Snap Happy: The FUEL iON Charging Case
The new FUEL iON Charging Case by mobile accessories manufacturer Patriot offers users an easy way to charge an iPhone 6, iPhone 5/5s, Samsung Galaxy S4/5 and Samsung Note 3 by simply laying the smartphone on a bad, stand or car holder. With an audible “snap” the phone sticks to the surface of the device which is powered by a USB cord.
Because the user does not have to plug and unplug the phone from its charging cable, theoretically the phone will last longer, as will the cord, because of reduced wear and tear. Certainly simply laying the phone on a base is much more convenient than having to plug in, though the argument of cutting the cord is a bit specious because the base still requires a cord, but that cord can stay put, which is handy, especially if the USB adapter block is plugged in somewhere that makes access difficult, such as behind a nightstand.
The magnetic charging pad that I reviewed took about the same time as a regular, corded charge. Besides the convenience of simply placing the phone onto the pad, I liked that it could be oriented in any direction.
The MFi Certified case adds a bit of weight to the phone, and it mostly fits around the back and sides of the phone, so the protection it offers is limited. The case itself is attractive and slim, in a neutral gray. Cut outs offer easy access to buttons and ports, though there are no protective flaps over the ports. The micro USB port at the bottom of the case can be used to connect to a computer or other device for downloading or charging on the fly when away from the base. Of course, you would have to take the charging pad along with you for travel or work, or buy multiple bases to keep at various locations.
The magnetic charge pad will not harm a phone or most electronics, but like all magnets if should not be placed near magnetic striped key cards or credit cards.
Bad news if you have any questions out of the box. The instructions inside the package were generic for the FUEL iON Charging Stand, the FUEL iON Car Charger, and the FUEL iON Charging Pad, and the print was so tiny it was almost unreadable. There is a short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF6U3uacGh0 with an overview of how the case can be used, but mostly it is self-explanatory.
The bottom line, a good case for those who want freedom from the hassle of plugging and unplugging to charge. It is most practical for those who charge in a single location.