By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
As the iPhone gains more features and apps that conveniently make it a communications device, handheld computer, still and video camera and game console; the one aspect that will take a hit is battery life. Having a sealed-in (read: non-user replaceable) battery, means that intrepid iPhone users will need to consider either an external battery or an integrated battery case. Mophie's Juice Pack Air for the iPhone 4 is a lightweight, elegant and smart solution which doubles battery life without adding much bulk.
Apple reportedly refuses to sell slide-in type cases for the iPhone 4 because of the possibility of these cases scratching or cracking the phone's glass case. Mophie's Juice Pack Air ($79.95) is, unfortunately, one such case so that means you'll have to buy yours online or through a store like Best Buy or Future Shop since it is doubtful that you'll find this in the Apple Retail Stores.
This well constructed, surprisingly lightweight case allows you to slide the iPhone 4 in and completely protects the back and the corners of the phone while leaving most of the ports open and free (the dock connector, however gets taken over since it is needed for the charging function but you do get a MicroUSB port-to-USB for syncing and charging).
Offering twice the power on a full charge, the Mophie Juice Pack Air enables the following;
- Up to an additional 6 hours on 3G, up to 12 hours on 2G, of Talk Time
- Up to an additional 36 hours of Audio Playback
- Up to an additional 9 hours Video Playback
The way it works is that once you're iPhone's battery drains to about 20 per cent of its capacity, you flip the switch and the Mophie begins charging it back to 100 per cent. If you plug them both in, your iPhone battery charges first before the Mophie's reserve get's filled.
The Mophie Juice Pack Air also features a charge indicator so you can see how much juice is left on the battery which is convenient.
We got to test the device during CES 2011 where our iPhone 4 was our primary communications, Internet, e-mail, Twitter and location service device. The usual 12-hour day would have depleted the iPhone 4's battery specially since we had Wi-Fi on the whole time but the Mophie Air Juice Pack gave us lots of extra power to spare.
When traveling on planes and watching video or playing marathon bouts of Angry Birds, you need all the power you can get (specially since very few planes offer power outlets or USB ports) and this is where Mophie really shines.
Users who rely on their iPhone 4's for more than just occasional calls, who use a lot of apps or who check Twitter and Facebook feeds constantly will find that this case plus battery combo might be the right solution. Hardcore users who want even longer battery life between charges can check out Mophie's Juice Pack Plus ($99.00) which is bulkier but offers the following capacity upgrades.
- Up to 8 add'l hours talk time on 3G; 16 hours 2G
- Up to 7 add'l hours internet on 3G; 11 hours WiFi
- Up to 44 add'l hrs audio playback
- Up to 11 add'l hrs video playback
Rating: 5 out of 5