Mophie Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 4

mophie-juice-pack.jpgLike Cory, I suffer from a very poor sense of direction. I never know which way to turn when I leave my hotel room or step out of a restroom. When I'm walking around a city, even one I'm familiar with like Los Angeles, I can easily get lost. When I'm with my wife I let her lead the way.

Ever since I've had an iPhone with GPS I've become totally dependent on it. It's so useful to have it in a place like New York. When I'm walking down the street I can look at the screen and the little blue dot tells me where I am. The problem is that when I'm using the GPS radio, the batteries drain pretty quickly. So I have to conserve my use. But now that I have a Mophie Juice Pack Plus -- a $99 rechargeable external battery case for my iPhone (the manufacturer sent me an evaluation unit) -- I can stare at my iPhone the entire time I'm in public without having to worry that the battery will lose its charge before I get back to my hotel.

The Mophie adds some bulk and weight to the phone, but not much. It's got a power switch so that when the iPhone's battery is starting to die I can switch over to the Mophie's battery. It's kind of like those old cars that had two gas tanks in them -- when one tank ran out you turned a valve to start getting gasoline from the other tank.

When the case is on you use the included micro USB port to charge the phone's battery, the Mophie's battery, and to synchronize the phone with iTunes. The Mophie comes with a four-LED status indicator to let you know how much charge remains.

The manufacturer claims that the Mophie is rechargeable for over 500 cycles, and that partial cycles aren't counted as full cycles. That means you can charge the Mophie's battery 10% of the way 10 times before counts as a full cycle. The Mophie's battery is designed to drain before the iPhone's battery drains, so that means when the juice pack has done its thing you can remove it and your iPhone will be fully charged.

I haven't measured how much more time the Mophie gives me. Here are the manufacturer's specs:

Up to 8 add'l hours talk time on 3G; 16 hours 2G
Up to 7 add'l hours internet on 3G; 11 hours WiFi
Up to 44 add'l hrs audio playback
Up to 11 add'l hrs video playback

This means I can play Fruit Ninja the whole time I'm on a flight from Los Angeles to New York, and still have enough juice to find my way to Forbidden Planet in Manhattan.

Mophie Juice Pack Plus Rechargeable Battery and Case for iPhone4


  1. Look at yourself man! Look at what you’ve become!

    Seriously, navigating a new place is not just fun, but it’s mentally stimulating too. It trains a different kind of intelligence we don’t often train (other than in 3d games) spacial intelligence.

    As a general rule, if you find yourself ever being so reliant on a technology that you just couldn’t be without it..put it down for a few days and learn to adjust without it. Even cell phones or the Internet or whatever, it’s awfully healthy to take a break for a few days every once in awhile.

    Hell, NYC isn’t that hard to navigate – I remember wandering around all on my own the first time I went there, when I was 11 years old and visited for a couple weeks, I kept a map in my pocket and rarely needed’s all numbered!

    Life should be a constant game, in every aspect, in every way. Games aren’t fun if you put “God Mode” on all the time ;)

    1. As others have noted, not every city is on a grid system–hell, even Lower Manhattan can be confusing. (There are three different streets in it named Broadway, for one thing.) I’m sure that your friends are amused when you tell them that “life should be a constant game” when you show up three hours late for a dinner date, though.

  2. I’ve never understood why Apple don’t do phones with changeable batteries just like every other phone manufacturer.

    Although an external battery pack does have the advantage of not needing the phone to be rebooted when changing over

  3. brookyn is way more confusing than manhattan. i’ve lived in wburg for more than a year and i still get lost. but yeah, it’s also the only way i’ve been able to get more familiar with my surroundings.

  4. Droid Incredible with extended (and swappable spare) battery. Google Maps with live turn-by-turn directions, including Street View. For in-mobile GPS navigation, iPhone doesn’t even come close to Android’s offering.

  5. The Energizer energi-to-go has been great. I prefer that it’s not a bulky case. And you can get 3 for the $$$ of one Morphie, plus it can charge any other usb electronic device too.

    I feel like I’m in a commercial, though they didn’t send me a test-unit for free. Energizer says “free tips for life” though that really means you pay $3 each for shipping.

