to turn the case on or off. I was initially concerned that the button might get triggered in my pocket, but my tests showed otherwise.
The offGRID Express is the best iPhone 6 battery case on the market. Its $79 price is right in the middle of the market, making it a good value play as well. Rating: five stars out of five.