Third Rail's powered iPhone case is shockingly clever

Wired

The high-voltage third rail that runs next to a set of train tracks is, of course, something to be avoided. The Third Rail System for the iPhone 4, however, is to be welcomed.

Photo courtesy of Third Rail Mobility

Third Rail System for iPhone 4
$90

This friendly breed of Third Rail combines a skin-tight phone case and a surprisingly light battery pack you attach to your cell phone when you need a recharge.

We’ve seen charging cases before, but most have problems. Powered phone cases usually add too much extra heft and bulk to a cell phone. If you need extra battery life, you have to turn your svelte, five-ounce iPhone 4 into a pocket-stretching doorstop that adds a half inch to the phone’s length and almost doubles the weight.

Third Rail’s system is comprised of two parts — a bantamweight (0.8 ounce) black case that’s slim and comfortable, and a backup battery that snaps onto the case, but only when the phone needs extra juice.

More from Wired:

10 Apps You Should Download Right Now

Dual-Driver Earbuds That Won't Break the Bank

As a bonus, the battery can do more than power up a flagging iPhone. With its pair of mini-USB charging ports (and included cables) it can charge multiple devices simultaneously. The Third Rail battery can also be piggybacked, so you can stack additional batteries on top of the primary battery for more power.

There are trade-offs, of course. For starters, you’re stuck having to sync the phone only with its included USB cable. Also, if you have any iPhone-ready music-playback appliances, you need to remove the case to use them. I ultimately found this to be a minor distraction, since the phone slides in and out of the two-part case pretty easily.

View photo

.
Photo courtesy of Third Rail Mobility

The battery practically glides on to the back of the case. While attaching the battery gave me immediate juice to continue phone calls and use of my apps, with non-use of the phone, the Third Rail topped off 50 percent of the iPhone battery in a couple of hours. After the phone went from 50 percent remaining to 100 percent, the Third Rail was practically drained. The Third Rail has a power gauge, but it’s only five LED lights, so it’s not as precise as I’d like. But I got a good enough estimate at what the auxiliary battery’s juice levels were like at the start and finish of the charging.

Recharging the Third Rail’s battery for its next use took less than two hours. Then, using the included USB cable, I filled my half-depleted iPod Nano with Third Rail juice in 55 minutes.

There’s another popular case out there with a snap-in battery, the myPower case from Tekkeon, but it doesn’t let you charge additional devices or piggyback the batteries. So, I can safely say the Third Rail System is unmatched when it comes to weight, ease of use, and versatility.

But all of this does not come cheaply: The case alone is $40, and each battery is $60. Purchased together, the set is $90. But after using it just a few times, I’d recommend you get one. If you’re short on cash, maybe just, um… charge it?

WIRED

Innovative iPhone 4 case that’s protective, but thin and light. Detachable battery recharges the phone as well as other devices via a mini-USB port. Eliminates the need for the large and heavy all-in-one power cases.

TIRED

Proprietary case designs requires use of its own USB cable for connected charging and syncing. Convenience comes with a high price tag.

 

 

More from Wired:

100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About

2011 Picks for Android Phones

Exercise Accessories That Help You Measure Up

Why Bugaboo Donkey is the Best of Children's Strollers

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • London Mayor Sadiq Khan dismisses Trump Jr.’s Twitter jab following attack

      London Mayor Sadiq Khan declined to respond to an insult from U.S. President Trump’s son hours after a terrorist attack at the Houses of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday. “You have to be kidding me?!” Trump Jr. wrote. Trump Jr. mischaracterized Khan’s statements as if he had said that terrorism is an inevitable consequence of living in a big city and that nothing could be done.

      Yahoo News
    • Read the Cover Story: What Happened to Richard Simmons?

      Richard Simmons wasn't himself. Outwardly, though, everything appeared just fine: In February 2014 he showed up for the weekly Saturday-afternoon class ...

      People
    • Fox News viewers are gunning for Shep Smith. How will Fox News respond?

      With Megyn Kelly no longer on the air occasionally pushing back against President Trump's treatment of women, Fox News viewers are channeling their ire toward Shepard Smith, who anchors the news and opinion network's afternoon and breaking news coverage. "Smith's persistent fact-mongering has made him persona non grata among some parts of the Fox News faithful," says Paul Farhi at The Washington Post. Smith's past comments affirming human-influenced climate change, supporting same-sex marriage, urging reasoned calm on terrorism and disease, and defending rival network CNN from "fake news" attacks from Trump have raised hackles among some network viewers, but it was this throwing cold water on

      The Week q
    • Richard Branson says we must beat ISIS, welcome refugees to defeat terrorism following London attack

      Governments need to defeat extremist group ISIS and welcome refugees fleeing warzones, billionaire Richard Branson said.

