A continued problem with the iPhone is that of poor battery life. I often go for country walks using the iphone for navigation, photography, uploading photos and data, and listening to music. I have found I can only get between three and fours hours of use between charges even with wifi and bluetooth turned off. So I have always had to rely on external batteries to keep me going when using my iPhone 4 intensively in this way.
I have used other external battery units and whilst all have worked well to a greater or lesser degree none have entirely answered my needs. Some have lacked the necessary amount of power, others have been poorly designed, others have been too flimsy and not offered enough protection.
This top of the range solution from Morphie seems like the answer in many ways. The build quality is very good and the case has a reassuring professional finish with a non slip rubberised feel to it. The battery power is greater than that of the iPhone's own battery and so should at least double the life of the phone between charges. There is an unobtrusive row of LED's to indicate the charging status and battery remaining for the Juicepack. You can charge both the JuicePack and iPhone battery as well as sync the iPhone without needing to remove it from the case. Full and easy access is available to the iPhone buttons and cameras. The case is constructed in such a way that it boosts the sound from the tiny iPhone speakers and this does in fact work - the sound is louder and fuller when the case is fitted.
When the case is fitted the user can select if the iPhone takes power from the Juicepack or from the internal battery. When the Juicepack power is turned on (by means of a tiny switch in the casing) the iPhone thinks it is plugged into an external power supply and charges the internal battery from it. The iPhone keeps the internal battery topped up from the Juicepack until both are exhausted. A standard USB to mini-USB cable is supllied for charging, no need to use an Apple cable.
The iPhone with the Juicepack fitted is smaller than you might suppose and feels like a new albeit larger phone rather than an existing phone with added battery. It feels smooth and elegant in the hand and looks upmarket in the way the iPhone itself does. However, the phone is now about twice as thick as it was and this may put casual users off. This is a battery first and a case second. The phone is still exposed on the front face and it is a pity no screen protector was supplied. When I fitted the Juicepack my original screen protector came off and until I fit a new one the phone feels exposed and vulnerable to damage at the front.
This case is by no means inexpensive and there are several competitors on the market which are far cheaper. However, I do look on this one as being, well, the iPhone 4 of iPhone 4 battery/cases.
The Good Good build quality At least doubles effective battery life Good documentation and packaging Uses standard USB to mini-USB cable Does not add substantially to the weight or bulk of the iPhone Case construction boosts both volume and sound quality of internal speakers Discreet LED's indicate battery condition Full access to Iphone buttons and cameras.
The Bad Adds somewhat to the size and weight of the iPhone No screen protector supplied Expensive compared to rivals Recessed headphone socket prevents use of some angled jackplugs
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