With the recent release of the newest iPhone, many people are rushing to upgrade their phones to the latest and greatest Apple has to offer. But, if you are not sure you want the larger format that comes with an upgrade, or you are just happy with your current iPhone 5 but would like a little extra battery life, then take a look at the Mophie Juice Pack Helium battery case.
What is it?
For anyone not familiar with a battery case, it is a hard shell case that contains its own battery. You insert your iPhone into the case and as your iPhone’s own battery gets low, the battery in the case acts as a charger and refreshes the power to the phone. In most cases, you can get at least one full recharge of your phone. For anyone who can’t get through the day on a single charge or is a road warrior who may not be able to find a convenient electrical outlet during the day, a battery case is a “must have” accessory.
There is a wide variety of battery cases available and based on looks alone they often seem identical. There is also a wide range of prices for what seem to be the same items. But a battery case is one of those items that we feel can’t be judged on looks or price alone. When you consider that a poorly made case can ruin you iPhone, or worse, be a potential fire hazard, it pays to purchase one that has a reputation for quality. The Mophie Juice Pack Helium battery case is a well-made unit at a reasonable price from a name you can trust.
Lighter Than Air
Like its namesake, the Mophie Juice Pack Helium battery case is a lightweight, ultra-thin 1500mAh battery in a bright finish metal case and is available in a variety of colors. Mophie says this case is 13% thinner than any of their previous cases. The case provides ample protection from everyday knocks and drops and while it has the appropriate cut-outs for the camera and flash, power button and volume controls, it may take some getting used to, to navigate the additional depth that the case provides around these controls. The case also provides a slightly raised edge on the front of the phone to give some added protection against scratches to the screen.
The case is built in a two piece design with the bottom section of the case separating to allow the iPhone to be easily slid into the upper shell. The bottom, which contains the lightning connector, then slides onto the bottom and makes a firm connection to the top section and the iPhone itself. We found our iPhone 5s to be a perfect fit. There are no loose edges and the phone is secure without being overly tight. It is a bit of a struggle to get the bottom section off the phone but perhaps that will get easier over time. Thankfully, we don’t expect we’ll have to do that very often.
The case adds less than 1/8” around the top and sides of the iPhone and only slightly more than ½” inch on the bottom making the overall length of an iPhone 5s just under 5.5 inches, and increasing the depth of the phone by about 3/16”, (for those interested, the exact case measurements are 2.49 in x 5.49 in x 0.59 in. and weighs in at just 2.44 oz. We found that it still fit comfortably in our pocket and really didn’t seem to be any different, comfort wise, compared to not having the battery case on.
How Does It Work?
Once the iPhone is in the case, it kind of takes care of itself. On the back of the case is a switch to turn the battery power on and off. There are four LEDs to indicate the amount of charge in the case and a status button that, when pressed, lights up the LEDs according to the charge level left.
Mophie recommends that you leave the case in the off position until your iPhone battery gets to about 20%. At that point you can flip the switch on the back of the case and begin charging the phone. They also state that it takes more power to charge an iPhone beyond 80% and recommends shutting off the Mophie Juice Pack Helium battery at that point until the iPhone’s own battery gets low again. This method will provide the best usage of the battery case.
The Mophie Juice Pack Helium battery case supports “pass-through” charging. That means that you do not need to remove the iPhone from the case to charge both of them. We tested the pass-through charging by taking the iPhone with about a 30% charge in the battery case with about a 25% charge and plugging them in overnight. In the morning, both the phone and the case indicated 100% charge. It also has technology to ensure that the iPhone battery charges first and then the battery in the case. This is a real advantage in those situations where time is limited and it’s nice to know that your phone will be ready sooner.
Mophie says that the case supports pass-through charge and sync when connected to a computer but our initial tests didn’t prove successful in getting the iPhone to see iTunes or Photos.
What’s In the Box
The Mophie Juice Pack Helium battery case comes packed with a Micro USB charging cable and an adapter for the earphone jack, which you will find is now well recessed by the case. This seems like an accessory that can easily be lost and is one more thing to carry, and we would have liked to see this extension be integrated into the case as, perhaps, a built-in jack, but we appreciate that it is included so there are no surprises when you start to use the case.
The Mophie Juice Pack Helium battery case includes a one year warranty. It is available for the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c with a suggested retail price of $79.95 and is available directly from the Mophie web site, major retailers like Best Buy and Staples and, of course, Amazon.
The Bottom Line
Mophie has been in the accessory power business for a long time and has a well-earned reputation for quality. They have a full line of external power accessories and depending on your needs, you may find that one of their bigger (and more expensive) battery cases or external power options is more suited to your needs. We found the Mophie Juice Pack Helium battery case to be a perfect addition for anyone looking to extend the battery life of their iPhone without adding too much size, weight or expense to your current device. If you liked this article, please consider sharing it with your friends and leaving a comment below. Also, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook and “Follow Us” on Twitter.
Apple Tech Talker