Younger readers will think I'm making this up, but back in the day (the 1990s and early 2000s), a cellphone's battery would last the best part of your working week - until the dreaded "Friday phone" low when you had to go searching for your charger.

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Then big touchscreens and thirsty processors arrive and now, of course, you're lucky to get through a whole day. And given lithium-ion batteries degrade over time, in 12 to 24 months that can dwindle to a half-day.

Apple's new iPhone 11 series, released in September, actually got pretty good notices for battery life, as did their predecessors.


As Brian Chen wrote in his review of the 11 series, "The new iPhones all have longer battery life. Even after a day of heavy use, which included taking phone calls, using maps and shooting lots of photos, each iPhone had lots of juice remaining — at least 30 per cent — by bedtime. After similar tests with an iPhone X two years ago, the battery had about 15 per cent left by bedtime."

But it's still easy to get caught out especially when you're on the move, or just binge-streaming on Apple TV+ into the wee small hours.

Enter the latest version of Apple's Smart Battery Case ($249 in white, black or pink).

I've just taken delivery of one for my iPhone 11 Pro.

If you're already familiar with Apple's Smart Case line, the key new feature is a dedicated camera button on the case, making it easy to fire up for a photo without even looking at your phone.

Elsewhere, Smart Battery Case's humpback design contains a chunky 1430 mAh battery that boosts your total battery life by up to 50 per cent. Early overseas reviews say that's right on the money.

The trade-off for a second battery is, naturally, more heft. The smart battery case nearly doubles the thickness of your phone, and it took chubbed my 188g iPhone 11 Pro up to 276g.

But Apple's Smart Battery Case offers more convenience that most. Its built-in Lightning Connector means you can charge your phone's battery and the case's battery at the same time, via a single chord.


And while Apple's AirPower charging mat is (cough) still in the works, the Smart Battery Case is compatible with any third-party wireless charger certified to the Qi standard.

Not everybody is a fan of the humpback design, but it actually hugs your palm more smoothly than a standalone iPhone, and its rubbery elastomer feels is comfortable and grippy. It's quite thick, too, which will probably be bad news if you use car mount that relies on magnets.