Last October, I complained about iPhone case maker Mophie’s lackluster iPhone 7 support. I wanted to follow up; in the interim, Mophie has added iPhone 7 support to its Juice Pack line of battery-equipped cases. Specifically, they have launched the Juice Pack Air for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. According to Mophie, “The protective juice pack air battery case has the power to extend the life of your iPhone 7 to a total of 27 hours,” and “the life of your iPhone 7 Plus to a total of 33 hours.” Please note that this is not an additional 27 or 33 hours; it simply adds backup battery life to the iPhone’s built-in battery.
The iPhone 7 case includes a battery with 2,525 milliampere hours (mAh) of charge, and the iPhone 7 Plus case has a surprisingly smaller 2,420 mAh battery. According to bgr.com, the internal battery of the iPhone 7 holds 1,960 mAh of charge; and the 7 Plus has a 2,900 mAh battery.
These numbers, while a bit arcane, can be more useful than promises of however many hours of life. Nobody uses their smartphones for just one thing, so promising a certain number of hours to do just that one thing doesn’t make sense. Howtogeek.com discusses battery health, and an iPhone app that can check it. They explain:
Finally, there’s an option to see how long your battery will last in an array of the phone’s states, whether its 3G talk time or 3G browsing, Wi-Fi, LTE, video, and more. Being able to check how much time you can expect the phone to go between charges can help you better gauge how you can use your iPhone if you find yourself far removed from a power outlet.
I’m always happy for extra battery life (road warrior that I am), but I do wish Mophie offered as many battery case options for the iPhone 7 as they do for the 6S: from the 1,560 mAh Juice Pack Wireless; to the 1,840 mAh Juice Pack Reserve; to the 2,750 mAh Juice Pack Air and waterproof Juice Pack H2PRO; to the 3,300 mAh Juice Pack Plus and storage-equipped Space Pack; all the way to the 3,950 mAh Juice Pack Ultra. Maybe they’ll add these larger-battery models for the iPhone 7 in the future, but given how Apple keeps redesigning their phones every other year (if not every year!), they seem doomed forever to play catch-up. DOOMED!
In the meantime, I’m very happy with the newest feature of the Mophie Juice Pack: wireless charging. Now, this isn’t quite the “charging over the air” technology dreamt up by Nikola Tesla (and demonstrated in this 2009 TED Talk from “Wireless electrician” Eric Giler):
In order to recharge the new Juice Pack, you place it on a suitable charging mat. What’s exciting is that Mophie has adopted the Qi wireless charging standard, so it works with ANY manufacturer’s Qi-enabled charging mat. In my own home, I use Mophie’s Charge Force Desk Mount in my office; but in my living room, I have a Qi™ Wireless Charging Pad from Belkin; and in my bedroom, I have Anker’s PowerPort Qi 10. And they all work with the Juice Pack, as long as they get enough power from the wall. Mophie recommends at least a 1.8-amp output. For reference, the standard iPhone wall charger puts out only 1.0 amps: enough to charge an iPhone directly, but not enough to deliver the necessary power to the iPhone in a Juice Pack case, and certainly not wirelessly. To be sure the phone will get enough steady power, I plug my Qi mats into USB ports at least powerful enough to charge an iPad (2.1 amps).
The Belkin and Anker Qi mats just sit on the table passively, lighting up when I place my Juice-Packed iPhone 7 on them. Sometimes it’s not a bullseye, and the mat won’t charge the phone. It can be a little frustrating, trying to line up the case with the charging mat, but I’m optimistic that the technology will continue to improve. There’s one promising technology out there: WiPAT (Wireless Power Charger Position Alignment Technology) from South Korean developers SNPowercom.
The alignment problem does NOT occur, I’m happy to say, with Mophie’s own Charge Force mounts. This is because they auto-align the Juice Pack with magnets. These are sufficiently strong magnets in both case and dock, so that the phone can be held up entirely upright (and even lean forward!) without risk of falling or losing the necessary alignment. But the strong magnets do have a downside.
Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I didn’t put out a post last week. That’s because I was celebrating my birthday in Las Vegas. But without fail, inspiration hits, even when I’m on vacation. You see, I always keep my iPhone in its magnetically-enhanced Juice Pack case, and that combination is always in my pocket when I’m on the go. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for any magnetically-sensitive items I may also have in my pockets from time to time: namely, hotel room keycards.
While exploring Las Vegas, I kept my keycard and iPhone in the same pocket, only to discover upon returning to the hotel that the Juice Pack’s magnetic case had erased the strip on the back of the keycard. After getting a replacement keycard, I made sure to keep it in a different pocket from the iPhone.
So this is my warning to hotel travelers who have, or are thinking of getting Mophie’s Charge Force-enabled battery cases, such as the new Juice Pack for iPhone 7. Bear in mind the age-old question posed by the Insane Clown Posse:
They work well. Very well. Perhaps a bit TOO well. ◼︎