When it comes down to the best iPhone battery case, Mophie has always been one of our top favorites. We've taken a look at Mophie's prime battery cases for the iPhone including the Juice Pack Air and the Juice Pack Plus resulting in us awarding each a respected Editors' Choice award. Mophie has recently released a third battery case to join its lineup called the Juice Pack Pro. This is the company's most rugged battery case with the largest battery capacity yet, and as far as we know it the Juice Pack Pro is in fact the toughest iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 battery case ever made. We've put it thru our rigorous testing and we're going to tell you all about it in our full review after the break!
You know we gotta get into the nitty gritty first. Out of the box, Mophie's Juice Pack Pro comes equipped with none other than a USB charging cable and something we really didn't expect to find, a regular screen protector. We say this because the Juice Pack Pro already has a built-in screen protector. What's up with that, Mophie? But enough about that, you'll also get a beefy belt clip to perfectly complement the Juice Pack Pro if your pocket isn't up to the task in keeping this massive case inside of it. Or maybe you've got no pockets. Last but not least included are some basic instructions and info about some of the features.
The Juice Pack Pro lives up to its pro-ness name with protection and performance in mind. We have yet to see a battery case this extreme. The Juice Pack Pro really does pack a punch with a 2500mAh internal battery capacity rated to provide your completely dead iPhone enough battery reserve to charge it back up with enough power to last up to 150%. That's one full charge with plenty left over. Putting the Juice Pack Pro up against Mophie's second best, the Juice Pack Plus, the difference in battery capacity and performance isn't that far apart in practice. On paper, the Juice Pack Pro's 2500mAh battery seems to have greater impact over the 2000mAh battery inside the Juice Pack Plus.
The Juice Pack Pro looks remarkably good when looking at it from the front, around the back we can see a pretty simple rubbery tread that has a lot of grip to offer and a nice contoured body that feels good to hold in the hand despite being a really bulky battery case for obvious reasons. The black rubber does a good job in not attracting lint as well, but it can become a hassle putting this case into a pocket not to mention the hefty weight. The camera is covered with a clear plastic screen that doesn't allow for taking photos using the LED flash.
With great power comes a hefty price tag, the Juice Pack Pro is by no means an affordable iPhone case. If you want the best of both worlds, an ultra tough protective case with a capable battery backup functionality, you're going to fork out $130 for that pleasure only to have once color choice and massive bulk. For that you'll be getting a battery case that's up to military standards and rated to withstand and protect your iPhone from some hard hitting impacts, big time drops, shock and vibration, dust and sand and best of all, rain and even an unsuspecting water cooler dump on a hot summers day.
Oh yes, we most definitely put these claims to the test. Well at least the rain part of it. That meant taking it into the shower and bathing the shit out of it, with respect of course. Beware though, this isn't a waterproof case so you cannot dunk your iPhone into water. And we wouldn't tell you to try this at home. We recommend the LifeProof case for such madness. But rest assured, I'm more than confident to put my full trust in the Juice Pack Pro keeping my iPhone protected if it were to fall out of my hands at any giving time.
After all, the Juice Pack Pro is first and foremost a battery case. So how well did it perform? In our multiple testing of recharging and discharging, we were quite pleased with the results. As we found out the Juice Pack Pro wasn't able to live up to Mophie's 150% battery recharging goodness, but it also didn't disappoint in that it was easily able to recharge a lifeless iPhone 4S back to 100% in no time with 30% spare battery juice of the Pro blend left in the tank for another session of backup power. That's enough battery backup power to get you thru a full day with constant GPS tracking use and other heavy, battery intensive tasks that would otherwise take a great toll on your iPhone's original battery life.
And now for the bad and the not so good. We always make sure to scrutinise every single product we review, that means fully using it until we feel it's right to give you our yay or nay. To our dismay, we found out that while the Juice Pack Pro did not impede on the voice clarity of phone calls on our end, the opposite party complained that they were hearing themselves in a strong echo when speaking, albeit clearly. We assume this is a design flaw that has to do with the earpiece port and water-resistant mesh filter. This has happened on both a phone and mobile line using multiple devices as a test. As it turns out, multiple users have had the same issue with the Juice Pack Pro case. Bad.
The not so good has to do with the built-in screen protector. The plastic scotches too easily with regular use, and quick. The good is that the scratches aren't noticeable when the screen is on and shouldn't interfere with the touchscreen. The Juice Pack Pro shares a similar built-in screen protector found on both the Survivor and the LifeProof cases we've reviewed in that while it's optically Retina clear, it gives you the felling of using a resistive touchscreen. There's a little gap between the glass and the plastic creating a bubble and watermark-free surface, but with a noticeably tactile press that might not be very enjoyable to some. With that said, the iPhone's touchscreen does remain fully functional and responsive.
Another caveat worth noting is that rubber home button cover. It looks really great don't get me wrong, but unfortunately it doesn't offer any tactile feedback and it requires a forceful press.
The Juice Pack Pro is as tough and rugged as some of the most known iPhone cases out there including the Griffin Survivor, LifeProof and Otterbox cases. It also just happens that the Juice Pack Pro shares a very similar construction to the Survivor case in that it has two different types of qualities. The first is a hard, shatter-resistant polycarbonate frame that snap together quite easily over your iPhone while a thick and rigid rubber cladding overlays on top of the polycarbonate shell very snugly and doing so without leaving any lose ends. It takes time to properly fit the rubber layer over the polycarbonate shell, so this isn't a case you'll be taking on and off too often.
All of the iPhone's ports and buttons remain tightly sealed with built-in rubber port plugs and buttons are covered and remain easy to press, except for home button that is. The bottom two corners have flaps that reveals the micro-USB charging port that'll charge both the iPhone and the case itself at the same time while also allowing you to sync with iTunes. Facing the opposite side is where the power switch is located that starts the charging or puts the Juice Pack Pro into standby mode. Plugging in your headphones shouldn't be a problem. The cutout is deep yet wide to comply with most slim to medium sized 3.5mm plugs.
Just underneath the Juice Pack Pro are four white LEDs that will tell you the status of the remaining battery life for the unit when the little rubber button is pressed. Again, you'll need to use your fingernail to activate it. So far the Juice Pack Pro is a step backwards when it comes to buttons as oppose to Mophie's other battery cases including ones from other brands.
Unless you don't care much for the people who you converse with over the phone, Mophie's Juice Pack Pro isn't recommended by us as it greatly impedes on the third party's phone call experience with a strong case of the echoes no matter how you slice it. It's a big shame because if it weren't for the Juice Pack Pro's poor call quality performance, we would have been able to strongly recommended it to anyone looking for a solid protective battery case with loads of power to get any power user throughout an adventurous day, and then some.