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Review: Mophie's Juice Pack Air Doubles Battery Life for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and X in a Slim Case

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Earlier this summer, Mophie announced and launched a new line of Juice Pack Air cases for the iPhone XS and XS Max, which promise to add extra hours of battery life to your iPhone while providing drop protection. The cases offer many of the same features as Apple's 2019 Smart Battery Case line, but there are a few key differences that I found in terms of their physical design and day-to-day usefulness.


Performance

In regard to daily battery life, I found the Smart Battery Case and Juice Pack Air similar in terms of performance, with an edge given to Apple's case. The Juice Pack Air has a 1,720 mAh battery, while the Smart Battery Case has two 1,369 mAh batteries that allow it to run at a higher voltage to yield a total of 10.1 Wh of energy.

On average, the Juice Pack Air lasted until 4 p.m. during a day of normal use, and one day when I was streaming music from my iPhone to my HomePod for a few hours in the morning, the case died at 1 p.m. that afternoon. Although I found that Mophie's accessory died a bit too early in the day, my iPhone's battery was always able to make it to bedtime so I still never had to worry about finding a charging source at night, which is the entire point of battery cases.


Still, in terms of all-day battery Apple's case routinely beat Mophie's in my testing. The Smart Battery Case usually died around 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. on my normal usage days, and I'd go to bed with my iPhone at around 70-80 percent battery, compared to 30-50 percent battery with the Juice Pack Air.

On the plus side for the Juice Pack Air, it never faced repeated connection issues that are well known with the Smart Battery Case. This problem sees the accessory connect and re-connect to the iPhone randomly when it's being jostled in a pocket or a bag. Likewise, the Smart Battery Case can sometimes cease charging overnight when it's on a Qi mat, so that you'll wake up to only a half-charged case. I never faced any such issues with the Juice Pack Air, although its Qi hotspot was a bit more difficult to find on my Belkin charging mat, especially at night.


Although Mophie's Juice Pack Air for iPhone XS is not officially certified to fit the iPhone X, it functions as expected. I had no trouble with the case fitting my iPhone X or facing performance issues, so iPhone X owners interested in Mophie's new accessory don't need to worry about this side of things.

Design

The new Juice Pack Air continues Mophie's click-together design, where you slip your iPhone into the bottom portion of the case and snap the top half of the case to the top of your iPhone. This creates a visible seam on the back of the case, just above the enlarged battery portion and below the camera cutout.


The battery bump on the Juice Pack Air is smaller than Apple's, but the reason for that is because the Mophie case has more length to it -- and thus more surface area to spread out -- due to the large chin on the front of the case. While I liked how thin it felt for a battery case, I didn't like the trade off of having the large chin on the case.


Otherwise, the Juice Pack Air design is standard for an iPhone case, with a passthrough Lightning port, raised front edges, bumpers for the volume and lock buttons, and a satisfying matte finish. The case also performed well when I accidentally dropped my iPhone on concrete one day, with only one small nick near the case's camera bump cutout showing any signs of damage (my iPhone was unscathed).

It's worth noting that this is Mophie's first case that includes charging through a passthrough Lightning port. Previously, Mophie's battery cases included a MicroUSB port for passthrough wired charging. With a Lightning port -- and wireless charging -- keeping the Juice Pack Air topped off is far easier.

Juice Pack Air vs Smart Battery Case

The biggest issue I had switching from Apple's case to Mophie's was the lack of iOS integration with the Juice Pack Air. Apple's Smart Battery Case displays the battery life of the case itself every time you charge it, and in the iOS Widgets screen, making it a cinch to quickly see how much battery you have left in total. It's a small bonus, but one that became so wholly integrated into my day-to-day iPhone X usage that I felt a bit hindered without it.


In comparison, the Juice Pack Air has four small LED lights on the lower back of the case. A button to their left can be pressed and the LEDs will activate to represent how much battery is left in the case, and holding it will turn the case on to charge your iPhone.

I had an ongoing issue with guessing what battery was left in the Juice Pack Air, particularly as the LEDs would dwindle down to two or three lights fairly early in the day, and then stay at one light until around 4 or 5 p.m. For those afternoon hours, I never knew exactly how close the case was to being dead.


