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This is one way to get your iPhone's headphone jack back

The Audio Mod charging case has a built-in battery along with a 3.5mm headphone jack. It also protects your phone.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

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2 min read
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The AudioMod for iPhone X costs $70.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The concept behind AudioMod is pretty simple. If you're going to add a Mophie-like charging case to your iPhone, you might as well add a headphone jack, too, because you're covering up the Lightning port in the process. In other words, it's kind of a three-for-one accessory (yes, it protects your phone, too) that might have some appeal to those who lament the loss of the headphone jack in recent iterations of the iPhone.

The AudioMod comes in versions for the iPhone 7, 8 and X. All cost $70, which is less than what a Mophie case with an integrated 4,600mAh battery might cost, but more than your typical battery case from a generic brand.

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The case charges via Micro-USB.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The case seems pretty well-designed and is fairly slim. Encased, the company behind the product, claims the AudioMod is backed by a 5-year warranty. Presuming that's true that's a very good warranty. I only say that because although the case worked fine for the week I used it (it was able to fully charge my iPhone X), I wasn't totally confident it would hold up over many months. I have nothing empirical to back up that assertion, it was just a gut feeling.

The case is equipped with a built-in DSP and DAC chipsets "that serve to amplify and digitize the signal." Encased says, "Jargon aside, this means you get premium audio quality usually reserved for high-end expensive headphones."

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Front view.

Sarah Tew/CNET

I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I hooked up some decent Beyerdynamic headphones and they sounded decent through the headphone jack but not really any better than what you'd get by connecting the Lightning-to-3.5mm dongle to your phone and listening that way. In other words, I didn't feel that I was listening through a premium headphone amp.

It's also worth mentioning that you won't be able to charge your phone wirelessly if you put this case on. That's not the end of the world, but it would be nice if it had that ability.

Overall the AudioMod for iPhone X is an intriguing concept. I'm not sure I'd be willing to pay $70 for it, but it does get you your headphone jack back and has the additional benefit of being a charging case. Alas, like with other Mophie-style cases, it does add some significant bulk to your phone. For a lot of people that extra bulk will only be worth carrying if you really need the extra juice on the go.

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