Juice Pack for iPhone

Juice Pack for iPhone
Company: Mophie Inc.

US $ 99.95

I was a Day One iPhone adopter, and can easily say that I’d buy one again, even though the first generation iPhone is clearly not perfect.

My main complaint with the iPhone is the battery life. Compared to other cellphones, the iPhone’s battery life can best be described as “barely adequate.” Only my long-discontinued Samsung phone/Palm device (don’t ask me the model number, as I’ve repressed all the bad memories of that gadget) had worse battery life. To be sure, the iPhone is smarter than any other cellphone, and all that intelligence needs electricity to feed it.

iPhone battery life is highly variable. If you surf wildly all day, check email every five minutes, and run the iPod at the same time, you’ll be lucky to finish the average day without eating up your battery. If you use just the phone, and don’t use the Internet, email or iPod, the battery will likely last a couple of days.

My usage patterns fall right in the middle, and I normally have about 25% capacity left at the end of the day. So, each night, I charge the battery.

mophie (no, there’s no capital “M“) sent me a review unit of the mophie Juice Pack for iPhone. Juice Pack is an external battery for for iPhone that seamlessly supplements the internal battery. After using Juice Pack for a few weeks, I am highly impressed with it.

Juice Pack is a lithium-polymer battery embedded in a sleeve. The iPhone slides neatly into the sleeve, which grips the iPhone tightly enough so the phone won’t easily slide out. At the base of the Juice Pack is a standard iPhone connector, albeit reversed. When charged, the dock connector at the base of the iPhone mates with the connector at the base of the Juice Pack. With the Pack connected, the Pack powers the iPhone until the Juice Pack is discharged, and only then is the iPhone internal battery used. It’s slick engineering, and works perfectly; no muss, no fuss.

mophie’s PR numbers for battery life are:

• Standby Time – Up to 250 hours
• Audio Playback – Up to 24 hours
• Talk Time – Up to 8 hours
• Video Playback – Up to 7 hours
• Internet Use – Up to 6 hours

Naturally, these figure are obtained by trained test pilots, operating under laboratory conditions (grin), so your experience may vary. I did not conduct exhaustive test bench battery life experiments. I simply USED the iPhone with and without the Juice Pack for several weeks. I consistently got two days worth of my typical use, instead of one day, before needing to recharge. For me, that doubled the usable life per charge. Again, your results may vary.

Here are some other points I liked about the Juice Pack.
• Good ergonomics. The case cum battery adds little overall size to the iPhone, nor does it add much weight. The Juice Pack has grip bars molded on each side for better gripping traction.
• mophie remembered to leave space at the bottom for the iPhone speaker, so the speakerphone volume is unaffected.
• Juice Pack comes charged. Well, almost. Any rechargeable battery will lose some charge sitting on the shelf. My unit showed 75% charge when I received it.
• You can leave charge both the iPhone and the Juice Pack simultaneously.

I found only a few things I did not like.
• While the iPhone never slid out of the Juice Pack by mistake, I would prefer just a bit more friction and tightness to provide even less chance of accidental iPhone slips out of the Juice Pack.
• The Juice Pack connector is reversed, and you have to turn over the plug to seat it. While this is mentioned in the documentation, most people won’t read the documentation, as the Juice Pack seems to too self-explanatory. It’s not a big deal, and you only make the mistake once.
• For the $99.95 price, mophie should include a belt clip attachment. Belt clips are a must for this user.

Warning! The Juice Pack I tested fits only the first generation iPhone. It does NOT fit the upcoming second generation 3G iphone. mophie’s web site says they plan to ship a 3G version in the future.

MyMac rating 4.5 out of 5

mophie Juice Pack for iPhone is a stone-simple, easy to use product that just works. While rather pricey at $99.95, it works as advertised, and will probably double your iPhone battery life, even if you never get Apple’s or mophie’s PR battery life numbers.

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