The battery pack comes on and off in the same way. It has a built-in lighting connector that you pull out of the bottom of the pack and plug into the iPhone. There are blue LEDs on the bottom right to tell you how much charge is left. To charge the battery, plug in a USB cable and connect the other end to a computer or a powered USB port. The battery pack is a charcoal color, and it's not very bulky or weighty considering its 1900 mHa charge capacity.
A nice little extra is a kick-stand that comes out of the back of the battery pack, letting you rest your iPhone upright in portrait mode.
The case and cover offer a moderate level of protection in day-to-day use. The iPhone's sides and back are covered, but the front top and bottom edges of the phone are still exposed. So not all of your phone is protected from scuffs and scratches. Additionally, because the case and cover are two separate parts which are made of plastic, if you dropped your phone, there's little to no shock-absorption.
All in all, the NuCharge as a case offers some protection from scuffs and scratches, but I wouldn't trust it with more. On the plus side, the ports and controls of the iPhone are left open. You don't have to fiddle with the case to plug in your headphones or a lightning connector.
Although the back panel and case as a whole look nice enough, I struggled with the rest of the aesthetics of the case. For example, the case and back panel attach securely, but there's a small gap left between the two. The finish of the front top and bottom of the case present some raw edges where the case ends. And the overall feel of the case is quite plasticky and cheap.
As I mentioned above, attaching the battery pack is a simple process: slide off the back cover and slide on the battery pack. Of course, the battery pack is bulkier than the cover, but that's expected with any battery pack. Although, this is one of the lighter and slimmer ones I've seen.
To get power from the battery, pull out the built-in lightning connector and plug it into the iPhone. Unfortunately, when you do this the lightning connector cable sticks out quite a bit. Placing the phone in my pocket became a bit awkward, and I was worried the connection would come loose with an unintentional pull or tug or if I placed the phone in my bag.
iKit says the NuCharge will increase your iPhone's life by 100% and I have no reason to disagree with that. Unfortunately, after a few days of testing I couldn't get the NuCharge to charge my phone. I assume it must be a fault in the model I received. But during the time it was working, everything worked as it should and battery performance was good, though I couldn't complete my tests.
The kickstand is a nice little extra feature that is flush with the battery, but when extended, offers a practical addition to the case.
The NuCharge is a great battery life extender, which offers solid battery performance on top of your iPhone's built-in battery. However, I found the interchangeable protective cover, for when you're not using the battery pack, to be more of an afterthought, rather than offering any real protection. Furthermore, when using the battery pack, the protruding lightning connector is very impractical.
Solid battery pack offering 1900 mHa
Access to all ports, buttons and the camera
Slim and fairly light weight for a battery pack
Minimal protection offered
Poor case quality
Protruding lightning connector when charging battery
Interchangeability of battery and case is gimmicky
Who's it for?
iPhone 5 owners demanding the most power from a battery pack, but are not too concerned with the form or function it comes in.
For alternative battery packs for your iPhone 5, you might want to check out the Mophie Juice Pack Helium or the Mophie Juice Pack Air, which we found to perform the task of battery pack and protective case extremely well.