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Mophie Juice Pack for the iPhone 3G

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Reviewed March 5, 2009 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

The first accessory many iPhone users buy for their iPhone 3G is a case and after that usually is some extra battery power. With fast 3G data comes a price: shorter battery life, and you can’t exactly pop in an extra battery as you would with most other mobile phones. Mophie is one of the first companies to recognize the need for an external power pack and offers its Juice Pack for the iPhone 3G. We’ve reviewed both of their Juice Pack products for the first-gen iPhone (review) and the iPod Touch (review). The Juice Pack for the iPhone 3G continues to prove this is a must-have accessory for an iPhone 3G owner.

Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 3G

Form

The form factor of the new Mophie Juice Pack stays mostly the same as the one for the last-gen iPhone. The Juice Pack comes in the form of a jacket for the iPhone 3G and the material is soft but grippy. You can use your iPhone for any task while in the Juice Pack. One improvement in the new Mophie Juice Pack design is that the connector to the iPhone 3G is more integrated with the case and the iPhone doesn’t look separated from the case as much as it did with the last-gen Juice Pack. This more integrated design also makes the new Mophie Juice Pack looks smaller and easier to handle, though the size stays the same as the last-gen product. The iPhone 3G isn’t completely sitting in the case however as the small gaps between the phone and the Juice Pack are designed for the iPhone speaker to push sound out while in the case.

You will find the same 4 LED lights on the back of the Juice Pack that indicate the power level of the battery pack and the jacket leaves the iPhone’s side buttons and top buttons open for easy access. The Mophie has a cut out for the iPhone’s camera on the back and a USB-mini port on the bottom for charging and syncing the iPhone 3G without taking it out of the Juice Pack.

Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 3G

Power

Like the last-gen battery pack, the Mophie Juice Pack for the iPhone 3G has a 1800 mAh Lithium-Polymer battery built-in and it can extend the iPhone’s battery runtime considerably. The battery pack can add an additional 6 hours of talk time on 3G, and 12 hours on GSM/EDGE. Our tests showed that these numbers were a little overestimated but not by much. For audio playback, the mophie adds an additional 28 hours of battery life and 8 hours additional for video playback. These are very impressive numbers, though many iPhone 3G users will likely use the Juice Pack as a backup power source in case they are away from a power outlet when their iPhone runs out of power. For users who worry that frequent charging of the iPhone’s battery might shorten its life, the Juice Pack comes with smart battery technology that allows the iPhone 3G to drain power from the Mophie before using its internal power.

Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 3G

 

 

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The Juice Pack takes about 3 hours to fully charge a depleted iPhone 3G. The Mophie comes with a USB cable that allows you to charge the Juice Pack or both the iPhone and the Mophie simultaneously using either a computer or the iPhone AC plug. The LED lights on the back of the Mophie tell you how much power it has. Like all Mophie Juice Packs, the iPhone 3G version has built-in overcharge, short circuit and temperature protection. What’s new in the iPhone 3G version is the syncing capability through the Mophie. The iPhone can sync via USB while in the Juice Pack.

Conclusion

As a fellow iPhone 3G user, I know how much we all need some extra power especially if you travel a lot and are away from an AC outlet. If you are a fan of watching videos on the iPhone 3G, surf the web a lot, check email, play games and etc. you’ll need help in the battery department. The Mophie Juice Pack is a great answer to that need. The Juice Pack is slim and light enough to carry with you, and it’s easy to use. The added runtime is impressive and the pack even allows you to sync your iPhone 3G while charging. Until Apple comes out with a phone that has a user replaceable battery, the Mophie Juice Pack is a must-have for your gear bag!

Pro: Easy to carry and use. Great runtime numbers. Long battery life (good for over 500 full cycles). Can sync and charge the same time.

Con: If you want to use it as a case, it doesn’t protect the iPhone’s screen.

Price: $99.95

Web site: www.mophie.com

Comparison Shopping: Where to Buy

Specs:

Size: 2.5 x 4.75 x 0.75 inches
Weight: 3 ounces
Talk time: Up to additional 6 hours 3G; 12 hours 2G
Standby time: Up to additional 350 hours
Audio playback: Up to additional 28 hours
Video playback: Up to additional 8 hours
In the box: Mophie Juice Pack, USB-mini cable and printed User’s manual

 

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