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Review: Mophie Juice Pack Wireless for iPhone 6 Plus
      #49547 - 07/06/16 09:04 PM

Juice Pack Wireless for iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus by Mophie

What’s Hot: Solid battery case; can charge from any standard Qi charging pad.
What’s Not: Battery capacity is a bit low; wireless charging is a good supplement to wired charging, but it is not ready to replace it.
Company: Mophie (http://www.mophie.com)
Price: $129.95

For years, Mophie has been known as the standard-setter in the world of battery cases for smartphones: The standard by which all other brands were judged. Then something shocking happened: They blew it. The original model of the Juice Pack for iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus did not maintain a stable connection to the phone, causing many users (including me) to experience problems with constant beeping, making the case completely unusable. Mophie is back to take another try at the iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus, this time with the added ability to charge wirelessly. (A model for 6 and 6S is also available.) Does this case redeem Mophie to its former greatness? Well… mostly.

QiPhone
The Juice Pack Wireless starts out with all the usual features for a battery pack case: a 2,420 mAh battery, a micro USB port that provides charging and wired syncing, cutouts for the mute switch and camera, a headphone port that requires an extender (one is included), and press-through buttons for the volume and power buttons. That battery is enough to increase your total battery life by over 50%, which is a bit less than some competing cases, but still enough to make a major difference in your daily usage. Measuring 3.07 by 6.91 by 0.6 inches and 4.2 ounces, the size and weight it adds to your phone are pretty modest by battery case standards. Although many Mophie cases are available in multiple colors, this one is only available in black.



Whatever the issue was that plagued the original Juice Pack for iPhone 6 Plus, it seems to have been resolved this time around. You can put on the case, carry it around with you, and jostle your phone in your pocket, all without any of the dreaded beeping. That's a relief.

The most heavily promoted feature, however, is of course the ability to charge wirelessly. The Juice Pack Wireless comes with a charging base that measures 5.28 by 3.26 by 0.53 inches and 7.21 ounces. The pad is powered by a standard micro USB cable and provides a handy indicator light. Charging your phone really is as simple as placing it on top of the charging pad. But you aren’t limited to just the included charging base: Since the Juice Pack Wireless conforms to the Qi standard (the most common standard for wireless charging), not only can you buy car and desk charging pads from Mophie, you can use the case with any charging pad that supports the Qi standard. Some businesses are already starting to offer Qi charging to their customers, so if you frequent places that offer wireless charging, Mophie lets you take advantage of a feature that is normally not currently available to iPhone users.

(And yes, we did try using the charging base with an AppleWatch; it didn’t work in our tests.)



Putting the “Why” in Wireless
There’s only one problem with wireless charging: it’s a pain in the neck.

Wireless charging is slower than wired charging, and as Apple points out, the charging base still has to be plugged in. Although iPhones do support syncing over WiFi, doing so is painfully slow, and it’s pointless to have wireless charging if you just have to plug in anyway for syncing. Although the price of $129.95 is reasonable for what Mophie is offering, some people may be reluctant to spend that much on a case when the next iPhone model is presumably only a few months away. But none of these concerns bothers me personally as much as one other drawback of wireless charging: The dreaded beeping is back.

Although the Juice Pack Wireless doesn’t cause unnecessary beeping while operating your phone, it does cause beeping when you are charging wirelessly. According to rumors online, this may be because the charging base charges your phone to 100%, then switches off (beep!), then waits for your battery level to drain, then turns back on (beep!). This appears to be an issue with all Qi chargers; in fact, none of these drawbacks of wireless charging are Mophie’s fault. (There is no beeping issue when using regular wired charging.) Still, it’s hard to say if all these inconveniences make up for the convenience of not having to plug in a cable.

(Wireless)-less
It’s ironic that the Juice Pack Wireless’ flagship feature is also its weakest link. I believe the best use case for it is simply to use it as a standard USB battery case at home, enjoying all that Mophie goodness while avoiding all the pitfalls of wireless, and then use wireless charging to give you a midday boost if you frequently visit places that either have a Qi charger, or will let you keep one there. If this idea sounds satisfactory to you, the Juice Pack Wireless will fit the bill. However, if you were hoping to do away with wires altogether and only charge your phone wirelessly, the Pack is likely to disappoint; alas, this may be at least partially true of all Qi chargers.

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Edited by Tong Zhang (07/06/16 09:22 PM)


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