Smartphone Reviews

Mophie Juice Pack Helium Review: Power Gets Thin

10% of battery remaining. Dismiss. These are the last things I will do on my night out before losing track of my friends, losing the ability to record fun moments and generally losing my grip on the digital world and its intersection with the real one, all because my battery ran out. If only there was a case I could put on my phone that would protect it and charge it. If any of this sounds like you, you need the new Mophie Juice Pack Helium.

Editor’s Note: it’s by no means a “new” product, but it has recently been re-introduced to the Australian market, so we took a look.

What Is It?

Mophie make charging accessories to keep us juiced throughout the day. The JuicePack Helium is the latest in a long line of iPhone charger cases, but this one is slimmer and packed with charge.

It clips onto any iPhone with a Lightning connector and when switched on it provides an additional 1500mAh of charge. For perspective, your iPhone 5s packs a 1560mAh battery.

What’s Good?

It does exactly what it says on the tin with no fuss.

Charge it up, plug it in and flick the switch at the back to activate the flow of power from your now slim case. Done.

It’s nice to see that Mophie knows that cases shouldn’t be enormous, and did a lot of work to thin the case down without sacrificing functionality or battery capacity.

It’s also good to hold, almost replicating the curve we miss so much from the iPhone 3GS. Mophie has also replicated a fun feature from the old MacBooks that let you press a button to see just how much power you had left represented as small LED lights. Nifty.

This Is Weird

The case won’t charge using a traditional Apple charger like a 30-Pin or a Lightning connector: you’ll have to use microUSB. There’s a tiny one included in the box if you’ve never owned an Android phone in your life. It just felt weird to me plugging a microUSB cable into my iPhone for a change.

Also, it doesn’t work with the iPhone 5c. You were warned, 5c-ers.

What’s Bad?

Saying that this is like plugging another battery into your iPhone is a bit of a misnomer, in my book. It’s a big battery to be sure, but it’s used to charge your existing battery, rather than replace it (because the iPhone doesn’t have a replaceable battery). We found that despite it having a higher capacity than our iPhone battery, it still couldn’t get it up to 100 per cent charge when down at say less than 10 per cent at the commencement of charging.

Having said that, it’s still a lifesaver: I stayed at my girlfriend’s place and realised I had forgot my charger. With a morning full of meetings between me and my desk, I thought I faced isolation from my digital life, but flicking the Juice Pack Helium on meant that I could keep on keeping on until I got to the office. Handy!

The only other real concern is that you’re walking around not just with a case on your phone (which is ugly enough to start with), but you’re walking around with a case that almost makes your iPhone look like you’ve sandwiched another one on top of it. It’s a little ugly for anti-casers like me, but the benefits outweigh the ugly.

Should You Buy It?

It all depends on how much you value your power.

You might think that $90 is a bit expensive for a case, but if you really use your noggin, you’ll realise that the benefit of both protecting your phone and charging it when you’re in a pickle is definitely worth it.

The alternative is buying an external battery pack, which is clunkier and means you have to always carry a cable around. Plus, you’ll end up spending between $70 and $100 on one of those, anyway, so the Juice Pack Helium really is great value.

I heartily recommend this to any power users short on power.

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