Sometimes you just need more power. And when that time comes and you’re on the go, you can’t just stop and plug into a wall. You want to recharge on the go. iPhone cases with batteries in them are the perfect solution, and we’ve put two of the most popular to the test – the Incipio offGRID Express, and the Mophie Juice Pack Plus.
I’ve tried every solution. Carrying a wall plug and cable. Carrying a battery pack and cable. Using a case with a battery built-in. Without question the most trouble-free approach to the problem of a critically low battery is a battery built into the case.
The only issue I have right off the top here – they are heavy. And bulky. That’s the price you pay for this convenience. The solution. Don’t use the case ALL the time, just use it when you need it.
I’ve been in Berlin for the last few days, doing lots of work, lots of online work and frankly using my phone almost 100% more than normal. And yes, the battery has been a nightmare. So, each day, I’ve charged a battery case and taken it in my bag. Phone gets to 20% – whack it on and charge her up. It really works so well, so fast that you forget, and when the phone is at 100% you can take it off again.
So, the contenders.
Mophie are probably the biggest name in this space, and they make some bloody good quality accessories. The Juice Pack Plus is only a fraction heavier (2 grams) than its smaller sibling, and offers 20% more power (120% recharge vs 100%), and is just $20 more ($149 vs $129) so it’s certainly the pick from the family.
Getting your phone in is easy, with the top part of the pack just pulling off, your iPhone slides in, and the top snaps back in.
Around the back 4 little lights help show how much power the case has in it, and a switch determines if the juice is flowing into your phone or not.
Simple, and effective.
Next up is the offGRID Express from Incipio.
The concept of course is almost identical, except in this case the indicator lights for the battery status are on the front below your home button and there is a small button on the bottom right of the phone to display the status indication, and you push and hold that button to initiate the power flow into the phone.
Getting the phone in isn’t as simple as the Mophie. On the Incipio you snap off an entire edge of the device, slide the phone in then place the edge again all round the phone and case and snap it in.
I found this problematic because it took a bit more effort than I’d like to get the thing fully snapped back into place.
Mophie by a nose.
If they were similarly priced, it would be Mophie by a length or two, but the $30 premium might be enough to have you go for the Incipio.
And, working on the assumption that many buyers will leave their phone in this case at all times, instead of just for emergencies as I’ve been using them – the snapping back into place of the edge seal really isn’t that big a deal.
It’s your call, but for me, the Mophie will be a part of my travel pack whenever I’m likely to be hard on the power.