Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 5 full review
The Mophie Juice Pack Air is an iPhone 5 case that offers substantial protection, but more importantly contains a built-in battery that enables you to run the iPhone 5 for longer. Our Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 5 review benchmarks the battery to see how much it extends the daily life of the iPhone.
Short battery life is a problem that plagues many smartphones. Apple has paid close attention to maxing out the battery life of its products. Indeed the recent iPhone and iPads are little more than batteries with components embedded inside and screens attached. Apple claims eight hours of talk time, and 10 hours of video playback on the iPhone 5. Typically this should be enough but there are circumstances when the battery runs short: keen gamers, those who use the iPhone 5 as a Sat-Nav and anybody on a long-haul flight will find solace in this Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone 5 case.
The Mophie Juice Pack Air completely surrounds the rear and sides of an iPhone 5. The bottom part is removable and forms two pieces that clip together around the iPhone. Once clipped into place the iPhone 5 display and buttons are accessible, but the rest of the phone is neatly sealed in.
There are gaps for the earphone socket, and camera lens and replacement buttons on the sides of the Mophie Juice Pack Air. These push down the appropriate buttons, and adjust the Mute slider as appropriate. In all we found the iPhone 5 worked exactly the same as before.
See: iPhone accessories
How to fit the Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone 5
We are impressed with the fit and finish of the Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone 5. Like previous Mophie products it’s clearly made of high quality plastic and metal with a styling designed to somewhat mimic the iPhone 5 (there’s a metal band running around the side). There are also build in speaker grills so the audio from the iPhone is pumped out from the front. The only technical difference is that you charge the Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone 5 with a Micro USB cable instead of the usual Lightning connector. It’s worth noting that you cannot sync to iTunes with the USB cable, although you can sync an iPhone 5 wirelessly these days).
On the reverse of the case is a rocker switch so you can choose to charge the iPhone 5 or just hold the power in reserve. It also sports a button with four lights that you can press to get a charge status.
The case didn’t interfere with call or data function, although there’s no getting away from the fact that it bulks out the iPhone 5. With the Mophie Juice Pack Air attached the iPhone 5 is roughly twice as thick, and sports a considerable jaw at the bottom. The Mophie Juice Pack Air dimensions are 6.6cm x 1.52cm x 0.63 in and it weighs in at 76grams.
It doubles the width of the iPhone 5 from 76mm to 152mm and takes the weight of the phone from 112grams to 188grams. We didn’t find it unwieldy though, and the extra weight didn’t seem much of an issue. Probably because the iPhone 5 is especially lightweight to begin with. Still: it’s a direct trade-off between form and function.
How much extra power you get from the Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone 5
The case is essentially a large battery and we found that when it was attached to an iPhone 5 it charged up an iPhone from flat to 85%. This offers a lot of extra time to use the device. We ran a fully charged up iPhone 5 with a fully charged up Mophie Juice Pack Air for a whopping 38 hours and 35 minutes. This was in normal usage for us (e-mail, web use, apps and playing music).
It’s enough to see you happy on any long-haul journey, but probably overkill for day-to-day use. However, as our Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone 5 test showed, there are certain activities that can drain an iPhone 5 pretty quickly. One of the biggest losses of battery life in an iPhone is when using the new Step-By-Step navigation function in Maps.
We tested out the Juice Pack Air on a road trip from London to Nottingham and the battery and found that the iPhone 5 alone ran out juice after 3 hours and 54 minutes. After charge we got another four hours of Sat-Nav usage from the iPhone 5. So you get roughly eight hours of Sat-Nav. The iPhone 5 only got us from London to Nottingham; the Mophie Juice Pack Air got us there and back again.
See also: iPhone case reviews