Mophie Juice Pack Helium Review: iPhone 5 Battery Case

The Mophie Juice Pack Helium for the iPhone 5 has finally arrived, offering better iPhone 5 battery life without changing any settings, as long as you can handle adding some bulk to the iPhone 5′s trim design.

Mophie is the first Apple certified iPhone 5 battery case and like the Mophie cases before it, the Mophie Juice Pack Helium is a good buy for iPhone users who need longer battery life.

In our tests, the iPhone 5 Mophie Juice Pack Helium was able to deliver a 60-65% charge to the iPhone in under an hour, and the battery case can charge to full in about the same time.

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The Mophie Juice Pack Helium nearly doubles the thickness of the iPhone 5, up to 0.59-inches thick and it makes the iPhone 5 slightly taller thanks to the need to integrate a Lightning connection into the bottom of the case. Overall the Mophie Juice Pack Helium is noticeably larger than a naked iPhone 5, but not large enough to be a problem.

One issue is that the new thicker bottom makes it tough to connect headphones to the iPhone 5. The opening is wide enough to accommodate the Apple EarPods and several other third-party headphones, but plugging them in was tough given the depth. Thankfully Mophie includes a headphone adapter that sticks out a few inches making it easy to plug-in other headphones, though it could prove easy to lose.

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The iPhone 5 battery case features a soft finish that is a little on the slippery side. It’s not so slippery that users will be dropping the iPhone 5, but it is harder to hold while reading a for extended periods than many other cases. The case features a large opening for the camera and adequate openings for the volume and power buttons.

Like earlier Mophie cases, the iPhone 5 battery case includes forward facing speaker ports to direct music and sound at the user instead of to the side, which makes it easier to hear dialogue.

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We tested the Mophie Juice Pack Helium iPhone 5 battery case through several charging cycles and found that it can reliably charger the iPhone 5 up to 60-65% in an hour. This is short of Mophie’s claim of 80% more battery life, but still respectable. With this case most iPhone 5 users can get through even a heavy day of mobile use.

Users can charge the iPhone 5 battery case and the iPhone 5 at the same time, and the case charges in about an hour. The case charges with a Micro USB cable which makes it easier to find a charge while on the go. Unfortunately users cannot sync the iPhone or connect it to most car systems like SYNC with the Mophie Juice Pack Helium on. The bottom of the case is easy to slide off, but we wish users didn’t have to give up this functionality.

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The Mophie Juice Pack Helium for the iPhone 5 is the best iPhone 5 battery case available, but it’s the first certified iPhone 5 battery case, so there isn’t much competition yet. We expect more iPhone 5 battery cases to arrive by the end of March, possibly including competitors like the Third Rail system, which allows users to slide the battery off the case when they are done. There are also many iPhone 5 battery case alternatives that allow users to charge up without adding bulk to the phone.

The Mophie Juice Pack Air retails for $79.95 on Mophie and ships by the end of February in Dark Metallic and in March for Silver.

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Comments

  1. Fernando Cazares Jr says

    I received my new mophie helium case and was very please with it. The only thing that I found that could have been made better was the texture. It’s a bit slippery, and prone of falling off your hands. Which would probably break easily because of its new thin design. Other than that it’s a keeper…

  2. R M Williams says

    What has surprised me from both Mophie, and all the reviews I have read so far, is that no one has mentioned the downgrade of the USB connection in this new product from sync+charge to charge only. I’m not sure why that hasn’t been noted.

    The recommended sync process for a device in the case is now reduced to cable-via-case-base-removal, or Wi-Fi. Being a security consultant, I have a good bit of security on my laptop (LT), so the latter has been a significant challenge to overcome (READ: still trying to get it to work reliably). The security challenge adds to the already numerous issues on the forums about getting Wi-Fi sync to work at all. It seems the Windows services and the iPhone don’t like to connect very well if they’ve been apart for a while, DHCP gives it trouble, and the security passthru instructions from Apple are pretty vague.

    Is anyone in the Apple fan media willing to publicly ask Mophie about this on our behalf? I’d really like to have my cable sync back. Physical security of the data in my phone and LT is preferable to me.

    • Chris says

      THANK YOU.

      It’s a miserable downgrade. Loss of USB connection for PCs and cars is what made them go from my favorite company last gen to one of my least this one. I’ve tried asking the company about it on three separate occasions along with other issues I’ve had and ALL I’ve gotten back is a copy-pasted, vaguely related “tech-supporty” bullcrap. It’s like they just run the emails through a program that scans for basic keywords. Responding to those responses yields no answer whatsoever.

      Well, guess what, if I want a refund now, I have to pay to ship and insure it back to them for them to review my device and decide if I get a refund. I’m so disappointed in them.

      I even bought it within a few hours of announcement because I was so excited to have their new product. God, Mophie, come on.

      • Chris says

        -Quick followup:

        I just now got a message in return from a member of their team who went ahead and sent me a prepaid return label. It turns out that you just have to ask for them, I guess? In any case, it was nice to finally hear from a human in their company. A few points back for that. Getting better, Mophie.

  3. Rachel says

    Nice case, but I prefer the Pong Research case. I read that the cell phones emit a dangerous non-ionizing form of electromagnetic radiation; radiation which can be absorbed by the tissues and cells which come into close contact with the phone. That’s why I decided to do something that reduce cell phone radiation levels for protect to my family. I read about Pong Research cases, Pong technology is custom-designed for each mobile device and works to redirect radiation away from your head and body. I hesitated about it, anyway, I bought a case Pong because is the only technology proven in FCC-certified laboratories to reduce the exposure to mobile device radiation by up to 95% below the FCC limit without compromising the device’s ability to communicate.

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