Review: Backbone wireless charging case for iPhone 5/5s

With no shortage of wireless charging options for the
smartphone, it is getting harder for manufacturers to find a
point of difference. Australian company Dog & Bone has
unveiled what it says is the world’s first shockproof wireless
charging case for the iPhone 5. Join Gizmag, as we try the
Backbone on for size.
The basic Backbone kit consists of the phone case, a wireless
receiver “card” that slots in the back and a wireless charge
pad. You also get a screen protector, micro USB cable and an
audio extension cable for use with headphones.
The clever modular design also allows for the receiver card to
be replaced by a back-up battery (sold separately), which
provides additional charge on the go without adding much
extra bulk to the case.
Measuring 12.2 mm thick, 138 mm long and 63 mm wide (0.5 x
5.4 x 2.5 in), the Backbone case adds around 3 mm (0.1 in) in
thickness and 10 mm (0.4 in) of length to the iPhone 5. The
combined weight of the case and receiver card is 60.2 g (2.12
oz), so while the case doesn’t add a great deal of bulk to the
phone and still feels good in the hand, it is quite hefty.
The Backbone’s build quality is excellent. The polycarbonate
plastic heart of the case provides rugged protection while the a
rubber overlay and the pattern on the back (there are two
available – Tread or Trilobe) adds a bit of grip as well as a nice
aesthetic. The case design leaves the full face of the phone
uncovered and doesn’t impede access to iOS functions like
Toolbox. Protection for the sleep/wake button and volume
controls is also nicely executed and speaker performance isn’t
diminished at all when the case is fitted.
Does the case offer protection for drops from a height of 4ft
(1.2 m) fall as claimed? Yes. In our tests, dropping the
Backbone onto a tiled floor from this height resulted in a
distinct lack of fireworks, explosions, or defunct iPhones.
The drop-and-charge function of the Backbone works just as
advertised. Plug the charge pad into a computer or wall
adapter via micro USB, place the phone on top ensuring that
the small groove on the phone case is aligned with the ridge
on the charger and that’s it. The pad also has a raised edge to
help hold the phone in place.
The bonus here is that the using the wireless pad is faster than
plugging the phone in. It’s only marginally faster,
approximately 4 percent in our tests, but it is faster, and who
can argue with that.
Backbone is also Qi compatible which gives it another
advantage as Qi wireless charging hotspots become more
common.
The 900 mAh back-up battery doesn’t pack the punch of some
of the other options out there (the Duracell Powermat system
has 1950 mAh back-up battery), but it delivers enough to
provide your phone with a boost of around 50 percent. This
might just prove the difference between having your phone
conk out while on the move and going to sleep with a few bars
up your sleeve. The real advantage here is its small size and
the fact that it slots in in place of the wireless receiver, which
means that not much extra bulk is added to your case.
The Backbone is a well built, well designed and versatile
charging solution. At AU$119.95 (US$110) for the case and
charging pad, plus an extra AU$49.95 for the back-up battery,
it costs more than competing solutions like the Duracell
Powermat (US$129), but you do get a genuinely rugged, and
exceptionally good-looking case for your outlay.

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