Since the iPhone 3G was released nearly a year ago, adding the all important 3G connectivity to speed up the previously sluggish mobile internet connection that the handset offered, it’s been virtually untouchable. Though it lacks an FM radio, a decent camera and the ability to send MMS picture messages, in every other respect the iPhone has proven to be the smart phone to beat. Others have attempted to emulate its brilliant multi-touch sensitive screen and failed, and there is no other mobile platform with so much third party software support. This is thanks to the App store which has allowed virtually every kind of program imaginable to be created and made available to the iPhone owning world. With all of this functionality packed in, and the temptation amongst owners to use their iPhone contstantly, the battery life in the short and long term for iPhones hasn’t been too peachy. There have been a number of third party solutions to this problem, but the Juice Pack Air from Mophie aims to be both the most attractive and the best at its job. With the ‘air’ suffix borrowed from Apple’s other light weight electronics, does the Juice Pack Air live up to the hype?
On paper, the Juice Pack Air seems worthy of its name. It is officially the slimmest and lightest of all of the other battery boosting products available for the iPhone. It is both a battery enhancer and a protective case for your iPhone which swaddles the already beautiful device in shiny black plastic. This could run the risk of spoiling the look and feel of the iPhone, but thankfully the Juice Pack Air is well designed and doesn’t distract too much from the iPhone’s good looks. It also provides easy access to most of the external controls like the volume rocker without impediment. However, the mini docking port is compromised so there’s no way you’ll be able to connect this to something that uses this port like an iPhone speaker set without first taking the Juice Pack Air off. Whilst this isn’t the end of the world it does hinder what is an otherwise well designed and thought out product.
Now to the main function of the Juice Pack Air: the increased battery life. Most battery enhancers claim that they will add x amount of talk time, web surfing time and gaming time to the iPhone, and the Juice Pack Air is very much the same. Mophie claim that up to 9 hours of 2G talk time or around 20 hours of media playback will be enabled on the iPhone with their extended battery life, though how this will translate into every day use will depend on the individual. However, as a rule expect that the Juice Pack Air will add at least a day to someone who uses their iPhone on a regular basis to make calls, use applications and make the most of its media capabilities and mobile internet connectivity. In order to tell how much battery you have left in the Juice Pack Air there are four brightly lit LEDs located on the rear of the device which give a reading on the touch of a button, and whilst this isn’t the most high-tech of solutions it does give a bit of a Sci-Fi feel to the Juice Pack Air.
Overall the Juice Pack Air isn’t going to be the right product for every iPhone owner, though this is not the fault of the device itself. If you are someone who uses their iPhone intensively, whether it’s for 3G voice calling, application and media playback or surfing the internet via Wi-Fi then the Juice Pack Air will give you added piece of mind and added use time without needing a recharge. The case itself does integrate as seamlessly as possible with the iPhone, though the slight increase in size may put some people off. For those people who already have a protective case but are interested in the Juice Pack Air, be aware that this will have to replace these previous purchases as it fits flush over the standard iPhone 3G casing.
However, the protective merits of the Juice Pack Air are at least equal to most other iPhone cases out there, and of course there’s the bonus of the increased battery life to boot. Before you commit to a purchase of the Juice Pack Air, consider your own levels of usage and battery drain on the iPhone. The Juice Pack Air will set you back a modest sum depending on where you shop online, and its benefits will be best felt by a power user who feels their iPhone needs a shot in the arm from time to time