The newly released Galaxy S5 brings a 2.5GHz quad-core CPU and a gorgeous 5.1″ display to your hands, but only a 2800mAh battery. Brando has aimed to address this by releasing its Power Jacket series of cases in both covered and non-covered versions and with different battery capacities.
I put the $33 non-covered 3500mAh version of the case to the test for two weeks and gathered some real-world performance data and observations.
Weighing 84g (2.9oz), the case itself weighs a little over half as much as the 145g (5.1oz) S5 itself. This is the first thing I noticed as I securely clamped the phone into its new case. In addition to weight it also adds approximately 0.3 inches to the length of the phone. This might not seem like much, but it’s noticeable if you transport your phone in your front pocket, or have pockets which aren’t very deep. The case cradles the phone and presents its entire face; there’s no lip rising above the edge of the screen for protection.
The big advantage of a case like this is the ability to get you out of a jam, charging up your device while you continue using it. The battery brought my phone from 7% up to 64% over the course of 4 hours. When recharging the case’s battery, it took about 4.5 hours to go from empty to full, faster than the 6 hours quoted by Brando. Admirable performance, but I hoped to increase the phone’s charge to at least 75-80%.
Several design elements of the case were less than perfect. For example, the orientation of the charging port on the bottom of the case is reversed from the way it is on the S5. This could be a problem when using a docking station — the phone would face away from you when docked. Additionally, the cutaway for the power and volume buttons isn’t large enough. As a result of the close proximity of different surface heights, it’s more difficult to press these buttons. Lastly, one of the pivot points of the rear kickstand broke off after only 2 days of use — for a high-wear point I would have expected more strength in this area.
In summary, the Brando Power Jacket for the Samsung Galaxy S5 is an affordable option, but with its design quirks and build quality it’s not a case I can recommend.
Pics by Drew Gagliano