I truly wish smartphone battery technology would improve to the point that companies like mophie would not be needed. Unfortunately for us- and fortunately for companies like mophie- I don’t see that happening any time soon. That’s why there is a huge potential market for the new mophie juice pack helium. The mophie juice pack helium is 13% thinner than any of the company’s previous iPhone battery cases and adds 1500mAh of additional battery to the current generation power-sucking iPhone. The company was kind enough to send one for review. Let’s take a look and see if this $79.95 battery case is worth the price of admission.
The most important thing about an external battery is the extra charge it offers. After all, great design is nice, but if an external battery doesn’t keep you up and running what good is it? On this front the mophie juice pack helium delivers.
The mophie juice pack helium will give you up to additional 6 hours of additional talk time on 3G. When it comes to internet connectivity it provides up to 6 hours additional on 3G, up to 6 extra hours on LTE and up to 7 hours more if you are on WiFi. Video playback will also be boosted by 7 hours and if you are looking to enjoy your music you will see up to 30 extra hours! That is impressive for a battery case the adds just 2.44 ounces to the iPhone 5. And while some may wish mophie had squeezed an even bigger battery into the case I think the company did a decent job of balancing battery capacity and weight.
The mophie juice pack helium for iPhone 5 comes with the battery case, a microUSB charging cable, a 3.5mm headphone adapter (more on that shortly) and a user manual.
The 3.5mm headphone adapter is important because, unlike other previous products from mophie, the mophie juice pack helium offers a simple pass through to the bottom 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 5. That means anything but the smallest, thinnest 3.5mm plug will get stuck short of the actual phone.
Honestly, for an iPhone accessory that proudly speaks of six years of development and nine generations of iOS battery cases it is a clumsy and annoying design. I certainly get the need for such an adapter on something like a Lifeproof case, after all the case needs to be watertight, there is no reason mophie could not have found a different approach. The need to carry the adapter is problematic at best. The loss of functionality
if when you lose the adapter is even more of an issue. Honestly I don’t understand what the company was thinking.
The mophie juice pack helium is a two-piece slider case. The top portion makes up the bulk of the case. An inner lining of soft material protects your iPhone as you put it in or remove it.
The bottom portion, the smaller of the two parts, houses the electronics and the lightning connector. I do love the fact that, when using the case, all you need is a microUSB cable to charge both the phone and battery. Considering the fact that microUSB is pretty much the standard these days, and the fact that Apple overcharges for their lightning cables, this is a great “extra”. The case also offers the non-electronic “enhanced forward-ported acoustics”. These ports redirect the iPhone’s audio towards you rather than letting the audio “shoot” downward.
On the back of the lower portion are the controls. The small toggle on the right turns the battery on and off. The button on the left activates the four LEDs and displays the current battery reserve in the mophie juice pack helium for iPhone 5.
The two portions fit together rather well. It is an easy-to-use design that is intended to serve as a battery and a protective case in one.
The iPhone 5 slips into the mophie juice pack helium with ease. The fit it tight but not overly so and, unlike some battery case I have used with previous iPhones, removing the iPhone is easy as well.
And yes, as mophie promises, the mophie juice pack helium is thin.
I have to admit that considering how well the mophie juice pack helium fits together overall, the small gap between the top of the iPhone and the case surprised me. And not in a good way.
The mophie juice pack helium with my father-in-law’s iPhone 5 in place.
mophie juice pack helium with my father-in-law’s iPhone 5 in place from the front. (I didn’t want to remove the side protection I have installed on my scratch-prone iPhone 5.)
The mophie juice pack helium looks and feels like any standard slider case. It is, however, a nicely designed slider case. One example of the smart design can be seen in the way mophie made the mute toggle and volume buttons accessible despite the thickness of the case. Little touches like that make the entire package a little bit nicer!
The mophie juice pack helium for iPhone 5 is thin, light and almost doubles your iPhone 5’s battery life. All that is true. I’m not, however, blown away by it. I like the case but I don’t love the need to use a headphone adapter with almost all headphones. (I tried my four favorite pair of headphones and they all required the adapter). And I don’t love the gap between the top of the phone and the case. It just looks a bit unfinished. And finally, I don’t love the fact that the mophie juice pack helium is “device specific”. Sure, if you only worry about your iPhone making it through the day the battery case is your best option at this time but if you use a Bluetooth headset, or a Livescribe smartpen, or a smart watch or any other device that also needs power, a flexible, non-case, external battery is going to be a far better bet. It comes down to your specific needs and, despite all my criticisms, if your need only relates to your iPhone 5 and its charge the mophie juice pack helium is currently your best bet. You can learn more and order yours on the mophie website.
What I Like: Thin, light and protective; Adds 80% more power to your iPhone 5; Let’s you charge your iPhone with a microUSB cable instead of Apple’s proprietary nonsense
What Needs Improvement: Included headphone adapter required for use with most headphones; Slight gap at the top between the iPhone and the case; iPhone 5-specific
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample