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.

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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