mophie Juice Pack Air for Power Hungry iPhone Users

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mophie Juice Pack Air [$79.96 - iMore Store link] is the newer, sleeker model in town. We've tried out several battery extenders here on TiPb, and I've tried quite a few personally, but like the grail we keep looking for longer, better, and stronger power. Did I find it with the Juice Pack Air?

James has been talking the Air up for a while, but I wasn't sure about it. There are several variations in battery charger available for the iPhone, after all. First, form factor. Some chargers are modules that plug onto the bottom and while they can pack a punch, you have to be careful how you handle the iPhone when they're connected, lest they become rapidly unconnected. mophie makes the other kind, the case-style, and the Air -- as the name suggests -- is molded to be as thin and remain as pocketable as possible. In this, it succeeds brilliantly.

Some have complained that the Air's case-like form factor reduces their cell signal strength by a couple bars. I didn't experience that, though I'm in Canada and -- apologies to my long-suffering AT&T friends -- the iPhone is solid on our network.

The other variation is charging style. Some battery extenders charge via a dock port that makes them very handy since dock cables are ubiquitous and if you already have an AC adaptor, car adaptor, etc. they "just work" with those.

The mophie, by contrast, uses a USB micro-cable, but not micro-USB, which is always a concern (if your forget it, or lose it, your battery charger ain't getting charged).

Enough about what it is, what's important is how it works. I tested this one out on a weekend trip, and on several heavy-duty usage days. I also ended up testing it out when I negligently pocketed my iPhone while still recording video, leading it to discharge fairly rapidly.

And it worked well, pretty much in line with mophie's specs. It recharged my iPhone fairly close to full, and on one occasion recharged both mine and a friend's halfway during a 2 hour drive when a car charger failed on us.

So, bottom line, if you need extra power and still want something sleek enough to easily carry your iPhone easily in your pocket, (and your cell signal is typically strong), the mophie Juice Pack is well worth checking out.

For more info and full specs, check out TiPb's iPhone Store...

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 30 comments. Add yours.

kevlar says:

How about some photo's with the iphone in it and also alongside it for size comparison?

Lordzod01 says:

I've had one for a couple of months. It's ok but that's it. From dead you get maybe 72%-75%. I use it for an extreme emergancy use only. The added bulk isn't worth it. It also weakens my signal when switched on.

Wayne says:

Yeah. What he said. I might actually buy one of these things.

XM_JDM says:

Richard solo 1800 FTW!

Patrick says:

Yeah another battery pack I'm passing on...It's fugly, doesn't even give a full charge and reduces signal strength....I'd rather buy a car charger and charge it that way.

saralegal40 says:

I received the Juice Pack Air on yesterday, 9/09/09. It does add a little extra bulk and I have notice that when sending an text message that I have to keep trying to send or remove the extend battery on a couple of ocassion.

Big John says:

It looks great when it's on phone but kills your signal makes juice air unuseable $80 bucks up in smokes buy at your own risk to bad becouse it looks veery good on the phone

Stephman says:

How is this compared to the original Mophie Juice Pack?

chris4851 says:

Great design, sleek looking but a HORRIBLE device. This product killed my cell signal by over 50%. As my iPhone shows me I have full 5 bars signal and 3G coverage at work without the Mophie. When using the Mophie iPhone dropped to 1-2 bars signal and E coverage.
Great if you are watching movies or browsing the internet on WIFI. Second you need cellular service with the Mophie is it useless. I would not recommend unless you live or work NEXT to a tower.

Aranda says:

This charger looks pretty nice, by December I'm gonna get me one, I need the extra battery.

Oboewan says:

Eh, I'll pass on this one.
May get a NovoThink Surge when they come out - those things look frakking epic.

rsohne says:

I have been using the Mophie around 2 months now and my biggest complaints have been that it has left fine scratches on my 3gs case on both sides where the Mophie curves up. Also, as of yesterday the top piece has broken on me twice where the power button is. The top is made of a very brittle plastic and snaps easily.

Xultar says:

I have one. I love it cuz it works. The plastic is slick and brittle. But it does what it says.
Until there is a better one this is.

frog says:

My only problem, is the thing is damned near impossible to remove!
Otherwise it's excellent, like Renee - I live in a country with good cell phone coverage, and have had no problems with it.

Virtuous says:

A user-replaceable battery would have made these less than ideal substitutes unneccesary.

