iPhone 5 running out of battery? Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5 Reviewed

One of the most popular complaints about smartphones is that they run out of battery too fast. The iPhone is no exception, especially recently with news that a flaw in the recent iOS 6.1 update is causing issues with Exchange servers, with iPhones excessively calling out to Exchange servers since the update. Apple has announced that it is addressing this issue.

How to make your iPhone battery last longer

The recent iOS update is not the only reason people are experiencing battery drain on their phones. Some iPhone users who had discovered that their batteries are draining away have reported that turning LTE off has fixed the issue. To turn off LTE go to Settings > General > Cellular and then toggle off Enable LTE (if your provider doesn't offer LTE this won't be an option for you, you'll just see Enable 3G).

Another reason why some people experience excessive battery drain is that they leave battery-hogging apps running. In our experience social gaming apps such as Words With Friends are often the culprits. So making a habit of shutting down apps can be a good idea. (Double tap the Home Button, hold an icon until it giggles, and then tap to close it).

If all else fails there is always the option of a case with a built in battery. We've been testing the Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5 to determine whether this is a good solution to battery woes. 

Mophie Juice Pack Helium iPhone battery tested

The Mophie Juice Pack Helium combines a case with a battery. For this reason it is larger and heavier than standard iPhone cases. In fact, it made our phone 68g heavier, weighing in at 181g, compared to its usual 113g.

This extra weight meant we were more inclined to stuff the case in our bag, rather than keep our iPhone in it, just whipping it out when we required some extra juice. This made us wonder whether carrying around a separate battery, like the HyperJuice Micro, might suit our needs better, although that weighs even more at 134g.

We found that we didn't really have much need for the extra power either. Perhaps we are so well trained at shutting down battery-hogging apps, or maybe because our phone isn't searching for LTE networks. Either way, we have yet to end a day with less than 10% battery available. 

To test the Mophie Juice Pack Helium we ran down our battery to zero percent then charged it from a fully charged Helium. We started the charge at 12pm and by 13.41 it was at 64% with no juice to go any further.

Mophie claims that the battery can provide an additional 6 to 7 hours of life to the iPhone 5 (depending on whether you use 3G or WiFi). This adds to the 8-10 hours of the iPhone 5 built-in battery to provide between 14-17 hours of total usage time.

We can see it coming in useful on a long haul flight: if you were thinking of using your iPhone to watch video when on route to America, the Helium should give you an extra seven hours if video playback, according to Mophie.

Our experience was even better: in normal use (maps, photos, email, YouTube, iPlayer, Facebook), on the day we tested the device, we found that we were down to 9% by 23.12, almost 12 hours after we started charging.

We also carried the case around in the bottom of our bag for a few days and were pleased to find that it maintained its charge sufficiently.

Charging the Helium is simple. In the box you'll find a Micro USB charging cable that plugs into the base of the case and then plugs in to any USB Plug socket, like the one that came with your phone, or a USB port on your Mac. The LEDs on the back of the device blink to indicate that charging has begun. If they stop blinking that doesn't mean that the case has finished charging though. To find out how close to capacity the case is, press the status button beside the lights. If all four lights light up the case is fully charged.

When you want to charge your iPhone, you detach the base and slide the phone in until it clicks. You then need to flip the switch to the right of the lights so that you can see green. You will then hear your phone make the chirp sound it usually makes when you plug it in, and it will start charging.

If once your phone is charged the juice pack still has power left the phone will continue to pull power from the battery pack, rather than deplete the iPhone battery. If you want to revert to your iPhone battery, flip the switch back so you can see red.

You can see just how much power is in the Helium at any time by tapping the button on the left of the lights. Beware, one light means it's nearly empty.

Just to prove that they have thought of everything, Mophie includes a pass-through headphone extension due to the fact that the iPhone's headphone jack is recessed more than a centimetre within the case. The iPhone headphones that came with your phone will fit without this pass-through jack, but if you have purchased third-party headphones you may not be able to use them without it.

While we can't see the Helium changing our life, it has proven useful on a couple of occasions when a little extra juice has come in useful. We are certain that if we regularly took long haul flights that the investment would be worthwhile, however, at £59.99, while not a bad price for a battery-incorporating case, is a high price to pay if you rarely run out of iPhone battery.

OUR VERDICT

While we can't see the Helium changing our life, it has proven useful on a couple of occasions when a little extra juice has come in useful. We are certain that if we regularly took long haul flights that the investment would be worthwhile, however, at £59.99, while not a bad price for a battery-incorporating case, is a high price to pay if you rarely run out of iPhone battery.

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