Turning on the two cases is also very different. With Apple's, the case simply activates the minute it's charged and is always providing battery to the iPhone. With Mophie's you have to manually activate it with a long press of the button next to the LEDs.

This is a difference that can either be a pro or con, depending on how much control you want over your battery case. I liked not having to think about turning the case on, but those who would prefer to run out their iPhone battery a little bit before it begins charging would find advantage in the Juice Pack Air.

Bottom Line

Mophie's new line of Juice Pack Air cases for the iPhone XS and XS Max offer the battery life and solid craftsmanship that's expected from Mophie, but a few of its design choices keep it from being the absolute best iPhone battery case on the market.


At $99.95, you're essentially doubling the battery life of your iPhone in an accessory that has a sleek body but unattractive chin design. For $30 more at $129.00, Apple's case just nudges out Mophie's in terms of battery life, and has a more subtle design, barring a slightly bigger battery hump.

If you need a battery case for an iPhone X, XS, or XS Max that can barely make it through the day on its own, the Juice Pack Air is still a solid choice in its price range.

How to Buy

The Juice Pack Air for iPhone XS and XS Max is available to purchase for $99.95 on Mophie.com. Colors available include Black, Gold, Navy, and Deep Red.

Note: Mophie provided MacRumors with the Juice Pack Air for iPhone XS for the purposes of this review; no other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Mophie. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Article Link: Review: Mophie's Juice Pack Air Doubles Battery Life for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and X in a Slim Case
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2009
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It would have been cool if Mophie had innovated in this space and added reverse wireless charging to the back of this to offer a leg up on the competition.

I’m imagining wirelessly charging my AirPods on the go.
 
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gigapocket1

macrumors 68000
Mar 15, 2009
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I don’t get why they do this every year.. every year they come out with their “product” 1 or 2 months before the new iPhones come out... it’s too late.. these needed to be out last November
 
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dominiongamma

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2014
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I don’t get why they do this every year.. every year they come out with their “product” 1 or 2 months before the new iPhones come out... it’s too late.. these needed to be out last November
Mophie is probably one of the companies I hate, over price products, bulky, outdated with that chin design and no lighting port in the past, they finally add it when iPhone is about to switch to usb c
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2009
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Mophie is probably one of the companies I hate, over price products, bulky, outdated with that chin design and no lighting port in the past, they finally add it when iPhone is about to switch to usb c

USB C will be a lifesaver for Mophie.
 
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jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
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1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
In the end, Apple's solution is better. The case and iOS integration saves a hassle of trying to balance charge and power draw.

Because iOS can communicate directly with Apple's case, it means wear on the internal iPhone battery is reduced as its the iPhone's CPU handling when and where to get power from and how to manage battery power, not the user.
 
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mtneer

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2012
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I don’t get why they do this every year.. every year they come out with their “product” 1 or 2 months before the new iPhones come out... it’s too late.. these needed to be out last November

I think they are releasing the product just about when people are thinking about the not-so-great battery life of their once new iPhone. I think that would make more timing sense than releasing it when everyone has brand new batteries with the legs to go a full business day without recharge.
 
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TrulsZK

Contributor
May 1, 2018
129
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Norway
In my opinion Apple's Smart battery case is better due to the iOS integration you will not get from the Juice Pack.
The only thing I do not like is that I have to look at the today widget to see battery percentage of the case, iOS should merge the two batteries and show a combined battery percentage in the status bar, or show both batteries, like dual sim.
 
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alpi123

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2014
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What exactly is the reason they have kept the chin of the case? It's 100% useless and making the bottom like a normal case is a much better solution.
 
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Ronlap

macrumors 6502
Sep 7, 2007
259
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San Francisco Bay Area
It would have been cool if Mophie had innovated in this space and added reverse wireless charging to the back of this to offer a leg up on the competition.

I’m imagining wirelessly charging my AirPods on the go.

They have -- Juice Pack Access. Charges itself wirelessly and charges the iPhone wirelessly, leaving the Lightning port open. To charge your AirPods, you would need to remove the case and lay your AirPods on the inside.
 
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PastaPrimav

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Nov 6, 2017
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Mophie is probably one of the companies I hate, over price products, bulky, outdated with that chin design and no lighting port in the past, they finally add it when iPhone is about to switch to usb c
They had Micro-USB and USB-C options before....they have dropped them in favor of Lightning because that is what customers want. This article conveniently neglects to mention the previous existence of the USB-C option, because of the maniacal crusade by the dishonest tech media to never say anything bad about USB-Crap.

