Battery cases are a dime a dozen these days. Mophie was a front runner in this category a few years back and we’ve just received their newest addition in the Juice Pack Air for the iPhone 4. A slick aesthetic with deep recessed grooves and considerable weight will instantly give you mixed feelings about sticking the Juice Pack Air in your pocket before you leave the house. Out of the box, the silver band around the body of the case that mimics the iPhone was unattached, making me want to pick at it like a scab. Unfortunate review copy perhaps, or just shoddy manufacturing? Note: I did receive a replacement unit and the siding was intact. Speaking of intact, that’s what you should expect when you invest in the best iPhone on the market.
The features on the Juice Pack Air are implemented with style and grace, though I didn’t prefer how deep the grooves surrounding the buttons were. They required concerted presses, often times having to go back a second time with the skinny end of my finger or thumb to actually press the button (especially the power button). Definitely good for accidental presses, they should have been designed with a much more flush approach. I did appreciate the spacing on the volume switch port as there was plenty of room to get in there without the need of a coke nail, like numerous other cases of this ilk.
Related: If you need to prop up your phone while charging, check out our Native Union Dock For iPhone or iPad review.
The ascending LED’s that denote available power are situated at the bottom of the case and look and feel great. The on/off button is tucked conveniently on the bottom left hand corner and will instantly become friends with your thumbnail. The USB charging port is opposite to that on the bottom right and is line with the rest of the tight design finish. While the black matte backing is a nice aesthetic component to the Juice Pack Air, it scuffed and smeared quite easily. The sound coming through the ports was decent and actually was better for playing games and such, as your hand didn’t disrupt the flow of sound as it does normally when holding it in landscape mode.
Related: Also check out our Luxi Light Meter Attachment For iPhone 5 review.
As far as battery performance was concerned, the Juice Pack Air is stated to have a 1,500 mAh capacity. I simply don’t believe it. The iPhone 4 has a 1420 mAh battery and both units I tested only charged the phone to about 75-80% which was rather disappointing. It should have charged the whole way given the specs. All in all, the Juice Pack Air is a letdown where performance is concerned. Another method of use which was stated in the instruction manual was to run the battery when your phone was fully charged. I didn’t like this either as the battery then only lasted around 4-5 hours and it was on standby for the majority of that time period.
If you’re looking for a battery case that’ll save you in a pinch, the Juice Pack Air will be there for you, but don’t expect a full charge. The protective nature of the case is pretty robust at the cost of bulk and added weight but the look and style of the case are its more selling attributes in the end. I have had better experiences with Mophie Juice Packs in the past and this definitely isn’t their best effort in terms of battery performance. I’ve yet to test one, but there has got to be a better case out there for the iPhone 4 that is more well rounded than the Mophie Juice Pack Air.
Buy the Mophie Juice Pack Air for the iPhone 4 from Amazon for $80.