Some time ago I had the pleasure of visiting Edinburgh, Schotland for a week. Not a vacation though, as a lot of work needed to get done. For seven days I was constantly on the go (by bus, taxi and on foot) in a city I had never visited before. Suffice to say, I relied heavily on my iPhone 5 and the Google Maps application. On the whole, it was a very smooth experience. Google Maps was extremely useful, especially with its extensive transit directions, while the iPhone 5′s GPS almost always managed to pinpoint my location without flaw.
The only issue was battery life. As much as Apple likes to tout that their iDevices get better battery life with every new iteration, you can’t really get to the end of the day with them. At least not with 3G and GPS turned on and screen brightness pumped to max. With my Edinburgh experience behind me, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the new Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 5.
Mophie is to battery packs as Coca-Cola is to fizzy drinks. They’ve been at this for while now and really know their stuff. The concept is simple. Just slide your iPhone into the Juice Pack and when your battery is about to run out, just flip a switch and you’ve got another full charge ready to go. The Air is a bit more expensive than the Helium, the other iPhone 5 compatible battery pack Mophie offers. The additional expense gives you more battery capacity (100% instead of 80%) and actual buttons on the sides of the device instead of mere cutouts.
The Juice Pack naturally adds bulk to the svelte iPhone 5 but not so much as to become a hindrance. Apple’s flagship phone is by nature so thin and light that even with the Juice Pack attached, it feels as light or lighter in my hand as my old iPhone 3GS.
If there are any downsides to the Juice Pack, they’re minor. The battery case does cause the headphone jack to become recessed (much like the original iPhone) but Mophie offers an extender cable to remedy that problem. Standard Apple earbuds, including the latest version (which really are much improved from what Apple used to include with their devices), should pose no trouble.
Finally there’s the issue of Lightning. Apple’s introduction of the new connector standard has caused no end of trouble. From expensive converters to delayed accesories, Lightning has a long way to go before being as reliable as the old 30-pin connector. When it comes to the Juice Pack, it does slot into the iPhone 5′s Lightning port just fine but it uses a mini-USB cable to charge. That means you can’t sync and charge your phone at the same time. While iTunes Wi-Fi sync does somewhat alleviate this issue, I’ve personally found that syncing method to be less than reliable. All in all though, removing the Juice Pack to sync the old-fashioned way is only a minor nuisance.
At just under a 100 $/€ I can’t recommend the Mophie Juicie Pack any more. It’s certain to make using the iPhone on-the-go or extensively throughout the day a truly achievable experience.