Mophie’s Juice Pack line of battery cases have been around for years, having been the first battery case to be certified by Apple. Since then, the Juice Pack line has forked into a few different designs, with the primary ones being the regular Juice Pack and Juice Pack Air.
No matter how much efficiency and longevity Apple has tried to pack in (pardon the pun) to the iPhone, battery life is a common feature many users think about. In offering a footprint that aims to cover the places you spend the most time on any given day, Mophie figures it has enough bases covered to keep the device going throughout.
Mophie’s familiar battery case
The Juice Pack Air for the iPhone 7 Plus follows the same design principle of years past. It’s a thick case, albeit a little thinner and lighter than its regular counterpart, that includes a 2450mAh battery inside.
To accommodate the iPhone 7 Plus itself, the softer matte skin is smooth enough to allow the device to slide into place and nestle onto the Lightning port sticking out at the bottom. The case comes in two pieces, with the top fifth easily detaching with a little effort, and then clipping on again smoothly to encase the phone.
On the back are four LEDs to indicate the case’s own battery level. Pressing the nearby button lights them up, whereas holding it down triggers the battery to charge the phone. At the bottom is a microUSB port to charge the case, coupled with two grilles meant to allow sound from the speakers to filter through.
As in years past, the microUSB port has pass-through capability, meaning the iPhone’s battery would charge first before the Juice Pack Air does. Only after the phone is full does the case then get charged. Alternatively, you can charge the case on its own without the iPhone in it.
This includes wireless charging. The case supports the Qi standard, which is the most commonly used, but is not an official industry standard because of a competing standard called AirFuel Alliance. This case won’t support any charging pads or surfaces that solely use it. It works through magnetic induction that aligns the two surfaces and funnels a charge wirelessly. Mophie has put some effort into building this out through a supporting suite of accessories, but the Juice Pack Air will work with any Qi-enabled surface.
By removing the headphone jack for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple complicated things for setups like this. I wasn’t able to plug in wired headphones because there is no access to the Lightning port below, nor any audio pass-through via the microUSB port. What’s the answer? Using Bluetooth headphones—or taking the phone out of the case and plugging in directly that way.
Mophie accessories to match
Mophie’s wireless charging products fall under the Charge Force line, currently made up of three accessories. The Wireless Charging Base is a basic pad you can place anywhere at home. The Magnetic Desktop Mount has a sticky adhesive underneath to help prop up the phone while it’s in the case, which is designed for desks. The Magnetic Car Vent Mount is a similar concept, only meant for the air vent in a car.
All three have the same magnetic charging bases—rubberized to avoid friction that could scratch the case. They all have microUSB ports and need to be plugged in to a power source. Mind you, only the cable comes with the Base and Desktop Mount, so you would need to have an adapter that can plug into the wall. Using the one that came with the iPhone would be fine. The Car Vent Mount is an exception because it includes an adapter that plugs into the car’s 12V socket.
Having these set up at home, work and in the car meant I had an accessible charging option in every circumstance, including away from any of them because I could use the Juice Pack’s own battery at any time as well.
An iPhone that never dies?
The iPhone 7 Plus has a 2900mAh battery. Comparing that to the 2450mAh of the Juice Pack Air, and it would be easy to assume that 75% can be recharged. Except that’s not exactly how it works. Mophie officially rates it at 60% extra battery life, which translates to a total of 33 hours of usage when factoring in full charges for both the phone and case together.
The rate of charge directly from the case to the phone is no different than if it was plugged into a wall, and I found the same was true through the Charge Force accessories. Mophie’s figure is also a ceiling, so like any handset, the type of usage determines how long or short a charge can be. For example, I noticed a more precipitous drop if I was streaming a lot of video over Wi-Fi then I did with moderate usage, like messaging, music streaming, social media and photos.
I could easily last a full day, even with heavy usage. Having the extra juice was handy, though I can see how the added heft and girth might not be all that wieldy. One-handed operation became more difficult, as challenging as it already was on a larger model like the 7 Plus. The added thickness does provide some protection for the phone’s body, but shouldn’t be misconstrued as an Otterbox-style rugged case. That’s not what this is, and an accidental fall could still damage the screen. Sticking on an edge-to-edge glass screen protector isn’t so easy because of the snug fit. And while the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have water resistance, the Juice Pack Air definitely does not.
The iPhone 7 has a 1960mAh battery, and the Juice Pack Air made for it has a 2525mAh battery inside, meaning it can double the device’s battery life. Mophie rates this at 27 hours of usage, but again, that number can vary depending on what you’re doing. Otherwise, the look and feel is not going to be that different beyond the smaller frame and lighter weight.
I’ve used Juice Pack cases on vacation or business travel in the past, so I can attest to how useful they can be for keeping the lights on longer. Back then, it was easier to plug in to listen to music, so exclusively going with wireless headphones with this version was one of the trade-offs I had to accept.
The Juice Pack Air fills a primary need, with some extras to consider. Protecting an iPhone with a case is always a good idea, given the device’s fragility, except the built-in battery is the main consideration here. The case part really comes second. If you don’t want the extra battery, then you would probably choose to go with a different case.
Mophie has a pedigree in that duality because they’ve combined the two for years. The Charge Force accessories help widen the scope, but you don’t have to get them all. If you care about battery life, the Juice Pack Air is one of the best you can use for your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. If you don’t get nervous about your phone’s battery, however, you can probably sit this one out for now.
Check out the Mophie Juice Pack Air and choose amongst a few colours available.