The Mophie Juice Pack
Smartphone makers have been improving battery life each product cycle, but many still find that their battery doesn't last a full day with heavy use. For those that use their phone morning, noon, and night, you already know that a once-a-day charge doesn't make the cut. Most of the time we can sneak a charge in during a car ride or from our PC at work, but there are likely times you can't top off your phone and your juice runs out. A company called mophie came up with a product called the juice pack that is basically a portable battery case for many of today's most popular smartphones. The good news for over 30 million Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone owners is that Mophie now makes the Juice Pack for the GS3!
When you place your Samsung Galaxy S III into the mophie juice pack you can enjoy up to 32 extra hours of music, 8 extra hours of video playback, or 9 extra hours of 4G LTE web browsing thanks to the devices built-in 2300 mAh lithium battery!
Additional Battery Hours With The Mophie Juice Pack:
- Talk Time: Up to 9 hours on 3G | Up to 7 hours on 4G
- Internet Use: Up to 9 hours on 4G | Up to 11 hours on Wi-Fi
- Audio Playback: Up to 32 hours
- Video Playback: Up to 8 hours
This means that the mophie juice pack nearly doubles the battery life of the Galaxy S III, but that extra battery life comes at a price. The mophie rechargeable external battery case for the Samsung Galaxy S III will set you back $99.95 shipped. As you can see the mophie juice pack isn't really an impulse buy item, so it better function perfectly!
The mophie juice pack for the Galaxy S3 is available in white or black. Inside the retail packaging you'll find the mophie juice pack, micro-USB cable, and the user’s manual.
On the back of the juice pack you'll there is a four-light LED indicator and a button that when pressed will show you how much battery power is left in the juice pack. The LEDs also keep you updated on your juice pack charging status when it's plugged in. To the right of the LED lights there is a toggle switch that lets know how the charge is coming along. The lithium battery inside the juice pack is rechargeable for over 500 full cycles. A full cycle is when the case is charged from 0% to 100%. Partial cycles, like charging from 25% to 100%, will not count as a full cycle until all of the partials equal 100%. After 500 cycles, the battery in the juice pack will be less than 75% of the original capacity. This is normal for any product with a lithium battery.To charge the juice pack there is a micro-USB port at the bottom just like the smartphone.
The mophie juice pack pulls apart at the top and all you need to do is slide your Galaxy S III into the case and the additional battery pack is fully installed. The juice pack weighs just 3.5 ounces, so it is very light. It is a hard shell case, so it should perform like any basic hard case would.
Here is a quick look at the connector at the base plugs into the micro USB port at the bottom of your Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone. You can also see the hole for the microphone and one of the rubber pads that keeps the Galaxy S III firmly secured in the mophie juice pack.
With the Galaxy S III slid into the mophie juice pack you can see how it nearly doubles the thickness of the phone. The dimensions of the mophie juice pack are 5.9" x 2.97" x 0.67", which means it adds some girth to the Galaxy S III's original 5.38" x 2.78" x 0.34" dimensions. Going from 9mm to 17mm in thickness basically doubles the thickness of the smartphone.
Let's take a look at what the phone looks like with the case fully installed and wrap up this review!
Mophie Juice Pack Final Thoughts
The white version of the mophie juice pack came pretty close to matching the color of our white Galaxy S III. The hard plastic case doesn't add much weight, but it does increase the size of the phone by a fairly dramatic amount. It is clear that the you'll need to sacrifice the sleekness of the phone to use this battery pack!
While using the mophie juice pack I noticed that it is not beard or goatee friendly. Not the best thing when it is No Shave November! When using the juice pack facial hair does like to get stuck between the juice pack and the phone, which can be painful! Just a heads up to all those that have mastered the art of not shaving.
The buttons on the sides of the smartphone still functioned fine, but the buttons rattle if you shake the phone. When you have a $550 (no-contract price) phone and a $100 case that leaves a bit of a bad taste in your mouth.
When doing this review I ran across what looked like some counterfeit batteries and devices on sites like ebay and Amazon. Some of the feedback left for mophie juice pack on Amazon was negative and one also mentioned how the buttons rattled, so I asked mophie for a comment on this.
"mophie prides itself on offering the highest quality products through its retailer partners. We cannot guarantee that devices from noncertified retailers such as the Amazon Marketplace are not counterfeit and therefore; we highly recommend that current and potential consumers only purchase mophie products from its authorized U.S. partners. A list of partners can be found here."
They mentioned that some of the devices being sold out there could be counterfeits and that you should buy a juice pack from an authorized retailer to be sure it is real. Counterfeit items are becoming pretty bad online these days, so if you see a deal that is too good to be true then it more than likely is!
The mophie juice pack leaves the camera and speaker open, so all the Galaxy S III smartphones features remain intact. It also doesn't effect your signal strength or the phone's NFC or S Beam capabilities. You can also sync your phone with the juice pack installed, which is a nice touch as you can just leave the juice pack on and not worry about any of the functions being hampered.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions:
After using the mophie juice pack for a bit I am left with mixed thoughts on the mophie rechargeable external battery case. The juice pack works as advertised - it more or less doubles the battery life of the Galaxy S III smartphone. I never ran out of power during the day when I had the juice pack installed and heavily used the cell phone. Knowing that you can talk for nearly 18 hours straight on the phone without charging it is certainly comforting! You don't have to always use the case though as if your phone is nearly dead, you can slip it in the mophie juice pack and in a couple hours your phone is back to a full charge. This ability to have a charge longer is what power users need and the juice pack delivers when you need it most. The only real downsides to the juice pack are the added size of device itself and the price. At $99.95 shipped the mophie juice pack isn't exactly cost effective and there are other ways to extend your battery life.
For example, the biggest rival that I see for this product is the Samsung Battery Charging System for the Galaxy S III. For $36.88 shipped you get an extra 2100mA battery and a charging stand from Samsung. This means that you get another Samsung OEM battery for your phone with a charging stand for 63% less than the mophie juice pack. Not only do you save nearly $63.07 that way, but you also can use whatever case you like and not have to deal with a bulky Galaxy S III smartphone case. The downside is that you need to carry an extra battery with you and switch them out at some point during the day.
Which choice is right for you? That is entirely your call, but at least now you know there are a couple good options out there for keeping your Galaxy S III charged up and running all day. There is nothing more aggravating that having a dead smartphone because the battery ran out of power!
Legit Bottom Line: The mophie juice pack for the Samsung Galazy S III worked great, but it is expensive and you can buy a factory replacement battery for far less and get the same overall up time!
(11/28/12 Update at 2pm CT: Mophie is doing a holiday sale and is offering 15% off with promo code 'snowman' if you buy it direct. This brings the price down to $89.76 shipped USPS First Class. The promotion starts December 8th, 2012.)