There’s a lot to like about Prong’s PocketPlug for the iPhone 5/5S but for me, it's just shy of greatestness.
In an increasingly competitive world of smartphone cases, Miami-based startup Prong came up with something completely different to stand out amongst its bevy of competitors. That product is PocketPlug, a solid case made of high-grade polycarbonate, a typical feature these days but with one exceptional feature – a built in wall charger!
Yet as much as I like this innovative case, it comes with a micro USB port and micro USB cable and is not Apple Lightning compatible. Moreover, the micro USB cable does not sync; in other words, if you are a typical iPhone user of iTunes or iPhoto, you would have to remove your smartphone from the case and then attach a Lightning cable to your desktop or laptop. And although the PocketPlug allows for a very snug fit to your iPhone, it was difficult for me to remove the smartphone from the casing. Nonetheless, photos and music may be uploaded via Apple's iCloud, although it's a procedure some consumers may find difficult.
While Prong does specify that the micro USB cable for the PocketPlug iPhone 5/5s version is “power only”, it’s possible a consumer will miss that critical information altogether and there’s no mention of it in their FAQ section. To be fair, use of micro USB ports is widespread amongst startups but the good news are multiple reports suggesting Apple has reduced licensing costs in their MFi program and Lightning cables to accessory manufacturers. Whether Prong plans to feature a port allowing a Lightning connector is unknown, possibly contingent on the success of PocketProng. Luckily for iPhone 4/4S users, their version of the PocketPlug comes equipped with a micro USB cable that powers and syncs. For Android users, there are plans to release a version for Samsung's Galaxy S III.
One last issue is the use of an audio adapter for many headphones. Not included in the iPhone 4/4S version, a number of consumers experienced difficulty connecting headphones because the PocketPlug’s opening for a headphone jack is fairly deep, possibly due to the case's features. Give Prong credit for adding an audio adapter for the iPhone 5/5S version, although it does seems inconvenient.
Despite my reservations about PocketPlug for the iPhone 5/5S, it does do what it’s supposed to do - plug into a wall outlet and charge your iPhone 5/5S. This is a game changer for consumers frustrated with not having a power source handy for recharging, misplacing a charging cable or those who simply want to do away with excessive wires. The case design is impressive with stylish looks and also comes equipped with "enhanced audio engineering", purported to enhance the "quality and clarity of the phones speaker and microphone". Some reviewers complained the case is a little bulky but comes with something no other smartcase has to my knowledge – flat folding plugs.
In conclusion, the PocketPlug for the iPhone 5/5S is an excellent case, but would be immensely better with a Lightning connector. If Prong eventually makes this change to PocketPlug, I'd rate it five stars. In the meantime, while some consumers and industry analysts may disagree, the ability to sync my iPhone remains an absolute necessity for me.