When the iPhone 5 arrived, it was a welcome change. After two years using the iPhone 4’s design, the iPhone 5 was both new and familiar at the same time. The new phone was thinner, longer and lighter. It also sported the new Lightning connector. Unfortunately, the new design meant that any accessories that were “form-fitting” and either wrapped around the phone or relied upon the now-obsolete 30-pin connector were of no use.
Among the accessories that were now unusable were docks with a 30-pin connection (unless an adapter was used), all iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S cases, and my mophie juice pack and mophie juice pack air cases. These were the iPhone cases that had seen us through CES 2011 and CES 2012, and suddenly they were obsolete. Fortunately mophie was ready with a new line of battery cases.
The first new battery case mophie shipped was the mophie juice pack helium. 13% thinner than any of mophie’s previous iPhone juice packs, its 1500mAh battery offered an extra 80% battery life. (Read our review.)
Just a month later the company announced and subsequently shipped the mophie juice pack air for iPhone 5. It packed a 1700mAh battery into a similar shell and offered to fully doubled the iPhone 5’s battery life. (Read our review.)
The company wasn’t done yet. In May they announced the mophie juice pack plus. They were kind enough to send one to Judie, and I stole it when she was in last week. [Dan seems to do that to me quite a lot! – Judie]
This new battery case has the same design as its smaller-capacity siblings.
It is the tiniest bit larger in all dimensions. It isn’t something you can easily see but the numbers don’t lie. The juice pack helium is 2.49″ x 5.49″ x 0.59″. The juice pack air is 2.60″ x 5.54″ x 0.63″. And the new juice pack plus is 2.63″ x 5.60″ x 0.70″
The new battery case is also a tiny bit heavier. That’s no surprise, since it ups the size of the battery from the juice pack helium’s 1500 mAh and the juice pack air’s 1700 mAh to a generous 2100mAh. The juice pack helium is 2.44 oz while the juice pack air a bit heavier at 2.68 oz. The new juice pack plus is a bit heavier yet at 3.14 oz. The differences are small, but if you hold one of the lighter cases in one hand and the plus in the other, it is noticeable.
It will come as no surprise that the mophie juice pack plus employs the same design approach as its siblings. That means the case hugs the iPhone while still allowing access to the sleep/awake button, volume up and down and mute toggle.
The battery case also has the same passthroughs for the microphone and speaker, and it offers just enough lay-on-the-table protection.
As was the situation when we reviewed the first two mophie batteries for the iPhone 5, the design of this accessory is excellent. Judie and I have always had good experiences using mophie’s products, and I can see no reason why that wouldn’t hold true here as well. They not only work well, but they hold up well over time. I also appreciate the LED indicator lights that let you see just how much charge is left.
Unfortunately, like its siblings this case also requires a pass-through audio jack cable for any headphones whose 3.5mm plug is wider than those used by Apple on their ear pods. This annoys me to no end. I’ll admit this is more a theoretical issue than a practical one — after all I use Bluetooth headphones and speakers much of the time, and most of my actual music listening through wired headphones is done using my iPod touch, iPad mini or iPod nano — but still, the fact that you need an adapter for most wired headphones bugs me. Were there a permanent way of having the 3.5mm post flush with the bottom of the juice pack plus the battery would be close to perfect.
The juice pack pro adds thickness and weight to the iPhone 5, but it is not too thick or too heavy. More than that, the juice pack pro is comfortable to hold. While I’m not sure I want to use this all day every day, I certainly see using it while traveling or starting a day I know will run 16 hours.
The mophie juice pack pro is the largest capacity battery of the three juice packs mophie has released for the iPhone 5. It is a bit thicker and heavier, but it also more than doubles the run-time of the smartphone. It is also, unsurprisingly, the most expensive of the three. Still, if you are looking for a battery case mophie’s are the best on the market. And if you are looking for a mophie battery case, then I recommend getting the juice pack pro. After all, if you are looking for a battery case, why not go for the one that offers the most juice. You can’t go wrong with any of the three, but the pro is going to serve you best. Check out all three here on the mophie website.
What I Like: More than doubles your iPhone ‘s battery life; Feels great to hold; Indicator lights let you know how much juice the juice pack pro has
What Needs Improvement: Heaviest of the three cases; Includes an audio adapter that will be rehired for headphones with anything larger than the 3.5mm jack on Apple’s ear pods
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample