Review Update 5/1/17: It’s been about 3 months or so since I started using the Leaf Phone Case with Battery as my primary case. I have been charging it every night and then using the built-in battery to top off my iPhone throughout the day. While the promised features are nice, I recently encountered an issue that is important to report on and consequently force me to change my review. And this is potentially a Consumer Safety Issue, so I can no longer provide the high recommendation I previously gave.
Recently, I noticed that my iPhone was no longer sitting as snuggly as before so I removed my iPhone from the case and noticed what appears to be a bulge from where the battery is stored. Faulty or defective batteries is nothing to ignore, especially given recent news on exploding smartphones and batteries. While I’m not saying that this product has this issue, my research has found that when a rechargeable battery begins to bulge, it is becoming unstable, has gasses being built up, or has other issues. So I immediately stopped using the Leaf case and stopped charging it.I have sent several communications to the company but have not heard an official response back one way or another. The company has, in fact, blocked me on Twitter for some reason. Therefore, I am updating the ratings at the bottom of this review. Also, I cannot recommend this product anymore.
I took some photos to try to illustrate the bulging. It’s tricky to do in a photo, so I poured some table salt on the inside of the case where the bulge is and just knocked it a bit to illustrate where the valleys and bulges are. Those photos are immediately below.
I don’t like having to do this but as there may be a safety or hazard involved, I needed to be clear that if you have one of these cases, please watch for battery issues and/or bulges. Stop using it if you have issues or notice anything strange.
I have done a lot of reviews of batteries and iPhone cases and the combination of the two. Honestly, I find the market to be quite cluttered with capable solutions. And, if you are an extreme user of your iPhone or other smart device, I believe you are silly to not have at least one type of portable battery solution in your arsenal. That being said, I almost shy away from writing reviews of power solutions, but as it turns out, I have found this to be pretty critical to my lifestyle – that is to say, personally, I can’t actually survive without a battery solution. When the founders of Leaf Company, the makers of Leaf Phone Case reached out to me to see if I wanted to test out their solution on a trip to Las Vegas (where I probably wouldn’t have access to a power plug), it was actually hard for me to say “no.” But again, iPhone battery cases are a dime a dozen, or better said, almost $100 per one. But the Leaf Phone Case was different. Let me explain as well as provide some insights into the company and its founders, Blake and Chasen.
I have now been using the Leaf Phone Case for about a month now and have learned a lot about its capabilities. And to set the record straight, I feel it is important to list out the good as well as the things you should know so that expectations are set properly. And since people seems to like lists, I present you with my list of observations of the Leaf Phone Case.
Be sure to also read the interview I had with the founders, further on in this review of the Leaf Phone Case. All too often, we purchase devices or gadgets without knowing the people behind the product.
About the Leaf Phone Case
As I said, there are a lot of battery solutions for your smart devices. Some may take the form of external, portable batteries – solar-powered or charged via a plug – while others provide the added value of protecting your smartphone. I recently got an iPhone 7 Plus and while I had a pretty good case to protect it, I found myself frequently hunting for a USB port or plug to recharge it. I run a lot of power-sucking applications actively and in the background which tends to diminish my iPhone battery’s charge pretty quickly. So when I learned more about the Leaf Phone Case, it met those essential need: on-the-go battery power coupled with protection of my iPhone.
Here’s a list of important features and things to know about the Leaf Phone Case:
- It has a 7500 mAh battery – you can charge your iPhone over two times.
- It provides good protection to the sides and back of your iPhone. However, I wish the sides of the case were a bit higher to better protect the face of the iPhone.
- An iPhone can be fairly easily removed from the case if need be, however, this also means that the top edge of the iPhone is exposed to damage.
- It fits the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (depending on the model).
- It does NOT use a micro-USB port to charge it – this is a key differentiator from other iPhone battery cases in the market. It uses a lightning port!
- It provides a visual display of the battery level of the case via a colored LED.
- You can turn the battery charging on and off via a button on the back of the case.
- It allows for pass-through charging – when plugged into a power supply, it will charge your iPhone first and then the battery case.
- It has built-in holes for the speaker on the bottom.
- It has built-in buttons to control volume and on/off button access – you can access your iPhone’s silent switch directly on the side.
- It’s a bit heavy, but that is expected with this high-capacity battery.
- It is extremely inexpensive for what you are getting – the iPhone 7 case is $35 and the iPhone 7 Plus case is $45 – each with free shipping
Pretty compelling solution thus far, right? I want to go a bit deeper into one of the key differentiators I mentioned previously: the fact that it uses a lightning USB cable for connectivity. Specifically:
- There is a lightning port on the bottom of the case.
- You can sync to iTunes using a lightning cable without having to remove the case.
- You CANNOT, however, use the new Apple lightning headphones as Apple has disabled pass-through audio. If you want to listen to music, you must use a Bluetooth headset.
- However, I have discovered that you CAN connect your iPhone with the Leaf Phone Case to an ApplePlay car audio deck and have FULL interactivity with CarPlay!
