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When Apple switched from the EDGE network to the 3G version, iPhone 3G users gained wireless network speeds were sorely lacking in the past. However, this speed increase does come with a price: decreased battery life! Due to the power demands of the 3G chip, the newest iPhone has a much shorter battery life than its predecessor; especially when operating on the 3G network. One way to save battery life is to switch the iPhone’s settings to the EDGE network, but that is counter to why most people bought the phone.

Solutions to the battery issue involve carrying a charging cable and having access to either an electric outlet or a car charger. Of course, sometimes these options are feasible or possible. On the market, there are external battery packs, but none of these devices have not been certified by Apple, so there is always a chance, you may damage your iPhone using one of these products. That is, until now. Mophie has released the Juice Pack for the iPhone 3G which is the first Apple certified external battery solution.

The Juice Pack is a lithium polymer battery housed in a soft rubberized case. With a fully charged Juice Pack, one can significantly increase their standby, talk, internet use, audio and video playback times. In fact, Mophie uses an Apple designated connector which is only available through Apple certified vendors.

The Juice Pack features a pass through USB which allows the iPhone 3G to charge and sync via iTunes. In addition, the Juice Pack can be charged by itself or simultaneously with the iPhone 3G attached.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Juice Box is that it has Intelligent Power Distribution meaning the Smart Battery Technology will instruct the iPhone to always drain out the Juice Pack first. Thus, when the Juice Pack’s power is exhausted, detach the iPhone and the phone will be fully charged. Besides this, the Juice Pack had built in overcharge, short circuit and temperature protection.

If you check out the Mophie website, you can see that they don’t take themselves too seriously and have a whimsical outlook which comes across in the packaging for the Juice Pack. The device comes wrapped in black paper with a green ribbon and a sticker that says “Thirsty” on the back. While on the front embossed in the paper is the phrase “mophie loves you” and the Mophie logo. Kind of feels like a present doesn’t it?

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After removing the paper, we find the Mophie Juice Pack in a black cardboard box with a clear window displaying the device. On this window is the name of the device and the model iPhone which it is designed to be used with.

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The back of the box lists the features of the Juice Pack and has a clear opening which displays the four LED Charge Status Indicator. This back panel opens outward to list the increase in usage times the Juice Pack provides to the iPhone 3G.

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Inside the package we find the Juice Pack 3G, a USB mini cable and the User’s Manual. The User Manual is a fold out cardboard and unfortunately does not provide much information about the device usage. Luckily the device’s use is pretty self explanatory.

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The Juice Pack measures 2.5” x 4.75” x 0.75” and weighs 3 oz. The outside shell is a rubber black material with the inner portion fluorescent green. Luckily, this green part is mostly covered by the iPhone 3G, so there is no need to worry about color clash.

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The front of the Juice Box has the Mophie logo at the base. Just above this logo is the iPod connector. On the bottom, we find a mini USB connector and on the back is the four LED Charge Status Indicator and check button.

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Specifications:

Mophie Juice Pack – iPhone 3G
The All-New mophie ‘Juice Pack 3G’ is now shipping and is designed to more than double the time you can Rock, Talk, Surf and Send with your iPhone 3G.
This is the first Apple certified “Works With iPhone 3G” attached battery in the world!
Juice Pack 3G is specially designed for iPhone 3G and has passed the strict over-the-air performance tests by an Apple designated test lab. As a result, the Mophie Juice Pack 3G has been officially certified by Apple Inc. as a “Work with iPhone 3G” product!
Mophie Juice Pack 3G also uses Apple designated connector, which can only be ordered through Apple’s certified vendors. This ensures its 100% compatibility with your iPhone 3G.

The Juice Pack is a rechargeable lithium polymer battery in the form of a non-slip, soft grip case. It extends the time that you can use your iPhone 3G in these ways (additional hours):
Standby Time – Up to 350 hours
* Talk Time – Up to 6 hours on 3G | Up to 12 hours on 2G

* Internet Use – Up to 6 hours on 3G | Up to 7 hours on Wi-Fi

* Audio Playback – Up to 28 hours

* Video Playback – Up to 8 hours

All juiced up and ready to go…straight out of the box!


The Juice Pack arrives precharged, so just open the package and slide the iPhone 3G into the device. If the iPhone 3G is not at 100% power, then the charge indicator on the phone will light up when plugged into the Juice Pack. That all there is to using the Juice Pack, just plug and go.

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For charging the Juice Pack, there are two options, plug the mini USB connector into the device and then the standard USB connector into a PC or Mac, or you can place the USB plug it into the iPhone 3G AC adapter. Understandably, the Juice Pack takes several hours to charge since it holds twice the charging capacity of the iPhone 3G. When the Juice Pack’s LED indicators are all lit up, then the device is fully charged; plus the user can press the button next to these LED to know when the device needs more “juice”.

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If you need to sync your iPhone, the USB connection acts as a pass through and works with iTunes. Also, the iPhone can be charged while plugged into the charging Juice Pack.

I have tested the Mophie Juice Pack for the past two weeks and found it works as advertised. For the first week, I let my iPhone 3G run down to the less than 20% charge point and plugged it into the Juice Pack. It took the Juice Pack about two hours to get the iPhone 3G fully charged. I then unhooked the Juice Pack and used my iPhone normally. The next time, the battery was near full discharge, I reconnected the Juice Pack and it was able to recharge the iPhone one more time before its charge was fully expended. The fully charged Juice Pack was able to provide two full recharges of the iPhone 3G.

The next test was using the Juice Pack with the iPhone 3G as a case and additional power source. After several cycles of my normal iPhone 3G usage, I found the Mophie Juice Box basically doubles the run time of the iPhone 3G.

One of the nicest features of the Mophie Juice Pack is that it doubles as a case, thus keeping the iPhone 3G safe and usable while providing additional power. Other battery solutions attach to the iPhone connector plug and hang off of it, rendering the iPhone unusable during the charging cycle.

The casing is solidly constructed and covers the back and sides well. However, the front and top of the iPhone 3G do remain exposed and can be easily damaged. So as a case, the Juice Box is not the best that I have seen. Plus, the casing does double the bulk of the iPhone, giving it the size and feel of a blackberry device.


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Conclusion:

Most everyone with an iPhone 3G has encountered the dreaded you have 20% charge remaining and not had access to a charger. These situations are what the Mophie Juice Box was created for! This device is the perfect source of extra power and provides additional protection as an iPhone case. I found very little to complain about with this product. Other than the price, it seems to be the perfect solution for the power iPhone user.

Pros:
Doubles battery life of iPhone
Smart Charge Circuitry
Comfortable to use
Non slip case
Intelligent Power Distribution

Cons:
Price
Case does not fully protect iPhone
Can’t be used with other cases

Grades:  
Overall score 9 10 thumb1 Mophie Juice Pack   iPhone 3G
Design score 9 10 thumb1 Mophie Juice Pack   iPhone 3G
Performance score 9 10 thumb1 Mophie Juice Pack   iPhone 3G