When I make a mobile gadget purpose I typically buy a spare battery (or two). Batteries are consumables they wear out, and when using a device heavily you can exhaust a charge at the most inopportune time. Given that Apple doesn’t allow user replaceable batteries, extending battery life during heavy usage periods can be an issue. I’ve been a fan of the original Mophie Juice Box for the iPhone 3G and use it frequently. In fact, it is how I charge up my phone every night while I charge up the Juice Box at the same time. I think of that purchase as having bought an additional battery for the iPhone.
Mophie has just released a newer, slimmer version called the Juice Box Air. Slimmer might be better here for some as the original Juice Box does add some heft to your iPhone (they also have other models for the iPod Touch.) The Air addes to the profile as well but not as much, and the primary focus of this new edition seems to be reducing the profile and bulk. That said, I’ve never really been bothered by the extra bulk on the iPhone 3G as the design makes it feel comfortable enough in my hand.
The Juice Box Air promises to add 4.5 hours of 3G talk time and over 9 hours of 2G talk time. The range for other usages fall in between those two claims. This is less than the original but then the original Mophie battery was an 1800 mAh and the Air features a 1200 mAh battery. The Juice Box Air also doubles as a complete hard case for your device, unlike the original which leaves the top of the device protruding from the enclosure.
One potential downside is that the Air now uses a micro USB connector, (one more cable to toss in the gear bag) which is a choice I’m sure was made to decrease the size.
In my usage I hardly ever exhaust the battery in the original Mophie, so I’ll be interested to see if this newer, slimmer design can get me through a routine day. The cost is $79.95 and you’ve got a choice of three colors.