My first observation about the Mophie juice pack air iPhone 5 case was that it makes the normally super-slim and lightweight phone a lot bulkier (5.5×2.6×0.6in), and heavier (76g on top of the phone’s 112g) giving the phone a smooth rounded back like the old iPhone 3. This means I wouldn’t personally use it on a day to day basis as the size and weight are two of my favourite aspects of the new phone model.
However, the case would come in very handy whenever travelling, as this is when I am constantly using my phone and could use the added charge. It may also help avoid that nagging fear of losing charge when you are using the boarding pass on your phone. There is also a helium version of the case which weighs less at 69g and comes in slightly cheaper at £69.95.
The case comes in two sections and the phone slides in before clicking the bottom section into place. This section has a ‘lightning’ input for the charging port on the phone. You can then charge both the phone and the juice pack (1700mAh of battery power) together using the provided USB cable. On the back there is an LED charge indicator and a switch, allowing the juice pack to be switched on or left on standby, according to charge levels.
There is also a flexible headphone jack extender cable included. This protrudes quite a bit from the bottom of the phone when plugged in and is easily losable, although you can plug headphones in normally.
The optimal way to use the pack is to let the battery run down by keeping the switch on the back to red (standby) and then switching it on when power levels reach around 20 per cent. The pack will then start charging the phone back up until it runs out of charge, at which stage you will revert to the iPhone’s power. The iPhone reacts to the pack being switched on as it would when plugging the charger in normally, displaying a battery symbol and vibrating once.
I would normally be running low by the end of the work day if I am using the phone often. It took about a full working day to charge both the phone and the case to full using the USB from a PC, however the USB can be plugged in to the iPhone plug if you want to charge from the mains. This level of charge got me through an entire weekend away without plugging in again, an absolute impossibility normally.
The case claims “complete protection from top to bottom” but I wasn’t at liberty to start throwing my iPhone around to test it, so we will have to take Mophie’s word for it. The case doesn’t feel particularly robust but will certainly absorb any impact to the phone. My case was white and branding is kept subtle, with Mophie engraved on the bottom. The case also comes in black and metallic red versions. Mophie also sells a heavy duty splash and impact resistant version called the juice pack pro.
PROS Doubles the battery life
CONS Chunky and heavy