Review: EnerPlex Surfr for iPhone 6
EnerPlex's Surfr ($100) for iPhone 6 is a 2700 mAh battery case with one very notable bonus feature — a solar panel on the back of the case is meant to charge the case's battery "in an emergency situation." Of course, the case can also be charged regularly by using the included micro-USB cable. Surfr uses a two-piece slider design to accommodate installation and removal of an iPhone 6. The case lacks button coverage, though there is a slight lip for screen protection, and the sides of the iPhone remain covered, as well. Surfr is a bit larger and bulkier than most iPhone 6 battery cases we've seen. Lights on the bottom of the case denote how much battery life remains, and another nearby light turns red to indicate the solar panel is charging the case's battery.
Surfr has a unique look, and though it’s not the most protective battery case, it did turn in a very strong performance from its 2700 mAh battery in our tests. The case fully recharged a depleted iPhone 6 in 2:06, a fast time. Additionally, the case still had enough juice left to restore another 37 percent charge to the depleted iPhone again for an impressive 137 percent recharge total.
Solar power is a tricky thing to calculate, but we always opt to test for real-world situations at iLounge. EnerPlex claims Surfr can recharge an iPhone 6 “using the solar panel only” in 24-34 hours, which makes it fairly useless in the everyday lives of most users. We put the case in the sun for four hours and saw no usable recharge restored to the case. After moving the phone to another location for another four hours or so, we still saw no results, even though the case’s red light — indicating that the panel was charging Surfr’s battery — was on. We won’t go as far as to say Surfr’s solar panel doesn’t deliver a charge, as there are plenty of factors that can affect solar charging. But our testing illustrates the trickiness involved.
As a normal battery case, Surfr is a bit big and expensive, but it does deliver a fast charge to an iPhone 6, and its battery offers a surprisingly high recharging percentage. The solar panel will rarely come into play for most consumers, but those who often take extended trips away from electrical outlets may find that it has some value — if it actually works, presumably under the right conditions. Of course, that’s still a very limited use case. Surfr earns our limited recommendation, as it still works admirably as a normal battery case.
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