GogoToro’s Chargemander case is more for comfort than battery power

GogoToro's Chargemander case is a pricey battery case, but it looks like a Pokédex

Hunting Pokémon in Pokémon Go requires a smartphone with a hefty battery life, or trainers need to carry around portable battery packs. What if there was a way to keep your phone charged, while looking like Ash Ketchum? GogoToro’s Chargemander is a smartphone case that doubles as a battery, and it’s designed like a Pokédex.

The Chargemander is advertised as being able to charge your phone in record time — up to 16 times faster than standard power banks or cases, and it’s good for 1,200 battery cycles. The case has a lightning connector at the bottom, so you can charge your iPhone and the case at the same time, without needing to carry around a MicroUSB cable. In our GogoToro Chargemander case review, we found the case may be more form over function.

Fast charging, but not evolutionary

The Chargemander comes with a 5,200mAh battery capacity — which is more than other charging cases like the Mophie Juice Pack Ultra with 3,950mAh, or Incipio’s Offgrid Express with 3,000mAh. It’s much bigger than those battery cases, and for its size we expected a higher capacity.

Chargemander iPhone Case Review closed
Brenda Stolyar
Brenda Stolyar

GogoToro claims it’s only supposed to take about 15 minutes to charge the case with the included wall charger, but for us it took more like 30-40 minutes. While it does charge the phone rather quickly, it wasn’t any different than other external battery packs we’ve used. If you’re looking to get the highest battery capacity for your money, you can spend a lot less and get Anker’s PowerCore 20,100mAh battery pack.

Unlike the fire Pokemon Charmander, the Chargemander doesn’t overheat your phone because it uses safeguards to make sure it stops charging when the case is at 100 percent. Instead of using the provided wall charger, which is heavy and can be cumbersome to carry, you also have the option of charging the case with a standard Lightning, MicroUSB, or USB Type-C cable, depending on the model you purchase for the phone you have. That’s one of the positives of the Chargemander — it supports quite a number of phones from the OnePlus 3, and the Samsung Galaxy S5, to the iPhone 7 Plus. Your phone will charge up first, and then the Chargemander will fill up.

The case didn’t die completely after using all its power to charge my iPhone 7 Plus fully — instead it lasted for a few days. How long did it take to fully charge up my phone? About 30 minutes.

Comfortable design, not the most portable

You’ll certainly get some looks using the Chargemander as a case — whether they’re positive or negative will depend, but the iconic Pokédex design is something only a Pokémon fan can appreciate. If you’re super clumsy and you like Pokemon, you can skip the Otterbox and go straight for the Chargemander. The hard exterior shell hides your entire phone entirely, meaning your phone will survive the worst drops and falls.

Pokémon may be pocket-sized monsters, but the Chargemander isn’t.

The front cover of the case folds over to allow for a comfortable hold while gaming or texting, but it will get in the way if you try to take photos or use the augmented reality camera in Pokémon Go. The flap can double as a kickstand, but push it too far back and it will collapse.

Pokémon may be pocket-sized monsters, but the Chargemander isn’t — you’ll have to put it in a bag or carry it in your hand. To start charging your phone through the case, you have to hold the blue power button down for a few seconds. As cool as it looks, this button is huge and sits on the front of the case — if it leans against anything in your bag while on-the-go, it could turn off and stop charging your phone. I made this mistake and only realized when I took out my iPhone and found its battery still at 7 percent. This is a design flaw, and it’s something to be aware of when using the case.

Pressing the volume buttons is a bit difficult — you’ll have the hold down the buttons a little harder than normal. Although there is a small section carved out to access the ring/silent switch, it’s impossible to turn it on or off without taking the phone out from the case. Unlike the Mophie Charge Force case — which requires you to almost lose a hand attempting to remove it — your phone easily slides out of the Chargemander case by pushing the phone out through the cut-out for the camera lens.

The simplicity could be worth the price

At $80, it’s available for both iPhone and Android devices. The price is almost on par with other battery cases.

The Chargemander’s volume buttons are hard to press; you won’t be able to put this in your pocket; the ring/silent switch is impossible to press, and if you flip the cover, you won’t be able to use the camera. But we like how the battery keeps your phone long-lasting, and the design — while bulky — is fun, colorful, and nostalgic.

When I first opened up the Chargemander, I was unsure of whether or not I would be able to endure the weird stares of carrying it around in public. Don’t get me wrong — I love Pokémon Go, but this retro-looking phone case is definitely a lot to take in. Thankfully, the semi-soft material and hinged cover makes you forget it’s a charging case, and provided stickers let you make it look even more like a Pokédex. Sure, you can buy a cheaper battery pack with a higher capacity, or a slimmer battery case you can actually fit in your pocket — but none of those will make you feel more like a Pokémon trainer than the Chargemander Pokédex.


You forgot all about these 6 phones of 2018. Prepare to forget them again

The best phones of the year are memorable, exciting, and ones we all want to buy. But what about the others? We're not talking about bad phones, we're talking about forgettable phones -- ones that aren't even bad enough to be remembered.

Declutter your life with our favorite wireless chargers for Android and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.

The best iPhone deals for December 2018

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for December 2018.

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.

Give Rachael Ray a run for her money with these 13 recipe apps

You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay to make a killer meal, you just need an easy to follow recipe app. We’ve compiled our 13 favorite cooking apps for Android smartphones and iPhones, including countless recipes to suit any taste.

Why Honor’s new screen is the hole-y grail in quest to ditch the notch

Honor will release a smartphone with an in-screen camera in the new year, a trend which is gathering momentum in the industry. Honor said it has cracked the formula, and explains what's special about its All-View Display.

T-Mobile is giving away free iPhone XRs and Galaxy S9s for the holidays

T-Mobile is celebrating the holiday season with a series of deals for customers who want an iPhone XR, Galaxy S9, OnePlus 6T, LG V40, or LG G7. There are terms and conditions to the deals, but they are still worth considering.
Smart Home

These activists are hacking housing problems in NYC using apps and data

There are 1.2 million people living in "deficient" housing in New York City and now these coders are making easy-to-use, intuitive apps designed to give tenants a fighting chance against unscrupulous landlords.

Google Assistant will alert you if it thinks your flight will be delayed

Google Assistant will soon be able to alert you if your flight is delayed. Using historical flight status data and machine learning, the service can even predict a flight delay before it's been officially confirmed.

Forget 3 being a crowd, 4 is the magic number on the Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei's sequel to the P20 Pro, the P30 Pro, has already started to leak ahead of its 2019 announcement and release. The company is likely to improve even further on the P20 Pro's excellent camera.

Here are 19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth…

How to use Samsung’s Bixby assistant for all of your smartphone tasks

Samsung Bixby is a powerful tool, but not the most intuitive one we've encountered. Here's how to set up and use every feature of Samsung's digital assistant, as well as what to expect in the future.

Microsoft patent filing shows wearable that mitigates involuntary movements

A patent application from Microsoft has shown the company is looking into using wearable technology to alleviate symptoms from various diseases and disorders that cause involuntary movements.