Last week Mophie announced and launched the Juice Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S4. If you’re familiar with the Mophie brand then you know it’s a battery pack case that slips around the handset.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Juice Pack is finished in a wonderfully, almost velvety smooth rubber that provides the case with a soft touch, but is anything but sticky (just in case you were wondering if it will get stuck in your pocket).
Like many if not all of Mophie’s battery cases, there are 4 LED lights to indicate remaining battery, an on/off switch, and a button to check the remaining juice, all of which are found on the back of the case. When the case is turned “on” a green dot is revealed. In the “off” position a red dot shows. For clarity’s sake neither of these are viewable in low or no light scenarios. Push the button and the LED lights will illuminate displaying how much juice is left in the case.
To charge the Juice Pack for the Galaxy S4, Mophie includes a microUSB cord, but you’ll need to supply your own AC adapter – the one that came with your S4 should suffice. Moreover, when the case is plugged in and the phone is “docked”, the Juice Pack will charge both itself and the Galaxy S4.
There are also the requisite pass-through buttons for the volume and power/lock switch – all work as if they were the buttons themselves. Lastly, there are a set of ports located throughout the Juice Pack case to address the camera, mics and infrared sender. At the bottom of the face of the Juice Pack there are also a set of slits. One is designated to the mic and the other to the S4’s speaker. The mic seems hardly impacted, where as the speaker’s clarity is every so slightly reduced by emitting less treble.
Installing the Juice Pack is a simple affair. Just simply remove the top portion of the case, slide in the Galaxy S4 and if done correctly it will fit snuggly and if not almost perfectly into place. Adhering the remaining top portion is a bit more fiddly affair, but easy enough as this particular Juice Pack’s design is easier to line up the two piece. However, removing the Juice Pack requires that you grip the corner edges and pull from the top. At first I pulled from the camera port, but quickly discovered that that section is actually attached to the lower portion of the Juice Pack. This isn’t to say it’s difficult, but compared to Mophie’s other Juice Pack cases it will take you a few trials to determine where to position your hands such that you’re not pointlessly pulling on the case. Nevertheless, this will probably be a moot issue since you’ll likely leave the Juice Pack attached to the Galaxy S4 as it adds all around protection to the phone’s back and bevel.
But with that protection comes the caveat of size. The Galaxy S4 Juice Pack doubles the weight (it weighs 4.6oz, the S4 4.59oz) and thickness (the Mophie Juice pack is .66-inch, the Galaxy S4 .31-inches) of the Galaxy S4.
So that begs the next question: how much juice can the Juice Pack provide to the Galaxy S4? From a charge of 10% I was able to return my Galaxy S4 to 67%. With a capacity of 2300mAh, just 300mAh shy of the Galaxy S4’s battery, I had hoped to achieve a total recharge of 80%. In my experience, largely based on using the iPhone Juice Packs, Mophie’s battery cases have delivered at least an 80% incremental charge. And to be candid, this was with no active use – screen off and connected to LTE.
So is the Juice Pack for Samsung’s Galaxy S4 a disappointment? In short order, no. The size is probably the Juice Pack’s biggest caveat, but with that comes protection and almost 60% added battery life, something all Galaxy S4 owners will take with open arms. Mind you, Mophie did promise an 80% incremental charge, so it only seems fair that they’d discount the asking price of $99.95 by a proportional amount, right?
Of note, an extra S4 battery, which adds no protection, costs $40 from Amazon, and without a shred of doubt doubles the S4’s battery life.
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