Dear iPhone 5, if your battery could last the entire day and night, that’d be great–Sincerely, everyone. Charging an iPhone midday is not always a viable solution. Thankfully Mophie has released one of the first and thinnest iPhone 5 lightning juice packs. The Mophie Juice Pack Helium adds the battery you need to hit that full day check point in a protective package that looks good and feels good too.
Mophie’s been a top name in battery pack cases for some time now, so we’ve developed high expectations for them. The Juice Pack Helium is a great successor to iPhone 4′s Juice Pack Plus. It’s 13% thinner, a bit lighter, and better protected. The build and appearance are top notch. The battery adds an 80% charge to iPhone’s battery. Mophie also sells a Juice Pack Air for iPhone 5 that’s slightly bigger and heavier, but doubles iPhone’s battery.
Juice Pack Helium is a two piece case. The bottom connector piece contains the technology and lightning connector while the upper portion contains the 1500 mAh battery. They slide onto iPhone quite smoothly and tightly. The back of the case is rounded out with a soft gun metal colored plastic. All iPhone’s ports and buttons are just as accessible as with any other protective case with two exceptions. iPhone’s lightning syncing/charging port is essentially transformed into a micro-USB charging port (yay for universal cables!). The other exception is that iPhone’s headphone port is very far recessed. A skinny straight audio or headphone cable can still be plugged in, otherwise you’d just use the extender that comes with the Helium. The extender even supports headphones with microphones and ControlTalk buttons.
There’s a 4-LED battery indicator that falls flush on the back of the case. Next to the LEDs is a small on/off switch so you can start and stop charging at will and ration or share your extra 1500 mAh battery. Luckily it’s real easy to take the Juice Pack on and off because you can’t sync iPhone with the micro-USB cable; you can, however, wireless sync iPhone if it’s charging in the Juice Pack.
Aside from being thinner than Mophie’s iPhone 4/4S Juice Packs, the Helium has slightly better protection. Our Juice Pack plus fell almost flush with iPhone’s face, but the Helium offers a little extra buffer between iPhone’s face and the bezel. Helium charges iPhone quite fast; it takes just over an hour to fully deplete the Mophie battery and charge iPhone an extra 80%. If you start charging iPhone after it’s completely dead, it will charge into the 70s, as it uses battery while its on. With battery packs, it’s wiser to charge iPhone when it’s closer to dead; the first 50% of charging is always quicker than the last 50%.”
Lets face it, iPhone’s battery isn’t made for anyone who needs to actually use the device throughout a full day. The Mophie Juice Pack Helium is a great way to limit the accessories and peripherals you have to carry around just to give iPhone the juice it deserves. I even use the Helium around the house so I don’t have to tether iPhone to a wall to charge before a night out on the town. There’s definitely an added bulk with Helium, though it’s more manageable, and worth the sacrifice when you need it most. The Mophie Juice Pack Helium is currently available for $79.95 from Amazon.com. Mophie also makes a Juice Pack Air for iPhone 5 that doubles iPhone’s battery and is a bit bigger with different styling and colors.
The Good: Sleeker than predecessors, LED indicator lights, Fast charging, Perfect fit–easy to apply and remove, Easy to access buttons, Nice protection, Enough battery to get most people through the day, Microphone and speaker are unaffected, Micro-USB charging
The Bad: Can’t sync iPhone with case on, Requires included adapter to work with most headphones, Gets warm, Heavy, Only 80% iPhone battery