All the video/app/being-on-the-net-anywhere fun of the iPhone comes at a cost- the limits of its battery life. And yes, you cannot carry a spare. Since I have some long distance travel I’ve been interested in some for the battery boosters for the iDevices. I was almost ready to go for the Richard Solo device— it appears in a lot of the magazines, but in late April I heard on engadget about the mophie juice pack air— it is a battery source of extra power that is built into a plastic case for the phone.

Here’s my quick little demo of it in action:

It charges up when you charge the iPhone (blue light indicators on the back show how much juice is in the juice pack). There is a standby switch so I run my iPhone battery down, then flip the mophie power on, which then recharges the iPhone. I get at least one full charge and there are still 1 or 2 lights lit up, si estimate I might get another 40% charge out of it. I do agree with what others have said the sliding the top case off the mophie is a little tricky; it seems to require some extra force, and when it doe snot nudge one begins to wonder if it will snap.

The mophie adds a little bulk to the device, but for not having to have a battery brick, its impressive. I was eager for mine, so I pre-ordered mine and paid for 2 day shipping for the April 21 launch since I was leaving the 30th for a 2 week east coast trip. Frankly I expected by pre-ordering, the thing would ship on April 21, but it was almost a week later I had not heard from them. I did email and got a very quick response from Rebecca there, and she pushed the right buttons so that it came the day before I left town.

That scored some points in my book. What I did not know for a long time is (and I am guessing) since I complained about not getting it within the time frame promised, they ended up crediting me back the entire amount I paid for it (unless they just made a billing goof). So it has been free.

One small downside is the little mini USB like hookup the mophie uses to connect to the internal connector of the iPhone- you use a special cable that has regular USB on the other end so you can charge it from a computer or from the standard iPhone plug charger. This does mean I cannot power it in my car, where I have a cigarette lighter attachment to a standard iPhone dock. I could charge it by yanking it out of the mophie case.

The other thing is that the little mini USB port on the mophie might be fragile– probably because I had mistakenly got the mini USB plug in upside down, I managed to dislodge the plug from the inside, and once loose it became detached and in essence, the mophie was dead and could not get a charge. If you scan the comments in the c|net review of the mophie, you hear that this happens at some frequency for people.

The mophie customer support was really responsive for me, and I shipped the busted to them and got a new one in return soon after. I’m being a bit more careful with checking the cable orientation before connecting it.

All in all I am happy with the battery boost the mophie gives. I am usually putting on for travel, and going back to a basic case at home (in the car where I use it for my stereo I can just hook it to the DC power)– and more, I;ve ben happy to get good customer service, a refreshing change from the experience with other companies.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


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