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Hands on: Air Case for iPhone 6 and 6S

The $40 Air Case is the best iPhone case we've ever used

This is just about the perfect iPhone case, and at $40, it’s a damn good deal. Usually, battery cases are so bulky they’re only good for special occasions, but not this one. I have used an early model of Innoant’s Air Case for about a month now, and it’s so thin, I may have picked it up even if it didn’t have a battery in it.

I have never recommended anyone support an Indiegogo campaign before, but if you need some battery life, the cost is right and the product seems ready. You can still pre-order it on Indiegogo for a few more days, at least.

The Air Case takes away the fear of battery death, and I never notice it. That’s worth $40.

Innoant’s Air Case is one of a few new super-thin battery cases to hit the market, but it is the best of the two I’ve used so far. It’s a lot more durable than the ThinCharge iPhone case and easier to use, but still maintains an ultra-thin profile, adding only about 3.8mm of thickness to your phone. It also carries a similar-sized battery, at 2,400mAh for iPhone 6S and 2,800mAh for iPhone 6S Plus, more than doubling your capacity. At around $40, or about a third of the $130 price that the ThinCharge case goes for on Amazon, it’s a good deal, too. If you are wondering, Apple’s ugly Smart Battery Case comes with a $100 price tag. After the Air Case’s Indiegogo campaign ends, the price will rise to about $50, which is still very reasonable.

“We were able to bring down the cost in the crowdfunding phase, because there is no middle man involved in the selling process, i.e. no marketing cost, no storage cost and no distribution cost,” Leo Li, chief product designer for Air Case, told Digital Trends.

According to Li, a lot of experimentation went into the battery circuit to make sure that it was as thin as possible.

Because of its incredibly thin profile, using the Air Case is much less of a hassle than all other battery cases. It feels as small as a lot of normal cases, has a two-part design that allows you to take it on and off quickly, charges itself using a standard iPhone Lightning jack, and it sports aluminum edges and a nice matte rubbery back. It’s easy to use, too. You just press the button on the back to turn it on, like a Mophie. Power and volume buttons are also accessible and still have a firm click to them.

It’s not all perfect, though. I have had issues plugging in some pairs of headphones into the small audio jack cutout, which is a pain. The jack is built well for Apple earbuds, but many other headphones need more breathing room. The other issue is screen cracking. I haven’t yet dropped an iPhone with this case on, but the curved glass on the 6 and 6S screens does rise a millimeter or so above the lip of the case, meaning that if you drop it at the right angle, your screen may hit the ground face first without any protection. Shock absorbing materials inside the aluminum case are also largely absent, but the protection is still better than having no case at all.

For all Apple’s successes, iPhone battery life has not improved much, if at all, for many years, and iPhone durability is so bad … well, let’s not even go there. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus look beautiful, as do their predecessors, but they’re built more for style than durability and battery life. Style is what Apple believes sells iPhones, and based on our purchasing habits, iPhone owners tend to agree.

Related: 7 best iPhone 6S battery cases to keep your iPhone juiced up

At the end of an ordinary day, I normally have 20 to 30 percent of a charge remaining on an iPhone 6S, and if it’s a long day or service is bad, it may die entirely. The Air Case takes away the fear of battery death, and I never notice it. That’s worth $40.

If you’re interested in getting an Air Case for yourself, then head to the Indiegogo campaign. It is available for the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, and 6S Plus.