Hands-On Review: Third Rail System iPhone 4 Case

This image described by iPhone 4 hard case, iPhone 4 external battery, Thirdrail
We've looked at a LOT of external iPhone battery solutions here at iSmashPhone.com: tethered external bricks, sync-port plugins/hang-off-froms, even batteries built into cases.  The bricks are high-capacity but inelegant: you have to carry the battery AND a sync cord at all times.  The plugins are more compact, but lower capacity, and sometimes get in the way of regular phone usage.  Similarly, the case/battery options offer one-stop-shopping convenience, but at the cost of having to set aside any cases/storage solutions you've already invested in.

Third Rail offers a novel twist on the case/battery option: a modular case and external battery pack system that can be used separately or together.  Start with a slim hardshell case that fits both AT&T and Verizon iPhone 4s.  By itself, the case adds minimal bulk or weight to your phone.  Now, if you need a shot of juice, snap a Smart Battery onto the back of the case, and you now have an additional 1250 mAh of power that adds less than an ounce 'n' a half to the total weight.  (Don't worry about having to power down your iPhone; the battery can be hot-swapped.)  The Smart Battery also doubles as a non-device-specific external battery that'll work even when attached to the iPhone's case.  And since the battery's not hard-wired to the case, you power users can get extra Smart Batteries and swap 'em in and out as needed.

The case itself retails for US$39.99.  Each Smart Battery will set you back US$59.99.  A case/battery combo set at US$89.99 saves you ten bucks off the a la carte prices.

Check out our hands-on review below:




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