mophie juice pack boost – review

If you’ve spent a good amount of time looking around at Apple accessories you may have come across the mophie brand of battery cases. They hit it big with the mophie juice pack air for the iPhone 3G/S, an extended battery case that was touted to double the operating life of your iPhone. I actually got to use the juice pack air and while I can’t say for sure if it doubled my iPhone’s battery life, it sure extended it by quite a bit. Since then, mophie has extended their product line to the iPhone 4/S, and have even launched external backup batteries for the Apple line of devices.

Enter the mophie juice pack boost.

The juice pack boost is the mid-range model of mophie’s line of backup batteries. No larger than the average wallet, the pocket-sized juice pack boost packs 2000mAh of power–enough to charge your iDevice all the way to 100%. Bold claim, but does it deliver?

Let’s cut to the chase. This is a backup battery. While the Boost does have additional features, the important question here is how well it works. As the owner of an iPhone 4S, I’m no stranger to my phone running down to about 70-50% battery by the end of the day under normal use (well, as far as my usage goes, anyway). This doesn’t surprise me in the least; the 4S’ upgrades demand a little more power and yet it’s still using the iPhone 4’s battery. Shame, Apple. Shame.
While it’s not surprising, I’ve definitely had days that were a little harder on my phone’s battery, pulling it down to below 20% (the red zone). Days like that made me wish I had anything to charge my phone with, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

I had a chance to test out the Boost on my way home from San Francisco. By the time I’d hopped on the bus home, my battery was down to about 30% (not quite zero, I know, but bear with me here). I’d been wise enough to fully charge the Boost before leaving for the airport, so I quickly plugged in and played the waiting game. Wouldn’t you know it–within the hour, my 4S was back up to 100%. While that may not seem impressive to some, do keep in mind that I had Spotify running through my Black Keys playlist the entire time and I continued to use my phone normally. When I removed the Boost, I still had about 25% power left.
So while I didn’t necessarily bring my phone fully back to life from a dead start, I was more than impressed with the Boost’s first test run.

Now onto the features:

The Boost docks with your iDevice via a flip-out connector on one end. This does mean that the Boost, along with its smaller cousin the Reserve, is only compatible with Apple devices with a 30-pin docking port. The operation here is fairly basic. Plug it into your device, and the Boost turns on and starts charging immediately. Unplug it, and the Boost turns off. There are no power switches here, which is convenient.
It should be noted that the Boost may not fit with all cases as the connector’s base is fairly thick. I picked mine up at the Apple Store and they were nice enough to open it up for me so I can try it out. That said, removing your case to charge your iDevice shouldn’t be a big deal unless you’ve got a rugged-style case like the Otterbox Defender or a screw-on case such as the Vapor Pro line from elementCASE. You can see it below with my ZooGue case, into which it fits fine.

As with most of mophie’s products, the Boost makes use of a micro-USB cable for charging. The downside here is that the Boost does not pass power through to your device; if you want to charge your device while the Boost is connected, you’re out of luck. The Boost will charge, but your device won’t receive any power from it.

On the flipside, the Boost features four indicator lights that glow momentarily at the press of a button, letting you know how much power is left in the battery. Four lights mean that the battery is full (or close to it). They also serve as indicator lights for when the Boost itself is charging, with each successive light blinking until it reaches a full charge.

The Boost can also function as a stand for your iDevice while it recharges, though it only works in portrait mode. I’m unsure as to whether or not this was included on purpose or if QA stumbled upon it by accident, but it works. As I said before, the Boost does not pass power through to your device, so this may not be an excellent choice for a dock.

There’s not much else to the Boost other than its looks. It resembles the black iPhone 4, so much that when connected it looks like a part of the phone itself. The black portions of the Boost sport a nice matte rubbery finish that’s soft to the touch (I feel odd using the term “soft touch finish”). It really is sleek, rather slim, and fits easily in most compartments. Other than that, it’s a backup battery and it does what it’s supposed to do.

So there you have it: the mophie juice pack boost. You can pick one up now at your local stores for $49.99 USD or directly from the mophie website. Also know that if you buy directly from the site you can purchase a RED version of the Boost; 5% of the net profits from RED sales go towards the Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS. The RED version also sells for $49.99, so if you’re not too hung up on colors you can contribute to a good cause. You can find out more about RED and its other sponsors here.

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