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Mobile Accessories

We test the Air Case, the 'world's thinnest iPhone battery case'

Billed as the world's thinnest and most affordable battery case, Innoants' Air Case is due to ship in July. Is it worth pre-ordering for $39?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Innoants, a startup based Toronto, Canada, has an Indiegogo campaign up for a forthcoming product that should interest a lot of people: the Air Case, which doubles the battery life of your iPhone 6/6S or 6/6S Plus and is billed as the world's thinnest iPhone case.

At $39, it's also affordable -- at least if you get it at its early-bird price of $39, with free shipping worldwide and delivery expected in July. Innoants says the list price is more like $80, which isn't any different from what a lot of iPhone battery cases cost these days.

Just how thin is it? It isn't much bigger than a Speck case or one Otterbox's slimmer cases (Innoants says it adds only 3.8mm of thickness to your iPhone). However, at 2.6 ounces or 73g it is heavier than your typical case because it does house a 2400mAh battery in the iPhone 6/6S version and a 2800mAh battery in the iPhone 6+/6S+ version.

The Air Case vs. Apple's Smart Battery case.

Sarah Tew/CNET

By comparison the $100 Apple Smart Battery case has a 1,877mAh battery and weighs 3.6 ounces (102g) and Mophie's Juice Pack Air has a 2,750mAh battery and weighs 3.5 ounces (99g).

To get your phone into the Air Case you drop it into the aluminum bumper case (the case comes in white, rose, or black), then slide the battery back onto the bumper. It's a pretty simple procedure.

The case looks sleek on the phone and the plastic back has some texture to it, though it's hard plastic. I prefer the soft-to-the -touch finish of Apple's and Mophie's battery cases and I suspect this case will show scratches over time and the metal bumper will show dings if you drop your phone. But it does look sleek in its new state.

I have a couple of small gripes. The case's bezel should come up a little higher over the glass on the front of your phone. If you were to drop your phone directly on its face, I have my doubts that this case would prevent the screen from cracking.

As slim as a battery case gets.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Also, while the slimness of the case doesn't cause the headphone jack to get too recessed, there isn't much room to get a plug into the headphone jack with the case on the phone. Only very small plugs like the one found on Apple's standard issue white buds will work.

A rep for the company told me that the cases are shipping directly from the factory, so the company can't include a headphone adapter with the initial shipment. But if your headphones don't fit properly and you need an adapter, "The team will mail you one anywhere in the world for a flat rate of $5." He also said that Innoants was applying for MFi certification from Apple.

On that note, I should point out that the case charges via a Lightning connection, so you can leave the case on and continue using your Lightning cable to charge both the case and your phone (it also works for data transfers). According to Innoants it takes about a little less than two hours to fully charge the Air Case, and 3.5 hours to fully charge the Air Case and the iPhone together.

I only used the case for a couple of days so I can't tell you how well it will hold up over time, but it seems well built. A CNET reader noticed that the case looks a lot like the Kuke battery case, another Indiegogo campaign that has apparently has experienced some hiccups.

When I asked the company rep about the Air Case resembling the Kuke, I got this statement: "Air Case is a unique product: on the side frame, the thickness is only 0.15inch, the design (bottom cutoff line, power button, and led meter) and the circuits. We developed and implemented updated technology on the circuit chip to solve the over-heating and battery leaking problem that other battery cases have. Additionally, Air Case is available for more colors and models including iPhone 6+ and iPhone 6S+ with 2800amh."

Overlooking the small gripes I mentioned, it does like a good deal at $39 (the campaign has generated over $200,000 worth of preorders with 5,000 backers so a lot people seem to agree with that assessment). However, if it ends up costing $80 later on, it'll be a tougher sell.

Updated May 12, 2016 at 4:40 EST with statement from Innoants about Kuke battery case.