REVIEWED: Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 5S

It’s perfect for smartphone addicts, but this wraparound battery case for the iPhone needs a headphones adaptor

Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 5S

Price as reviewed: £89.95

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Pricey but perhaps the ultimate in subtlety and convenience, this wraparound iPhone case is ideal for those who drain their smartphone on a daily basis. Providing a 100% extra charge for an iPhone 5 or 5S, and about 65% to a Samsung S4, the Juice Pack Air is available in completely different Apple and Samsung-specific models (so choose carefully if purchasing).

Doubling the lifespan

Using it is easy; the 1700 mAh battery inside the Juice Pack Air funnels power to an iPhone as the latter runs down, essentially doubling the handset’s lifespan. However, it’s not clear how far down the case is, so calculating exactly how long you have battery power for is impossible.
Though the chance to keep a smartphone charged-up without the bother of attaching an external battery is the headline act, the Juice Pack Air has another neat trick. While the pack itself is recharged via a micro USB cable (using LEDs to indicate progress), it also automatically recharges the host smartphone, too. That applies to both the Samsung and the Apple iPhone version.

Earphones squeezed-out

The only downsides to the 1401x66x16mm Juice Pack Air are purely physical; using the soft, rounded case adds only 76g to the overall weight of a smartphone, but its presence means that some earphones (particularity those with L-shaped connectors) don’t have room to connect. The answer is to buy only earphones with slim, straight 3.5mm jacks, though if you’re going to wire-in your iPhone to an aux-in jack in, say, a car of hi-fi, be careful’ we have heard of some users suffering from fractures in the plastic casing from frequent un-casing.
Worse, there’s no audio pass-through cable/adaptor included in the pack. However, all other buttons on a Samsung or iPhone have clever integrated pass-through buttons.

Loose connection

Worse, a few days into our review we noticed that the connection between the case and an iPhone 5S occasionally loosened, leading to an audible bleeping noise as it reconnected then came away again.
Bargain-hunters should be able to find the ‘old’ Juice Pack Air for the iPhone 4 and 4S for around £60, though note that the battery only supplies around an 80% recharge.