There’s no hiding Gear Diary’s love of the Mophie Juice Pack Air. All the editors own one for their iPhones, and we just gave one away to a lucky Facebook friend.
There’s also no hiding the lackluster performance of the iPhone’s battery. For power users, like us, it’s often times impossible to get through a single day without having to “plug-in” at least once.
Anyone who knows me knows I have a love of cases for the iPhone. If there’s one single thing that bothers me about the Mophie Juice Pack air it’s the fact that it’s a case. Yeah, I know that’s supposed to be its most appealing feature but for a true case fanatic like me, someone who can’t be tied down to the same case every day, it presents a problem.
In my recent trip to NYC I decided to test some external batteries that aren’t cases to see if I could live with one instead of the Mophie.
Here are my thoughts on one of them, the Richard Solo rs1800.
The Richard Solo rs1800 is an 1800 mAh battery. The small box contains the battery itself, a retractable USB charging cable along with a home and auto adapter.
You also receive two support brackets that can be optionally used when you have the batter connected.
The instructions suggest to first charge the rs1800 for 8 hours. Subsequent charges thereafter take only five hours. While charging the rs1800’s LED blinks steadily red and then glows solid green when charging is complete.
Although they obviously look quite different, the major difference between the rs1800 and the Mophie Juice Pack Air is actually how you go about charging with each.
With the Mophie I normally used my iPhone on it’s own battery until it ran down to around 20% remaining. At which point I’d flip on the switch of the Mophie and continue using my phone off the Mophie’s battery. The case like design of the Mophie allows this to be done quite easily.
Using your iPhone while charging with the rs1800 is not as easy. My strategy with the rs1800 is to recharge my iPhone with it for short periods whenever I feel the need and more importantly when I’m somewhere where I can put the phone down and leave it alone.
The rs1800 does have an on/off switch but that’s for some of the battery’s other functions (which I’ll discuss later.) It begins charging your phone as soon as it’s plugged in.
A blue LED indicates that the battery is charging your device.
The problem is the connection that’s made between the battery and the phone is a vertical, hard one. It can’t be twisted or separated in anyway. Richard Solo goes as far as to include a small bracket which is mean to help stabilize the connection.
The connection between the two devices is quite secure. So much so that you must depress two small buttons on the side of the rs1800 to release it from the phone.
While in NYC I stopped for lunch. At that point in the day my battery was around 60%. If I’d had the Mophie on it I wouldn’t have done anything. But since I had the rs1800 I plugged it in, tucked the combo safely in my coat and let my phone recharge while I ate. By the time lunch was over my iPhone’s battery was almost complete recharged.
I was able to do this two more times throughout the day and still had some power remaining in the rs1800.
The rs1800 seems to provide about 1 and 1/2 full recharges of a fully depleted iPhone’s battery.
We like to talk about convergence devices a lot here at Gear Diary and the rs1800 is one of those devices. Not only is the rs1800 a battery but it also features a bright LED flashlight and a laser pointer built into the battery. These functions are controlled by small, dimpled buttons on the face of the battery and must be activated via the on/off switch when needed.
Now it’s time to answer the question I know you all have been waiting for. Will I be carrying the rs1800 instead of the Mophie Juice Pack Air? The answer is yes.
True, it’s yet another thing to carry in my pockets but for a case freak like me the addition is worth it. And that’s what this really comes down to.
To make the choice for yourself you must first look at the Mophie and decide if you like it as a case first and battery second. If you’re okay with it being your primary case then it’s probably the right battery for you. However, if you like another case, or cases and prefer a thinner, sleeker phone than an external battery like the rs1800 might be better.
You’ll also need to evaluate how you go about recharging. Since it’s difficult to use the iPhone while it’s charging with the rs1800, the Mophie is better for people who are always on the go. If you’re at a desk or someone who can find time to stop and recharge your phone the rs1800 will work for you. The rs1800 just requires a little more thought and planning when it comes to charging but in exchange you get a solution which allows you to keep a slimmer phone, in a case of you choosing.
The Richard Solo rs1800 can be ordered directly from the manufacturer’s web site by clicking here.
M.S.R.P. – $69.95
What I like - external battery that allows you to use your own case, or no case. Includes flashlight and laser pointer. Comes with multiple recharging options.
What I don’t like - difficult to use the phone while charging with the battery.