NickFL2011 says:

Have been using this with my 3GS since it came out and it has serve me just fine. I'm a medical student doing my clinical rotations so that means I'm basically out working for 12hrs a day constantly using a number of med apps on the phone with no real chance to sit and let it charge. So for me some sort of extended battery was needed and this was really the only one I found that wasn't insanely large/bulky and that I wouldn't mind just leaving on all the time as it's case. So if you're basically on your feet all day without access to a charge than this is handy. I get decent cell coverage where I'm at so I haven't noticed any bad effects on the signal level.
The only thing I wish it had was textured finish so that it wasn't so slippery. It's smooth finish does make it easy to slip in and out of a pocket but can be a little slippey during use.

dmackdaddy says:

I'm lucky if I get an extra 6-8 hours out of mine. They DO NOT Double your life, cuz my 3G lasts 20 hours easy!

aimz says:

I just ordered one of these from the Apple Store (had a gift card I got for my birthday).

Lee says:

I have had one for a few months now. LOVE IT. It definitely doubles my battery life and I haven't noticed a change in signal. I never made it halfway through a day before but now I make it till about 5pm and switch the battery on. I never take it off my iphone. I recharge overnight. Everyone says it makes it a little heavier, it does. My answer- I'd rather have a heavy phone than a dead phone.

John says:

Had the Juice Pack Air for 2 days and returned it. The signal strength degrades quite a bit and the thing gets hot when recharging the phone. Not the most comfortable thing to have in your pocket. And the extra bulk eliminates the design intent of the iPhone.

SoCalRJ says:

It does a good job of recharging pretty quickly when you are low on power, it isn't too big and doubles as a case, and is great for power eating games because you can use it while gaming then remove it when you're done and need to make calls etc. One problem is in removing it -- this is not easy and I've cracked the top part already.

Umm says:

Haha. All i c is reviews for the same ol tired products here. The real story is my 4400 mAh batt that i got for 59$. Can we say 3 full charges!? Haha. Why settle for 1200 mAh for 79$ with signal loss and extra bulk. I have you tube reviews on the 4400 mAh just mobile gum pro external battery pack. Just mobile also sells a 2200mAH version i believe. Tried juice pack air, power slider, and dongles to recharge phone. Nothing compares to 4400 mAh of spare power. Check it out and start reviewing some real accessories that are useful. Check out my review and utube channel here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZfAlQ2xHo0

kristin says:

I have to say.. I cannot go without my mophie pack, but they are of horrible quality. I've gone through 3 already, 2 juice packs and 1 juice pack air and even tho they are warrantied their return process is a complete pain. I'm considering switching over to the incase one because I can get it replaced at bestbuy if it breaks.

Bobby says:

Since I loaded iTunes 9 mine syncs through the mophie cable. That's weird.

Umm says:

Kriststin. If u have a 3gs forget incase. It kills signal. That and incase discontinued them. Check their website. No where to be found. If u do get it from best buy, dont expect mor to b there later to exchange. It works fine on my 3g but totaly kills my 3gs signal. Check out my vid link above to the just mobile gum pro. 20 bucks cheaper and three times the juice.

Ben says:

I use the logic 3. Cost about £25 on tottenham court road, London. Does a full recharge in about an hour.

Mapkhukho says:

I just got the mophie juice pack. I have yet experience the signal lost. I guess depend on what service provider you are with. I got an white version how ever i still thing other color are nice as well. It is a 1200mah lit ion batery. It did increase the size and i have to get a bigger case. So farbi am quite happy.

MikeB says:

OK, I got my Mophie Juice Pack 2 weeks ago. I love the fact that I can go over twice as long without having to plug in and power up. It really works well for music, games, movies pretty much anything that sucks a lot of video power.
But! Yup, here it is... it kills your signal!
This was a "controlled experiment".
Criteria:
Wife & I bought new iPhone 3G's (not 3GS) June of this year (2009). We both shared identical results in regards of signal and everything else. We normally get 4 to 5 bars upstairs in our home (edge of service area) and 2 to 3 bars in our cellar (still strong for calls).
I bought the Mophie for mine (not hers) 2 weeks ago. Since then, I've been complaining about my signal and comparing to hers. Upstairs, she'll have an average of 4 bars, I'll have 3 to 1 bar.
If we go into our cellar, she averages 3 bars to 2. Mine says "NO SERVICE"!
But!!! If I remove the Mophie Juice Pack from mine...BOOM! I've got 2 to 3 bars! Just like the wife's IDENTICLE iPhone.
It absolutely is a signal killer. Weigh your options and needs before you buy.

UnhappyCamper says:

All these reviews saying it's a great item to get, and that the only bad part is the not getting service part, are rediculous. The morphie is a CASE. Which means it's supposed to be worn on your iPhone all the time. So to justify it by saying "oh just use it when you play games/surf the web and take it off to make calls" is stupid. If that's what you're willing to do, why not get a small dongle with, probably, more power and plug that in when you need a boost. It's cheaper, apparently easier to remove, and best of all: DOES WHAT ITS SUPPOSED TO DO!!