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Accessory Review: Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 3G/3GS

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Most of you may have heard of Mophie, the maker of the amazing Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. You can check out my review of the Juice Pack 3G here. Well today I have the newest member to the Juice Pack family, the Mophie Juice Pack Air.

Juice Pack Air by Mophie
The Good Stuff

The Juice Pack Air, like its predecessor the Juice Pack, is a portable battery pack for the iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS. The Juice Pack Air however is extremely light, as in much less weight than the original, and also doubles as a protective case. The case provides full body protection for the back, top, bottom, and sides of the iPhone while allowing access to the headphone jack, volume buttons, camera, mic/speaker, and sleep/wake button.

The back of the Juice Pack Air also includes a very easy to understand battery life indicator. One push of a button lights up four blue LED’s and the fewer LED’s, the less the battery life. The extra feature on the Juice Pack Air that the original Juice Pack does not have is an on/off switch. So this is partly where the case feature comes into use.

If the Juice Pack Air is fully charged, you can use it as just a case until your iPhone needs a charge. At that time, you simply flip the switch and the Juice Pack Air begins charging the iPhone. At any time, you can turn the switch off and the battery will stop charging.

The Juice Pack Air battery performance specifications are listed below:

iPhone 3GS

  • Standby Time: Up to 270 hours
  • Talk Time: Up to 4.5 hours on 3G | Up to 10 hours on 2G
  • Internet Use: Up to 4.5 hours on 3G | Up to 8 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Audio Playback: Up to 27 hours
  • Video Playback: Up to 9 hours

iPhone 3G

  • Standby Time: Up to 270 hours
  • Talk Time: Up to 4.5 hours on 3G | Up to 9 hours on 2G
  • Internet Use: Up to 4.5 hours on 3G | Up to 5.4 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Audio Playback: Up to 20 hours
  • Video Playback: Up to 6 hours
The Unfortunate Stuff

While the original Juice Pack was an amazing product, the Juice Pack Air is just loaded with flaws. For such a thin and light-weight battery pack, the Juice Pack Air had a lot going for it, but in the end, it seems to me that the product was rushed out the door before the polish could be put on.

To begin, the Juice Pack Air is made of plastic and while not all plastic is bad, this plastic, what ever it is, just feels so cheap. For a product that is $80, I expected more.

Secondly, the casing is absolutely riddled with gaps. There are places in the plastic where the casing is clearly supposed to be fused together and yet there are gaps and misalignment between plastic ends. While the gaps are small, for a product of this caliber there should not be any gaps at all. It gives the user of the battery pack/case the impression that the product is defective.

Third, once you put your iPhone into the Juice Pack Air, the only way I was able to get it out was by pushing down on my screen, thus making those LCD screen ripples (clearly not good), and sliding the phone out. Call me picky, but a device should NOT be that hard to take out of a case.

The last thing that I am just baffled by is the departure from mini-USB to micro-USB between product lines. Mini-USB is much more accessible and easier to come by. Moreover, the charging port is slightly bent up and leftwards, as in not exactly straight, which again leads me to believe that the product was just rushed out the door.

Now it is possible that I may have received a lemon, but with this many flaws, I highly doubt it. In the end, I highly recommend against the Mophie Juice Pack Air. Comparing the good things about it with the bad, I simply cannot justify the $80 price tag.

With that being said, if are looking to get a battery pack, I HIGHLY recommend the original Mophie Juice Pack. The original is still by far the superior product and it is only $20 more, which is not much more to spend when you are already planning to spend $80.

Now just to be clear, I am only disappointed with the Juice Pack Air and not Mophie as a company. I am just very surprised that a product like the Juice Pack Air got through Mophie’s quality control when compared to a top-notch product like the original Juice Pack.

If you really want the Juice Pack Air, you can pick it up in 3 different colors (white, black, purple) from the Mophie Online Store for $79.95, but I highly recommend you pass and instead go for the original Mophie Juice Pack for $99.95.

If you want more information on the original Juice Pack, check out my review here.

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