Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5 Review: Wherein Juicing Is A Good ThingS

There's no getting around the iPhone 5's abysmal battery life. It's by far the least desirable feature. Mophie hopes to change all that later this month when it starts shipping the helium juice pack, the first "Certified Battery Case Solution" for the iPhone 5. Awesome, right?

What Is It?

A case for your iPhone that promises to double your battery life.

Who's It For?

Do you become blind with rage when your iPhone 5 notifies you that the battery is low? If you do, then this is most likely for you.

Design

I certainly wouldn't call it sylphlike but you are getting an extra 1500 mAh of life, so there's that. That being said, the helium adds a significant bit of girth and an extra 0.62 inches in length.The soft touch finish is indeed soft to the touch but smudges easily. So do your best to clean those greasy fingers of yours.

Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5 Review: Wherein Juicing Is A Good ThingS

Using It

Simply place your iPhone 5 in this handy little battery case and flip the switch on the backside when you need a hit of power. When you don't, don't.

The included 3.5mm headphone extension is a nice touch considering the extra bulk in length will likely render most of your headphones useless when using the case, so try not to lose it. Apple's stock Earpods, however, work just fine with the case.

Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5 Review: Wherein Juicing Is A Good ThingS

Tapping the single button on the backside of the case will let you know how much power is in reserve based on how many of the four LEDs are illuminated.

The Best Part

Ugh. It's a battery case for your iPhone 5. How many times do I have to tell you this? Kidding. That extra backup battery comes in handy when you're out and about and nowhere near an outlet. That or you've left that pesky proprietary Lightning cable at home. And if you're prone to dropping your phone, you may not have to pay someone to fix it anymore.

Tragic Flaw

Bang for your buck. The impression of all-day safety is a tad diminished when looking at Mophie's non-case battery packs that are either cheaper or offer even more battery life than the $80 battery case. And it makes your iPhone 5 significantly larger in size, even though the helium is 13 percent thinner than previous models for the iPhone 4/S.

By comparison, the $100 external juice pack powerstation PRO and duo are only $20 more and have quadruple the capacity of the helium. Or there's the $60 2500 mAh juice pack powerstation mini.

This Is Weird...

The case itself doesn't allow for pass-through data sync, so if you don't already, you better start thinking about backing up and syncing over Wi-Fi if you decide to buy this.

Test Notes

  • When recharging the helium, the LEDs will shut off after 30 or so seconds, so don't jump to the conclusion that the pack isn't getting enough draw off of your laptop or an external USB port
  • You can simultaneously recharge both the iPhone 5 and the battery itself over microUSB
  • When charged to its maximum, Mophie says the helium provides up to 80 percent of your iPhone 5's depleted reserves but your mileage will vary. When the iPhone's battery was fully depleted, the helium brought it back to life and on up into the 70 percent range.
  • Should You Buy It?

    Why not? Actually, if you like the thinness of the iPhone 5 and don't want to add extra size to it, you probably won't like the helium. If that doesn't bother you, then go right ahead and fork over $80. It boils down to preference: Do you want a battery case or would you rather tote around a Lightning cable/power cube combo or an external battery plus cable? [Mophie]

    Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5

    • Talk Time: Up to additional 6 hours on 3G
    • Internet Use:
    Up to additional 6 hours on 3G
    Up to additional 6 hours on LTE
    Up to additional 7 hours on WiFi
    • Audio Playback: Up to 30 hours
    • Video Playback: Up to 7 hours

    Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5 Review: Wherein Juicing Is A Good ThingS Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5 Review: Wherein Juicing Is A Good ThingS Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5 Review: Wherein Juicing Is A Good ThingS