I've had every version of Mophie's Juice Pack line. It's interesting to see how the product family has evolved.
Early Juice Packs were more of a sled that housed an external battery. They didn't offer much protection, but they sure extended battery life. Later Juice Packs incorporated "four corner" protection for your iPhone, offering protection from everyday abuse plus extended battery life.
But I guess Mophie wasn't satisfied to rest on its laurels, as it's introduced a new product for the iPhone 4 and 4S called the Juice Pack Pro.
So what does the $129.95 Pro have to offer that the regular Juice Pack doesn't?
Military-grade protection and the largest battery I've seen in a case.
According to Mophie's website, the Pro has an "impact- and environmental-resistant design that exceeds military specification MIL-STD 810G, which tests products across a broad range of conditions including altitude, shock and exposure to high and low temperatures, rain, humidity, sand, dust and even gunfire vibration."
I like to think it's as if a Mophie Juice Pack and an OtterBox case had an offspring.
The Juice Pack Pro is a beast of a case that adds about a pound to the phone's weight. I couldn't find the Pro's exact weight on Mophie's website, but Amazon puts the shipping weight at a pound.
The case is just under an inch thick, and it's not going to disappear into any pants pockets. I did pocket it several times, but it felt more like a brick than a phone.
Mophie includes a belt clip/holster that works well.
Besides the previously mentioned Otterbox cases, the Juice Pack Pro is one case I've felt comfortable tossing across the room. I sent it tumbling down several hallways when people in the office asked if it was tough.
It's a plastic shell covered by a rubber skin with a clear screen cover and rubber covers for every port.
The openings for the speaker and microphone allow sound through but keep dust and moisture out. But the Pro is not waterproof. You can't submerge it.
The built-in battery is rated at 2,500 mAh, which is 150 percent larger than the iPhone's included battery. Power is controlled via an on/off switch, and charging is done via a microUSB cable that also serves to sync data.
In my test, the Juice Pack Pro powered my iPhone 4 for four full 24-hour days (96 hours) of normal use.
It's not exactly easy to put on or take off.
The regular Juice Pack for my iPhone 4 can be installed or removed in about five seconds. The Pro takes more than 60 seconds to disassemble or reassemble. You have to stretch the rubber over the plastic case's corners. The rubber fits well, but you have to cajole it into place for about 30 seconds to get it seated just right in all the grooves and crevices.
The Pro comes assembled, and there are no instructions included to tell you how to take it apart, which you must do first.
You peel off the rubber skin and then pry apart the plastic case. Be careful not to rip the rubber when removing it from some of the corners of the case.
I've read several Amazon.com customer reviews that mentioned the clear screen cover and how it diminished the clarity of the iPhone's beautiful display.
To those people, I say: You don't buy the Juice Pack Pro to show off the phone's screen. You buy it because it offers total protection and long battery life.
It's also worth mentioning that the Pro has a clear plastic cover over the phone's camera lens, which will also cut down on a photo's sharpness and clarity when you need to use the camera with the case installed. Overall, I was impressed with almost every aspect of the Pro. It does exactly what it says it'll do, and it looks great.
That said, I couldn't wait to take it off my phone.
Don't get me wrong - if I need serious damage protection, like at the beach, or can't get to a power source for a few days, I'll be reaching for the Pro. But it's really too big and heavy to be an everyday case for me.
One more thing to consider: If you have any accessories with a dock connector like a speaker dock or iPod connector in your car, you won't be able to use them when the Pro is installed, as it completely blocks the phone's 30-pin dock port.
MOPHIE JUICE PACK PRO:
-Pros: I can't imagine a much tougher case or one that has such a large battery.
-Cons: It's huge and takes a long time to install or remove.
-Bottom line: If you need protection or will be away from power for a long weekend, grab the Juice Pack Pro.
-On the Web: mophie.com
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