When Apple iPhone makes it to blockbuster it opens a wide market opportunities for software and accessories to run with millions of its consumer. One popularly known accessory to market for the iPhone is its protective case, apparently, Mophie double up the purpose as an external battery pack for those iPhone owners that needs extra power than Apple can provide from its non-removable batteries. Mophie’s new Juice Pack Air for iPhone 4 promises to “virtually” double runtime rooting it juices from a 1500mAh concealed batteries on the case. Does it satisfied its rated specifications and is it worth your money in terms of functionality and design? Let’s see, our comprehensive review is after the cut.
Mophie Juice Pack Air packaging was a sophiscated black matte rectangular box with accentuated glossy printed iPhone 4 wearing the Juice Pack case and it blended perfectly with the properly placed white-colored labels. While at the back of the box, the features and some important details are printed in a magazine style layout, we find it perfect if you’re on a store and you want to quickly browse for its features. However, upfront of the box was still a design surprise, lifting the front cover reveals that it was a magnetic cover where inside was a transparent window showing the Juice Pack Air with the user manual center-laid on the cover sporting Mophie’s logo. Then the step by step instructional guide was printed on the back of the cover. Now in this thought, we’re greatly impressed on the details Mophie put on the packaging, so at all we expect that it can be positively reflected to what’s inside.
Getting the Juice Pack Air out of the box, reveals a black molded plastic where it comfortably fits the case and the bundled mini-USB cable together with user manual resting firmly acting as the case cover. The plastic mold holds the case where it acts as a bubble wrap to protect the case from unwanted shock or stress the box may have.
The Mophie Juice Pack Air features soft-rubber matte black finish with curvy edges and inflicted with a painted metallic band round the whole case to imitate the iPhone 4’s antenna. On the metallic band there’s a cutout for the sleep/power button, headphone socket, volume buttons, ringer switch and a deep oval cut through at the back for the camera and flash. At the bottom, instead of a docking connector there’s a button and four white LEDs battery juice indicator. The power switch of the case was situated bottom corner offset the pass-through mini-USB slot of the case for syncing and charging. Right on the top-front bottom there was an inner bevel literal “mophie” printed and two oval holes that relates as the pinhole for the iPhone’s speakers. We’re really looking in each detail, that we noticed that even the technical label inside the case were bevel deep, to avoid it when sliding the iPhone in the case.
Inspecting every edge from top to bottom including all cutouts, yes it’s perfectly clean –no sharp or plastic-remains left on. The case measures 5.07 x 2.51 x 0.68 inches and weighs 2.5oz. These adds a considerable weight and dimensions to iPhone’s own weight, the bulky feel when it cased the iPhone makes it bigger and heavier in first thought.
Mophie’s well-designed packaging and clean-finished case satisfied our craving for details, yes, we’re impressed.
- The juice pack air for the iPhone 4 provides the very best of seven generations of product development and design.
- The juice pack air for iPhone 4 combines rechargeable external battery power concealed inside of a protective form-fitting case. It offers the full protection of a hard-shell case with an ultra-thin, light-weight, low-profile design.
- The juice pack air for iPhone 4 virtually doubles the power available to rock, talk, surf and send.
- A full charged case gives users:
- Up to an additional 6 hours on 3G, up to 12 hours on 2G, of Talk Time
- Up to an additional 36 hours of Audio Playback
- Up to an additional 9 hours Video Playback
- Highly condensed lithium polymer battery delivers an incredible amount of juice in a small form factor and features built in overcharge, short circuit and temperature protection.
- Embedded electronics results in no signal interference with the iPhone 4.
- The case design acts as a virtual speaker box, redirecting sound from the bottom of the iPhone 4 to the front, resulting in a richer, fuller sound quality.
- An integrated LED status indicator tells you exactly how much “juice” is left and also displays how much time remains during the charging process.
- 500 milliamps fast charge technology, with an advanced battery for added safety, as well as 1500 mAh capacity.
- Sleek design includes a new, soft-touch, rubberized finish and silver band that mirrors the aesthetic of the iPhone itself.
- Included USB cable enables you to simultaneously charge and sync your iPhone 4 to iTunes without having to remove it from the juice pack air.
• Standby Time: Up to 270 hours
• Talk Time: Up to 6 hours on 3G | Up to 12 hours on 2G
• Internet Use: Up to 5 hours on 3G | Up to 9 hours on Wi-Fi
• Audio Playback: Up to 36 hours
• Video Playback: Up to 9 hours
• Product Dimensions: 5.07 in x 2.51 in x 0.68 in; 2.5 oz
• Battery Capacity: 1500 mAh
• Estimated Shipping Weight: 1 lbs
• Shipping: This product ships world wide
• Product Category: Cell Phone External Battery
• Product Compatibility: Apple iPhone 4, iPhone not included
• Package Content Included: juice pack air™, USB-micro cable, User’s Manual
Mophie Juice Pack Air measures 5.07 x 2.51 x 0.68 inches and weighs 2.5oz while the iPhone 4 boast 4.5 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches and weighs 4.8 oz. From these measurements we can obviously see the bulk the Juice Pack Air will add to the smartphone, that’s around 0.57 x 0.20 x 0.31 inches added on dimensions together with overall weighs of 7.3oz. That adds a considerable bulk and weights on the handset, however Mophie have negated the thickness via its curve edges down the back which concealed the battery pack. The soft touch rubber finish also denies the added size by resulting in a more gripable case while giving a premium look and feel.
