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“My phone is too thick” said no one, ever, yet the latest handsets boast of shaving fractions of a millimeter from their profile. What we really, really want, is longer battery life and less cables. If Apple offered a brick phone with wireless charging that lasted a week, I’d buy that. But they don’t, so it falls to third party manufacturers like Dog & Bone to add those critical extra features.

Wireless charging isn’t a new technology, but Apple has so far resolutely refused to make their devices compatible. Combined, the Dog & Bone Backbone wireless charging set and battery make a formidable combination, and then throws in some shock resistance just to sweeten the deal. At the end of this review, we’re giving a complete set of case, charger, and battery pack for iPhone 6/6S, to one lucky reader.

Design and Specifications

The Backbone starter pack contains:

  • Backbone case
  • Wireless Qi charger
  • Wireless Qi receiver module
  • Rear cover, and screen protector
  • Long micro-USB cable
  • 3.5″ headphone socket adaptor
Dog & Bone Backbone Wireless Charging Case and Pad Battery Case for iPhone 6S/6 - Black & Orange Dog & Bone Backbone Wireless Charging Case and Pad Battery Case for iPhone 6S/6 - Black & Orange World-first shockproof wireless charging case with military specifications 810F for 4-feet of drop protection Buy Now At Amazon $8.80

The battery pack upgrade contains:

  • 1,500 mAh battery module
  • Short micro-USB cable
Dog & Bone Backbone Battery Case for iPhone 6S/6 - Black Dog & Bone Backbone Battery Case for iPhone 6S/6 - Black Lithium ion Backbone battery for use with your Mfi (Made for iPhone) certified Backbone iPhone 6S/6 wireless charging case Buy Now At Amazon $6.60

A version for the iPhone 5/5S is also available, though not yet for the iPhone 6 Plus.

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The Backbone case adds considerable thickness to the iPhone: a couple of millimeters on the sides, half a centimeter on the back, and a good centimeter on the bottom where the ports and speaker grilles are. It’s for this reason that it’s military certified as shockproof to 1.2 meter drops. The added thickness is actually welcome though, as combined with the slightly rubberized texture of the case, I found it made my phone a lot more comfortable to hold and use.

dog and bone backbone - wireless receiver

It’s also worth noting that with the wireless receiver module inserted the Backbone case weighs just over 60 grams, adding around 50% to the 129 grams of an iPhone 6. Of course, 200 grams is still an entirely negligible weight for a supercomputer that fits in your pocket, can charge wirelessly, and has shock protection to 4 feet, so I’m not complaining.

Wireless Charging and Battery Modules

The main purpose of the Backbone case is obviously to add wireless charging capabilities What You Need to Know About Wireless Charging What You Need to Know About Wireless Charging Until our devices offer week-long battery life, charging on the go will remain a reality for us all. Read More , a revolutionary technology that simplifies the charging process. A charging pad is supplied, but the case is compatible with any other Qi chargers, such as the new range of Ikea furniture with chargers built-in, or any number of Qi hotspots now popping up in airports and cafés.

dog and bone backbone - case on charger

I was a little disappointed to find the wireless charging and battery are a case of either/or: you can either insert the wireless charging receiver into the accessory slot, or the 1,500mAh battery pack module. You can’t have both a battery and wireless charging capabilities at the same time. Hopefully they can combine the two modules in future; I’ll be all over that.

dog and bone backbone - battery

The battery module is simplistic, with a single LED to indicate charging status. There’s no array of LEDs or LCD indicator to show what percentage of charge is remaining.

Swapping between the two wireless charging receiver and battery module is easy – just slide one out, and the other in. They click into place and require a little nudge to pull out again, so this won’t happen accidentally.

No More Lightning

The biggest downside I found to using the Backbone case is that the Lightning port is no longer accessible. Instead, the base of the Backbone case provides a micro-USB port, for when you need to charge but don’t have access to a wireless charging pad. This is consistent with the micro-USB port on the battery module and the charging pad, but I’m not sure if this was a deliberate decision, or a necessary design alteration, a cost-cutting measure, or perhaps even a licensing issue (I should note, the Backbone is MFi certified, unlike some third party wireless chargers).

If you’re living in a house of mixed devices, you probably already have micro-USB cables everywhere, so this might not be an issue.

However, if you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, it’s possible you have a couple of Lightning port accessories, such as headphones, car adapters, or other standard Lighting port chargers, which you’ll no longer be able to use (at least, not without removing the case entirely, which is more trouble than it’s worth).

Headphone Adapter

Because of the extra bulk on the bottom of the case required to completely envelope the Lightning port safely, the hole through which you access the 3.5mm audio port is quite restrictive. Most headphones will no longer fit, in fact, which is why Dog and Bone supply you with a short adaptor cable with a slim plug.

dog and bone backbone - headphone adapter

This is fine if you have a single headset you can leave the adapter connected to, but if you have multiple headsets for different purposes, or regularly connect a stereo cable to your Hi-Fi, it would get frustrating to have to remove the adapter each time and carry it around separately.

Most users will be able to work around both these physical limitations: your iPhone will sync over the Wi-Fi network when it’s charging, so you don’t need a Lightning cable to sync content; and you could use Bluetooth headphones and speakers instead of the stereo port (which it’s rumored will be removed by Apple soon anyway).

But if you do use the Lightning or stereo port often, this will likely be a deal breaker.

dog and bone backbone - set

Should You Buy the Dog and Bone Backbone Case?

For some people, the iPhone is undoubtedly a mere fashion accessory. They probably won’t want the Backbone. They don’t need shock resistance, they don’t need wireless charging functionality, and they certainly don’t want the added thickness to ruin their status symbol. Not until Dog and Bone teams up with Versace to make a diamond bedazzled version, at least.

For people like me, who choose function over form, the Backbone is a great bit of kit. The shock protection, the optional battery – this is powerful package.

However, if you only want the wireless charging capabilities, there are cheaper options on the market to consider (but they might not be MFi certified).

If you can handle the loss of your Lightning port, the added protection of the Backbone case along with convenient wireless charging and a backup battery is a winning combination.

Dog&Bone Backbone Wireless Charging Case Giveaway

Send your products to be reviewed. Contact James Bruce for further details.

  1. Manu Gond
    March 13, 2016 at 3:50 am

    MakeUseOf when you guys are announcing the winner??

  2. Manu Gond
    March 9, 2016 at 3:21 am

    waiting for 3 days to pass

  3. Manu Gond
    March 8, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    just got 14 entries i can't wait to see if i can win without getting any referral entries...because none of my friends will believe on giveaways till anyone wins one.

  4. Axelle Comia
    March 3, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    best gadget ever for me :)

  5. Edmond
    February 29, 2016 at 1:26 am

    . Wow, prize case is fab. & splendid. 2 fingers snap. It is tight, fly & off the chain. Thank you for the awesomeness, the contest, and generosity. :)

  6. Douglas Harrell
    February 27, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Good luck everyone!

    I still use a Samsung flip phone, so this will not be of much use to me.

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