Does your iPhone crave power like a mad dictator? Even after trying some of Clayton’s excellent tips on power conservation, you might find that by dinner your iPhone gives out like a puppet government. The Mophie Juice Pack Air external power pack promises extended battery life in a compact combination of form and function. Is this new version too good to be true, or could this be one of those rare times that promises are delivered upon? Read on.
The Juice Pack Air is light. When protecting the iPhone it adds just over two and one half ounces to the weight of it and half an inch to the height, a bit over an eighth of an inch to the width and a quarter inch to the depth. The case is mono-color with a glossy finish and comes in black, white, and (Kansas State and Minnesota Vikings fans, rejoice) purple. Unlike Mophie’s standard Juice Pack, the Air version fully protects the iPhone.
As with most hard cases, there are cut-outs for the various buttons and the audio jack, although not for the dock connector. The speakers are blocked, but the Air uses a sound channel to deliver the sound to the front instead of the bottom. I actually heard better with my Air than without it! The standard Apple dock connector is replaced with micro USB, instead of the more popular mini USB connector, which passes the charge through to the iPhone and battery. When the Air is attached, the iPhone does not fit into most other docking or pass-through accessories. Fortunately the case is literally a snap to remove.
Style is great, but does it actually get the job done? Yes! Without the Juice Pack, my own year-old iPhone 3G battery depletes itself after about 12 hours of heavy use. During tests, I was able to get about 24 hours of use out of my iPhone before needing a recharge of the iPhone and Juice Pack.
A four-dot blue LED display on the Mophie gives an indication of approximately how much of the battery is left. Like a brave soldier, the Juice Pack sacrifices itself before the iPhone taps its own internal battery. The Juice Pack can also be turned off to allow the iPhone battery to drain first. The Air version of the Juice Pack holds much less of a charge than the original, but just like the Macbook Air, you have to sacrifice something to achieve a svelte figure.
But I’m afraid power doesn’t come cheap. The Mophie Juice Pack Air retails for $79.95, which is a bit more than buying a battery pack separately from a hard case, but it is a great value in that the two are combined together. If your iPhone battery isn’t lasting you long enough and you don’t need a fancy case, the Mophie Juice Pack Air is a great choice.