Review: Mophie Juice Pack Plus External Battery Case for iPhone 5/5s

When we were roaming around Las Vegas all day for CES 2014 a few weeks ago, we couldn’t have enough battery packs to keep our phones charged. Before the trip I picked up the  Mophie Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 5/5s and put it through its paces at CES. Read on to see if the Mophie is the last battery pack you’ll need for your iPhone.

Design:

The Mophie is a two part case that snugly fits together to provide additional power when you need it as well as providing scratch and some drop protection. The larger section of the case is the 2100mAh battery and the smaller portion is the charging circuit and controls for turning on the Mophie.

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The Mophie itself uses a micro USB for charging and will charge both the Mophie and iPhone when its plugged in. While this is a great feature, if you’re trying to use any lighting accessories, you will have to take off the smaller portion of the case to get access to the lighting port. Due to the thickness of the bottom section, a headphone adapter is included because it would be virtually impossible to use fit any headphones without this adapter.

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When you hold the Mophie in your hand you can tell it is a significant case, but the back edges are rounded to make it seem smaller. Being someone that usually doesn’t use a case or has a thin shell case, the additional size from this case is very noticeable. If you are coming from a larger case such as an Otterbox then this might not be as much of an issue for you.

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Build Quality/Performance:

The Mophie is a definitely a solid feeling case which is not surprising considering how big the battery pack is.  I definitely see the Mophie being able to withstand several moderate drops without causing damage to the case or the phone.

Now the big question… does it live up to its claim to provide 120% extra battery to the iPhone 5? Considering the Mophie is rated at 2100mAh and an iPhone 5 battery is only about 1440mAh i figured the 120% claim was accurate. That was unfortunately not the case. I was surprised to find that the case was only able to take my phone from 1% to about 86% before it stopped charging. I read the FAQs on Mophie’s website and found they recommend you use the  Mophie when the iPhone battery is ~20% for the most battery boost. I tried this and barely got to 100% with not much power left in the Mophie. No matter what I did, this Mophie only provided about 85% battery boost to my iPhone 5 which is significantly less than the advertised capacity  of 120%. 

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I did notice that while the Mophie was charging the iPhone’s battery, the small section of the case did get very warm. This leads me to believe that the charging circuit is extremely inefficient by design and a significant portion of the 2100mAh is lost as heat in this charging circuit. Mophie’s claims might be exaggerated based on the theoretical capacity of the battery and not the actual energy transferred to the iPhone which is poor marketing and false advertising.

Wrap-up:

Do I suggest you go out and buy this Mophie case? Nope. In fact I have already returned my Mophie and got my money back. Considering the retail price of the Mophie is $120, there are definitely much better battery cases out there for far less money with more features such as Qi Inductive charging. When you buy this case from Mophie, you are just paying for the name and a product that does not live up to its claims.