Don’t you just hate it when you get to where you’re going and you realise that you’ve forgotten to charge your phone and you really need to make a call, send a message or (in the case of our driving) need the GPS to find out which city you’ve accidentally located yourself in this time. What is a person to do? There are a couple of solutions, like tapping into the Eskom electricity grid from the side of the road using a transformer made from old takeaway boxes (do NOT try this at home) to buying a whole new phone to sort out the issue. Or you could have wrapped your iPhone, in this case, with one of Mophie’s battery pack covers and switched over to reserve power, which is the more elegant solution overall.
We got our hands on several of Mophie’s battery sleeves and the first that we’re going to be examining is also the lightest of the bunch – the Mophie Juice Pack Helium. Get it? Because it’s lighter than Air? Forget it, we’re never going to get a stupid pun to work here but the Helium weighs in at around 70 grams, which isn’t a bad addition to the iPhone 5 or 5s’112 grams or so when you consider that you’re slapping another 1,500mAh battery onto the back of the phone. Without increasing its size all that much, even if you’re adding more than half the weight. The prices we pay for power…
That extended battery, which can be switched to by just flicking a switch at the back of the casing (or just left running to augment your phone’s normal battery life), is enough to give you anything between five and seven hours of extra up-time without charging for the wall socket though. Intensive media use will knock it down a little but to really zap the charge you’re going to need to be spending a lot of time online. If you’re doing the GPS thing, the Helium has enough juice to last you around half of a cross-country trip.
For a wicked bit of tech, there are fewer moving parts than we’re used to. Something that beeps, boops or has some sort of touchscreen is more normal when doing a review so we had to resort to just clipping the sturdy plastic shell, which has ports for headphones and the iPhone 5 camera as well as its own charging port (not Lightning, so you can repurpose an Android cable), to the phone and seeing what happens. And what happens is that an iPhone turns into the Thing That Would Not Die. For a few hours anyway.
Connecting the Juice Pack to an iPhone can either be as simple as dropping the phone itself (not recommended) or surprisingly tough. The hard casing slips over the top of the phone and the base section, which has the Lightning port you need for the iPhone to suck power out of the shell like a cellular vampire, completes the job. The two pieces will either slide right in and stay fitted until you decide to manually disconnect them, as was the case with the Helium, or it might take a bit of aligning before the connection is compliant – something we’ve seen with older Mophie cases. Once everything is in place, there’s an LED indicator (yay, lights!) at the base on the rear that will let you know how much charge the case has and whether it’s charging correctly. Simple, really.
You’re going to forget to charge the Mophie at some point. If you’re really not keen on deconstruction, you can charge the phone and the case at the same time and that’s something pleasant. Being the Helium model, you’re not sticking a whole lot of extra weight in your pocket and you’re adding more battery life AND some exterior protection to your phone, all in one fell swoop. Which is exactly what you don’t want your iPhone 5s to do but the case should be helpful there. Do you need one of these? Perhaps not, but you don’t really need an iPhone either. They’re just handy to have around.