Gadget Review: Mophie Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 4

Battery life is the elephant in the room among iPhone users.

We all know it, but no one wants to say it out loud. Many Apple fans are far too proud of the other features of the phone to admit it has flaws.

Far too often you’ll find yourself cursing the short battery life of the iPhone, letting you down when you need it most. By the time you’ve logged on to check the news in the morning (or whatever website you ogle on the bus, I won’t judge), checked your emails and had a peek at Twitter, you’ll notice your freshly charged battery power has already taken a dent and you’re not even at work yet. Worse still, if you’ve used your iPhone a fair bit throughout the day you could find it needs charging nightly.

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The Mophie Juice Pack Plus aims to correct the battery weakness in the iPhone while protecting it from the odd knocks and impacts daily life can dish out.

A surrounding case which plugs into the bottom of the phone, the Juice Pack Plus provides an additional battery, one which you can charge at the same time. Phone out of power? No problem, flip a discrete switch on the side of the case and the Juice Pack Plus starts charging your phone and in a short while you’ll be back up to strength. Switch it off and you can add another charge when you need it later.

The case itself is sturdy - covering the vulnerable corners where some other cases leave the device open to disaster. A series of buttons and small holes still allow you access to volume, headphone, standby, and silent mode functions.

You can even tell how much charge you’ve got left in the case, pressing a button on the bottom lights up four LEDs to give you an idea how much you’ve used. I swithced on the Juice Pack’s charge when phone power dipped to 35% and found that even after restoring full power, the LEDS showed around three quarters of charge left to give.

The Mophie Juice Pack Plus can be an invaulable tool for both power and safety, but perhaps is of most use to those set on outdoor persuits. A few days away from a power point, hiking through the hostile outdoor environment of the Highlands in rough weather could be the ideal situation for the juice pack. It’s difficult to turn down added protection and a extended battery life.

If there’s one small drawback it’s the added size it gives to your iPhone. There are a couple of power-boosting cases out there but generally they are all cumbersome. If you want something paper-thin that holds a charge and protects your phone then you’ll have to wait a few years for technology to develop. The Juice Pack isn’t too bad as far as size and weight goes but it takes a little getting used to.

But the real difference here is price. Costing around half as much as some other iPhone power cases, you could do a lot worse than the Mophie Juice Pack Plus.

• The Mophie Juice Pack Plus can be found at amazon.co.uk, mophie.com or in Apple stores.