There’s no conclusive evidence that long-term mobile phone use can damage our health, but that doesn’t stop us from viewing our mobile phones as something akin to the block of plutonium that lands in Homer’s pocket in the titles of The Simpsons. One solution is to don a Bluetooth headset, but you’ll either have to be prepared to wear it all the time or develop the reaction times of Usain Bolt to pop it on without missing that a call. So I was intrigued when the people at Pong contacted me to say they had another remedy in the form of a phone cover.
Pong claim their covers – developed by crack-squad of PhD scientists from MIT, Princeton, Harvard and the University of Manchester, no less – maintain battery life and improve 3G and 4G signal strength (and therefore data download and upload speeds). But most importantly, each one contains an antenna that directs any electromagnetic radiation away from your head and body.
Pong cases are available for most smartphones of the Android, Blackberry and Apple variety, including the iPhone 4, which I tried out. And before you ask, they don’t smell.
Look and feel My pink review sample was way too sugary for my taste – I was keener on the purple and red options, but I did like the matt finish. It certainly exorcised my iPhone 4’s poltergeist tendancies to slip off the arm of my leather sofa.
Now, I’d like to think of my handbag as a hospitable place for a mobile. It’s even got it’s own dedicated phone pocket. But my Pong case barely survived a week before the matt finish began to wear off on a couple of corners, revealing white plastic beneath. Not long after, three small dints appeared, which I can only put down to an altercation with my keys. Then the back started to look grubby – all very disappointing for a case costing £40.
A soapy water bath rectified some of the damage but many of the battle scars still remained. At least my phone didn’t have a scratch on it, so the company’s claim that ‘The case provides shock absorption and scratch protection’ can’t be denied.
Battery life and signal I’ll have to take their word for it on the radiation side of things, but the extra antenna inside the Pong case certainly seemed to work, boosting my signal by one to two bars when sat at my desk at IPC Towers (I’m with Three, should you care). As for battery life, I’d say the difference with and without a Pong on a typical day (40 minutes of web browsing on the train plus another hour on the sofa; a half hour chat to Mum; a handful of texts and a a few games of BeeCells before bed) wasn’t actually noticeable. However, my battery didn’t seem nearly as sapped as I’d expected after a longer phone call to an old friend, so it might buy you ten extra minutes of talk time if you’re a chatterbox.
Girl About Tech’s verdict Should radiation really concern you, this product is worth further investigation. I certainly found it boosted my phone’s signal, even if the affects on battery life weren’t obvious. But what lets this first incarnation of the Pong case down is the ease with which it gets scratched and grubby. Still tempted to buy one? Then promise me you’ll go for one of the darker finishes.
Pong cases cost from £39.99 and are available from www.ponguk.com