As I mentioned, the biggest drawback of the Leaf Battery Case is that Apple lightning headphones don’t work. But, I honestly feel that isn’t that big of an issue because many of the Bluetooth headphone solutions provider better audio fidelity than the stock Apple ear buds. Also, since the price point is WELL BELOW similar competitors, it frees up some additional money to get the Bluetooth headset of your liking. And since the case works with CarPlay, at least one of my vehicles is fully supported.
I have yet to drain the Leaf Phone Case battery in one day so the capacity is more than adequate for my extreme usage. It’s nice knowing that If I need to quickly charge my iPhone, I can do it wherever and whenever I want.
Interview with the Leaf Phone Case Founders
As I mentioned, I always feel it is important to learn a bit more about a company behind a product, especially if the company and/or product is relatively new to the market. It helps to bring personalities to “just another gadget.” I asked the Leaf Phone Case founders, Blake and Chasen, a few questions to provide perspective on the company.
HighTechDad: Who are the guys behind Leaf?
Leaf Founders: We are a two-man team. Blake Berge, co-founder, 21 years old, Business Entrepreneur Major who is from Alhambra, CA. The other is Chasen McNaughton, Founder, 23 years old, Business Entrepreneur Major who is from San Juan Capistrano, CA.
HTD: You told me you were two USC students, what years? What are you studying?
Leaf: We are both Seniors. Business Entrepreneurship.
HTD: Why did you decide to start Leaf?
Leaf: We noticed that not many people, including ourselves, were willing to spend $99+ on a phone case that would only charge your phone 60%. We knew that everyone uses their phones for everything so having an extra battery is crucial whilst, maintaining a low price. We also noticed that the main competitors were still using Micro-USB cables to charge their phone cases which created a problem in itself. People would forget to bring them, lose them and just were tired of having to carry multiple cables. We saw a spot in the market and hopped in.
HTD: How long have you been building the business?
Leaf: Since July 2016
HTD: How many people are part of Leaf?
Leaf: We are entirely a two-man team. (Constantly busy). We have had seasonal hires during the Holiday season. We are still trying to figure out the direction we want the company to head in and what type of hires we will be bringing on. Which will be soon!
HTD: With so many other battery cases out there, how are you differentiating?
Leaf: Simply put, we are the original lightning port charging case. We were the first ones to do this and people love it. Also, we sell the cases for $35. That’s including free 2-shipping. Our competitors are $50+ and the main competitor, $99 before shipping. We also sell the original “KeyCharge” which can be found on our website. It is a lightning cord that goes on your keychain so you always have a charging cable with you. Can’t beat it for $8.
HTD: How do you keep your price point so low compared to others?
Leaf: We sell primarily Business-to-Consumer. We don’t have to raise our prices due to this. Also, our overhead is extremely low. We also work and get our cases directly from the manufacturer.
HTD: What are the next steps for the company?
Leaf: We are about to be adding a variety of colors that people can choose for their case. We have gotten a lot of feedback that people would like a white, blue, red ETC colored phone case. Another thing is, we are going to be releasing cases for android phones for the exact same low price of $35.
HTD: What was the biggest challenge in starting the company?
Leaf: Getting over the fear that it could flop.
HTD: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs like yourselves when starting something like Leaf?
Leaf: You need to take risk. You always need to be tenacious with what you do in business. If you aren’t a risk taker, it is much harder to find out what works and what doesn’t. Ultimately, don’t be afraid to fail and always, always, try and get constructive criticism to find out what you can do to be better.
HTD: Did you learn about running the business at school?
Leaf: A decent amount. Mainly how to raise capital and the financial end. We are both licensed real estate agents here in California as well and have learned a great deal about how business works through that.
Blake and Chasen have also founded another company, X-BIRD, which is a foldable electric scooter business. Starting around $899, these foldable scooters look like a blast and I hope I can learn more about this product in the future.
Until I get scooting around my neighborhood on the X-BIRD, I will be happy enough with the inexpensive and capable Leaf iPhone Case.
Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift, sample of a product or service, and/or monetary compensation for consideration in preparing to review the product/service and write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.
HTD says: Looking for a reliable portable battery case for your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus? The Leaf Phone Case provides lightning charging, support AirPlay, gives protection, and won’t break your budget.
Updated: 5/1/17 – because of a potential Consumer Safety Concern, I have changed this rating. The primary feature of this product, the battery, seems to be defective and/or has degraded over time. The bulging of the battery itself no longer allows for the iPhone to be firmly held and could potentially also indicate that it is becoming unstable. All items are now rated as “0” until the company responds or recognizes the issue.
Price Point: 4.5
Looking for a reliable portable battery case for your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus? The Leaf Phone Case provides lightning charging, support AirPlay, gives protection, and won’t break your budget. It’s easy enough to put on and take off, so much so, I’m sure my family would be able to do it. The price is fantastic for what you get. The only thing, which isn’t really their fault, is that you can’t use Lightning earbuds with the port on the case.