The Juice Pack Air design were a two-piece case, where the larger piece obviously holds the battery pack and the smaller one acts as a cover cap, that completely locks the iPhone inside. We have a feel that in a long use, this may loosen up and may have a chance to fall off the case, however, so far in two weeks of real world use; the two pieces still locked together firmly.
The premium looking cutouts for the power/sleep, ringer and volume buttons together with the headphones socket are all located on the small cap piece of the case. The deep button cutouts located at the upper part of the Juice Pack Air and the added bulk of the case unfortunately limits you from single-handedly pressing the buttons. And we also noticed that, it inhibit some audio jack to pass through the headphone cutouts, check out the image below when we tried the iPhone as an audio source on our sound system. Notice that some headphones also have this standard audio jack. However, you can remove the cap, but that lessen the protection to your handset.
The switch and the LED indicators also come handy to manage and monitor the juices on the case. The switch which is located on bottom left corner when the Juice Pack facing front on you shows red/green as to standby/charging. This function well when you opted the Juice Pack Air to be a charger or reserved pack, we’ll explain it later.
And you’ll also have an ease of syncing or changing it on your computer —-the mini-USB allows it, yes, without removing the case. Now, that’s simply eliminates the abusive wear or mechanically removing the case, then and then from the iPhone 4.
There’s also one thing Mophie’s simple design for the case that we definitely love, it is the acoustic sound enhancement (virtual speaker box), it’s the two oval holes that redirects the sound from the bottom of the iPhone 4 to the front, yes, it evens give sound clarity during loud speaker call or audio playback.
Let’s go now to the most important part of this review, the battery performance. Normally as Apple rated the iPhone 4 has a 1,420 mAh battery which up to 7hrs of 3G talktime (14hrs 2G), up to 6hrs of 3G browsing (or 10hrs over WiFi), up to 10hrs of video playback, or up to 40hrs of audio playback.
While the Mophie’s Juice Pack Air was rated to boosts talk time by up to 6hrs over 3G (12hrs 2G), up to 5hrs of 3G browsing (9hrs over WiFi), video playback up to 9hrs, and audio playback up 36hrs all sealed on a 1500 mAh juice battery.
Does it meet its rated specifications? Did Mophie’s meets its promise of “virtually” doubling the iPhone 4’s life?
We’re really surprised with the Juice Pack Air performance when we test it as a charger (plug-in and recommended) and as a reserved battery pack. We let this review based from the primitive 2G signal; we find it efficient since we’re testing versus time.
First let’s go to its recommended usage as a charger that we tried on first using the iPhone 4 until it meets it 20 percent warning charge limit. After the pop up warning we switch the fully-charged Juice Pack to charge the iPhone 4, and then we wait until the battery pack LED indicators showed drained juice. We checked the battery percentage up to 92 percent and this is approximately 16.2 hours of normal use based from our chart records. In this way the Juice Pack air charged 72 percent of the iPhone 4’s battery since we have the 20 percent initially.
Now we look on doing the juice pack as a plug-in charger where both fully charged iPhone 4 and Juice Pack Air are used. Initially the juice from the case is used until it was drained and the iPhone fend its normal battery juice. How long it takes, that’s 12 hours and 45 minutes on our record.
Now let’s push the Mophie’s Juice Pack Air on our final test where we think will ultimately show the battery performance. We slide in a fully drained iPhone 4, yes, that it 0 percent charged handset on the Juice Pack air, switch and let it extract juices on the case until there was no sign of power on the LED indicators. We’re a bit surprised that it register an 80 percent battery power and that is 13 hours and 10 minutes of added usage from our chart until the iPhone 4 drop it last sign of life.
The last result ultimately puts us on aforementioned surprise and doubt why it registered an 80 percent while the first test is just 92 percent and not 100 percent or more, so we run another round of test (that’s why we’re delayed on publishing this review), and you know what, we get same result of 92 percent and 80 percent, respectively. We just assumed that it sucks the 8 percent of battery juice of the iPhone that’s why it registered 92 percent, breaking it down to 80 percent from the pack and 12 percent left on the initial 20 percent internal battery.
And to tell you, we find consistent results of 12-13 hours of added usage (2G) for the iPhone 4, ooh, see that’s even beyond its rated 12 hours on 2G.
We can’t tell anything bad against the design, however there’s a little problem fitting in large audio jack on the Juice pack headphone cutout. We find each feature well designed and useful including the virtual speaker box, standby/charging switch, LED indicators and the compact sync/charge mini-USB.
In terms of performance, well there’s no doubt it meets it’s rated specs of up to 6hrs over 3G (12hrs 2G), up to 5hrs of 3G browsing (9hrs over WiFi), video playback up to 9hrs, and audio playback up 36hrs. The three test results of 12-13 hours even nearly doubled the iPhone 4’s battery life. So we defined what “virtually doubled” means.
- Nearly doubled the iPhone 4’s battery life
- Protective, premium nice looking case design
- Properly designed switch and LED indicator for power management
- Pass through sync and charging via bundled USB
- A bit pricey for $79.95
- Bulky, not pocket-friendly
- Not compatible on some headphones jack
- Volume and Power buttons hard to press with case on
The bottom line:
If you need a long battery life for your iPhone 4, we highly recommend Mophie’s Juice Pack Air however it’ll add a serious bulk on the smartphone but if you’ll consider some rugged iPhone case that’s bulky and notably you’ll be only getting protection from shock and scratches. Apparently, if you’ll be getting Juice Pack Air you can doubled its purpose as an external/reserved battery pack and protective case. The premium looking and well-designed case is worth your $80, the way we see the balance in design and performance.