iPhone 5 cases proliferate the market — and even those that have a built-in battery have become commonplace. So for OtterBox to make one of these would seem a case of diving into an already crowded swimming pool. But making a snap judgement like that could be wrong — especially since their Resurgence Power Case is nothing like the other cases out there.
There are two distinct features to Resurgence, and the first deserves its own paragraph: just how protective a case it is for the fragile iPhone that only needs a few feet, gravity and a floor without carpeting to show damage. This case meets military standards — rather than go all spec-driven, an iPhone encased inside Resurgence can handle a drop of a couple of feet without incident, no matter what part lands first. So I maned up and took my iPhone 5 and consigned it to the G-ds of OtterBox safety. I first popped off the “sled” that covered the top of the Resurgence (pulling one end and then the other as the instructions advised) and had it come off with a definite “sphat!” I then inserted the iPhone into the case — this is barely flexible enough to enable the iPhone to seat tightly inside with the bottom lightning connector making a firm fit. The sled is then replaced back onto the case and snapped in firmly (I imagine that this comes in alternate colors to match the color schemes of the case — I having gone with basic black).
With the entire assembly now a single unit, I could see a few things: that the iPhone could be accessed in the normal manner as per the touch screen; that the front indentation of the “sled” protected the screen; that the tabs on the outer shell made contact with the controls on the iPhone, minus that of the “Home” button. Also, as happens with battery cases, accessing the headphone jack required an extender cable to reach all the way into the socket. OtterBox includes one so that existing headphone jacks can be used.
The overall appearance of the now encased iPhone 5 is that there is some “heft” to it, as even the color choices (black, glacier, teal shimmer or satin rose) are muted. This gives the polycarbonate material a polished look that stands out without screaming. Nor did I scream as I was taking some pictures and the phone slipped from my hand and fell face down into the rock garden which was the background. All was well (wiping the sweat off my brow in relief). I should add that while the Resurgence does add weight to the iPhone, it feels both comfortable and comforting to hold. You expect to give up something for better protecting a lightweight phone, but in this case the difference is not so much as to cause any trepidation.
The second feature of the Resurgence is its battery capacity — the 2000mAH is high enough to charge the iPhone 5 from a dead-stop twice over, and I found this to be true over the course of 2 days of use at a animation trade show where I was draining power shooting pictures and using the LED flash, as well as doing voice recording interviews. Telling Resurgence to start recharging the iPhone’s battery just takes a long press of the LED front ring and however OtterBox did it, their claim that the charging speed has been sped up can’t be disputed. I also found the front-facing LED ring that indicated battery level (four segments of the ring, each signifying 25% of total power and lighting up during use or as a test) both attractive and sensible for checking charge reserves. A convenience is that the battery auto-shuts itself off once the power has reached 100% for the iPhone’s battery. This shouldn’t be something outrageous, but since it’s not standard on all other cases, it’s yet another plus in the Resurgence’s column.
Bottom line: At $99.95, the Resurgence Power Case is not an inexpensive battery case. But you need to add in its protective and battery-saving abilities to find the price less onerous. Plus it’s different design and the amount of power that can quickly charge the iPhone 5, turns it into a bargain. But even more importantly is just how useful and desirable it becomes after used for even a short time.
Auto off power charging, Military-rated drop protection
Outer sled requires patience to encase the iPhone's front
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.