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Mophie's Juice Pack Air is better than its Helium

Lex Friedman | March 1, 2013
They say that celebrity deaths come in threes. It appears that Mophie battery cases for the iPhone 5 come in twos. Just a couple weeks after releasing the Juice Pack Helium --the company's first battery case for the iPhone 5--Mophie has unveiled its second: the $100 Juice Pack Air.

They say that celebrity deaths come in threes. It appears that Mophie battery cases for the iPhone 5 come in twos. Just a couple weeks after releasing the Juice Pack Helium --the company's first battery case for the iPhone 5--Mophie has unveiled its second: the $100 Juice Pack Air.

First, let's clear up a little Mophie-caused confusion: While the company made a Juice Pack Air model for the iPhone 4/4S (3.5 out of 5 rating), the new Juice Pack Air is much more similar to the company's Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 4/4S (4.5 out of 5 rating). Put another way: The new Juice Pack Helium feels like an update to the old Juice Pack Air; the new Juice Pack Air seems like a new spin on the old Juice Pack Plus.

(A Mophie spokesperson told Macworld that customers who recently purchased a Juice Pack Helium but would prefer the higher battery capacity and improved design of the Juice Pack Air can return the Helium and purchase the Air. We've asked the company if customers will have to pay the return shipping; we're waiting for a response. However, some customers have reported that for Helium orders that haven't yet shipped, Mophie will change the order to the Juice Pack Air for the $20 price difference.)

Still with me?

The new Juice Pack Air is a 1700 milliamp-hour (mAh) battery case for the iPhone 5 (compared to 1500mAh for the $80 Juice Pack Helium), available in three colors: black, white, and (Product) Red. I reviewed the black model, though I lust after the red--in photos, at least, it looks really sharp.

Like the Helium, the new Juice Pack Air is split into two pieces. The smaller piece plugs into your iPhone 5's Lightning port, while the longer piece covers the rest of your iPhone. Two tiny pins in the lower portion of the case connect it to the battery housed in the larger piece.

The Juice Pack Air weighs 2.7 ounces and measures roughly 5.5 inches tall, 2.6 inches wide, and 0.6 inches thick. As those measurements should indicate, the case does add a noticeable amount of bulk to the iPhone 5: A Juice Pack Air-clad iPhone 5 is nearly 0.7 inch taller than, and twice as thick as, the bare iPhone. Still, while Mophie praised the Juice Pack Helium for that case's slim profile, the Air isn't much larger. The biggest size difference is that the Air is just over 0.1 inches wider, and even there the difference is barely noticeable.

But with that slightly bigger size comes serious battery power. Mophie says that the Air's battery should add up to an additional eight hours of talk time; eight hours of 3G or LTE Internet use; or ten hours of Wi-Fi internet use. That's two to three more hours than the Helium offers.

 

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