No one wants a USB-C connector other than about 10,000 people that exist inside this delusional tech bubble. The rest of 1 billion people or so with iPhones want Lightning to stay just as it is.
 
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imola.zhp

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Jun 1, 2010
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I don't think I have $100 in the 6 charging pads/stands I have; two at my house, one each at two different in-laws, one at my sisters, one at work and one in my car. My battery rarely drops below 50%, maybe I'm not using my phone as much as others?
 
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OriginalMacRat

macrumors 6502a
Mar 9, 2007
577
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Turning on the two cases is also very different. With Apple's, the case simply activates the minute it's charged and is always providing battery to the iPhone. With Mophie's you have to manually activate it with a long press of the button next to the LEDs.

There's a simple solution to that.... Don't turn it off.

Only only reason it would be off is if the user let the batty drain to zero or the user turned it off.
 
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blevins321

macrumors 68030
Dec 24, 2010
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Winnipeg, MB
No one wants a USB-C connector other than about 10,000 people that exist inside this delusional tech bubble. The rest of 1 billion people or so with iPhones want Lightning to stay just as it is.

I think this preference might be changing now that iPads use USB-C. It would be very nice to not have to carry around another cable just to charge my phone when my iPad and laptop both otherwise use the same cord.
 
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imola.zhp

macrumors 65816
Jun 1, 2010
1,038
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Mud Island (Memphis), TN
I think this preference might be changing now that iPads use USB-C. It would be very nice to not have to carry around another cable just to charge my phone when my iPad and laptop both otherwise use the same cord.

Agreed, different chargers for my iPad Pro and my phone are a bit annoying, but then again, I use wireless pads 95% for my phone.
 
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PastaPrimav

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I think this preference might be changing now that iPads use USB-C. It would be very nice to not have to carry around another cable just to charge my phone when my iPad and laptop both otherwise use the same cord.
iPad Pro, the latest and most expensive generation yet, has USB-C. AKA the iPad with the lowest adoption of any current or previous iPad model. Total devices sold to date in the low millions. This is hardly a motivating reason to shift the conversation over to the 1 billion user iPhone market.

Also, iPad Pro was given USB-C for one specific reason: to meet the requirement of 4K video out. iPhone has no such relevant use case.
 
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Nautilus007

macrumors 68020
Jul 13, 2007
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Mophie used to be king and now they don't innovate, charge premium prices for their products when companies like Anker are offering superior solutions are cheaper costs and release products almost a year after devices are released.
 
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OriginalMacRat

macrumors 6502a
Mar 9, 2007
577
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Mophie used to be king and now they don't innovate, charge premium prices for their products when companies like Anker are offering superior solutions are cheaper costs and release products almost a year after devices are released.

Anker doesn't make battery cases.
 
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Aniseedvan

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2012
1,100
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UK
No mention of the charge force compatibility - has this gone in newer models? I got mine for my 8+ earlier in the year and whilst I’m not overly impressed with the extra battery life (it’s not great) versus bulk, losing PD charging with my Anker pack, etc, having an easy mount/charge for my car means I’ve kept it. Personally I don’t like sticking things to my phone so a case means I can swap it into a different case when I need to.
 
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travelsheep

macrumors 6502a
May 30, 2013
727
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BPA free? Or does the box come with the usual fine print... "might cause cancer" ?
 
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PhillyGuy72

macrumors 68000
Sep 13, 2014
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Philadelphia, PA USA
I had the Morphie for a day and then returned it, it worked but the length was just a tad too long for my pocket. Traded it for the XS Max Smart Battery last week, which was (still is) on Sale at Best buy for 110 in black. Yeah it's heavier and I did have some odd readings in the first night when it came to % on the case and phone. Seemed it synced up and it's perfect now. For me, the Apple case is just better for me.
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BPA free? Or does the box come with the usual fine print... "might cause cancer" ?
I think everything I buy now has that "May cause cancer" warning.
That "California Proposition 65" warning disclaimer that by law must be on all things plastic.
 
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ignatius345

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Aug 20, 2015
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LOL at all the people who never knew what a "chin" was until like a year ago and now suddenly are REALLY bothered.
 
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