      CNBC.com q
    • 'Rehab Addict' Nicole Curtis sued by city of Minneapolis

      "Rehab Addict" Nicole Curtis is facing a lawsuit from the city of Minneapolis over a home she purchased from the government in 2013 for just $2. And the HGTV star is firing back against the city.  According to the lawsuit obtained by Consumerist, Curtis' firm Detroit Designs purchased the home in a north Minneapolis neighborhood under several conditions, including completing "minimum improvements" on the home, maintaining the required insurance and paying property taxes within 12 months of purchase. The city alleges in its suit, filed in January, that Curtis "failed to redevelop the property," failed to "substantially complete minimum improvements," "failed to pay real estate taxes" and "failed

      Fox News q
    • Carrie Underwood Works Out with New Gym Buddy: Her Son!

      Carrie Underwood Work Outs with New Gym Buddy: Her Son!

      People
    • CEO creates ‘Snowflake Test’ to weed out job applicants

      The Silent Partner Marketing CEO Kyle Reyes on why he created the ‘Snowflake Test.’

      Fox Business Videos
    • GOP Sen. Roberts: I ‘deeply regret’ quip about insurance coverage for mammograms

      Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., speaks at Secretary of Agriculture nominee Sonny Perdue’s confirmation hearing. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., expressed remorse Thursday for making a sarcastic comment implying that coverage for mammograms shouldn’t be a requirement for the GOP’s insurance plan. Mammograms are essential to women’s health & I never intended to indicate otherwise,” he tweeted.

      Yahoo News
    • Former shelter dog helps family discover lost 3-year-old girl

      A former shelter dog may have helped save the life of a 3-year-old girl. Peanut, who was adopted from the Delta Animal Shelter in Escanaba, Michigan, last April, managed to lead her new owners to a lost little girl on March 17, according to a letter the family sent to the shelter. "Peanut started going crazy at our house," her new owner said in the letter, which was shared on the shelter's Facebook page.

      Good Morning America
    • US forces just went behind enemy lines in Syria to cut off ISIS’ only escape route

      The offensive to destroy ISIS in Syria took a big step forward recently with US military...

      Business Insider
    • People
    • Updating Live: Tracking Donald Trump's First 100 Days in Office

      A running list of the president's actions–and what they mean.

      Marie Claire
    • After Facebook Live attack, girl becomes target of threats, taunts

      Her 15-year-old daughter was still missing when the mother said she saw screenshots of her bright, ambitious girl being sexually assaulted by as many as six people on Facebook Live. It would be another day before her daughter was found, wandering the streets just four blocks from her Lawndale home. "It was a sigh of relief, but then it wasn't because I knew what happened to her," the mother said Wednesday, a day after the girl was back home. "I just wanted to hold her and not let her go." Within hours, as news of the attack spread, people were ringing the doorbell and coming around her house late at night, making threats, the mother said. The taunts have been just as bad online, where the mother

      Los Angeles Times q
    • Uganda at 'breaking point' as South Sudan refugees pour in

      KAMPALA, Uganda — Uganda is at a “breaking point” as almost 3,000 South Sudanese refugees pour into the country every day, the United Nations refugee chief and Uganda’s government said Thursday, calling for international help to support over 800,000 people now sheltering there. The U.N. has called it the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis. More than 570,000 refugees have arrived from South Sudan since July — and the number could pass one million by the middle of this year, the joint statement by U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi and Uganda’s government said. “We are at breaking point. Uganda cannot handle Africa’s largest refugee crisis alone,” Grandi said. “The lack of international attention

      Washington Post q
    • I Can’t Stop Stealing My Coworkers’ Style

      This is a confession as much as it is a compliment. I pride myself on being someone with a “personal style” — a look that’s relatively cohesive and leads other people to tell me things like “Those shoes are so you” or “That’s such a Tiffany outfit.” Defining my personal aesthetic each season is important to me, so much so that I go to the extreme of making an outfit mood board every time the weather changes. ...

      Racked
    • 20 Great Gifts to Help You Win Mother’s Day (21 photos)

      Lots of "happy tears" are about to come your way. From Cosmopolitan

      Cosmopolitan
    • London Slams Donald Trump Jr. Tweet About Sadiq Khan After London Attack

      Donald Trump Jr. is facing an outraged backlash from Britons after he criticized the Mayor of London following an attack on the city on Wednesday.

      Newsweek
    • 4-year-old honored by Chicago police after 911 call saves mom's life

      Aria Koval, 4, was honored by Chicago police Wednesday for her quick thinking after mom Sue Koval suffered a severe asthma attack in their home. "She did an awesome job," Koval, 28, told ABC News today. On March 10, Koval was setting up lunch for Aria while her youngest daughter Penelope, 2, napped.

      Good Morning America
    • Man adopts 18-year-old dog: ‘I couldn't let her spend 1 more night in the shelter’

      At the age of 18, at the end of February, Julep the dog found herself in an animal shelter instead of at home. Julep's person — who'd loved her very much, for a very long time — had just died. Family was unable to take care of the white-faced dog. Julep was one of the oldest, "if not the oldest," dog who'd ever come through, Alix John Tolley, spokesperson for Washington, D.C.'s Humane Rescue Alliance, said in an email. "She’s lived a long and happy life." The shelter put out word about Julep on Facebook. They said Julep was looking for "a fresh start," and "doesn't need much, just a couch to sleep on and a human to love." The message reached Wayne Lerch, who was heartbroken because his beloved

      TODAY.com q