  6. When my GPS device runs out, I rely on my guide books/map/public kiosks, and broken visiting tongue (if necessary).

    Just another option ;)

  7. Get a compass. As one of the directionally challenged, I have found that using a real compass has improved my sense of direction. Urban orienteering is fun!

  8. I’m glad that the version of this thing for the 3GS is a lot cheaper; $99 is what I paid for my iPhone.

  9. Ok this isn’t so much about the battery gadget, but the two-gas-tanks bit. Deal. :)

    I can’t speak for any cars other than the one I have – a 1958 Mercedes, an old family car that I’m in the process of tearing down and restoring. These cars had a “reserve tank” that you could engage with a pull-knob on the dash. And as I’ve learned recently, it wasn’t a seperate tank or anything – it was just two fuel lines into the tank; the secondary line drew fuel from the bottom of the tank, and the primary line drew fuel from above that. In essence, you could “run out of gas” as far as the primary line went, but there would still be fuel in the tank – just sitting below where the primary line could access. Pop the reserve on and it would switch which fuel line is used.

  10. I like the power, a major stress for me is being stuck without a place to plug in or forgetting to charge. I am surprised to see so many uber-geeks go the iPhone route where you dont have real root access or your collection of normal linux/unix console tools.
    I have the same navigation issue, it is common for geeks who space out and spend all there energy on long term high level processing. My problem was navigating hospitals all over a new as a Paramedic. I ended up mentally saving two landmarks for every turn I made, even if it was just a streak in the floor or a potted plant. It was the only way to keep my EMT junior partner from having fun with me watching his ‘boss’ get lost.

  11. I use my Nexus One for the same reason. It’s great. But I also appreciate wanting to figure out and explore without “cheating”. With a little preparation – studying maps beforehand, perhaps making hand-drawn simplified maps for tricky and/or key spots, etc., I can almost always go where I want to without checking the GPS.

    But, there are two complicating factors: first is that I’m something of an expert with maps and navigation, so I can do this with little difficulty. Second is that you have to not be lazy, and you have to have time to do this preparation, which isn’t always the case. And then you realize that by using the GPS (and the google maps lookup of your destination) you can get all the advantages of figuring out and exploring – so long as you don’t just blindly follow it – without the time-consuming parts. It’s all in how you use it.

    If you have to use it more than one or two times for the same route (say, Penn Station to Forbidden Planet) then either you’re following blindly or, as is perfectly reasonable, you’re really just not good at directions. That’s fine and I don’t think it’s any kind of problem – you probably avoid most of the getting lost moments (not the good kind) that happen every time one goes out without a map or with just hand-drawn maps (that’s usually when the GPS comes out, and then you see what a stupid mistake you made).

  12. What happened to your love of DIY hacks, Mark? This, instead of a make-your-own Minty Boost in a neat little Altoids tin? Pennies if you make it yourself, or $19 as a kit.

    The best thing about it is that after you’ve recharged the rechargeable batteries 500 times, you simply pop in a fresh set of $2 batteries. No need to go out and pay $100 again.

    Speaking of which, if someone were offering to recharge my phone for 20 cents a pop, I’d think they were mad…

  13. $99?!

    What! I’ve bought lots of replaceable batteries for Android phone. Roughly $7 each, and i’ve got 3-4 of them. I keep them in my wallet fully charged for when i run out of juice and just replace them there and then.

    For the same price as that iPhone juice pack, you could get 14 extra batteries for an android phone.

  14. It’s kind of like those old cars that had two gas tanks in them…

    The funny thing about those were, it was all an
    illusion that there were two tanks. It’s one gas tank, and the “reserve”
    lever simply allows you to drain the tank to the
    bottom, whereas without it, your engine will physically run
    out of gas, even though the tank’s not empty. The old VW beetle had one, bless it.

    Wonder who that brilliant engineer was who said, “Hey guys, can we just make a light go on when it’s near empty, instead of actually starving the car to a halt?

  15. When I changed out the traffic pilot’s radio in his Cessna he’d have me go up with him. He flew out of Concord so he went over my house to get to the major highways and do his reports. He had me pick out my home from the air. Nothing was where I thought it was. We create relative mental maps to negotiate our travels. I always picked a landmark when I was in a new place. Could be a church tower, a bank, a store, a street clock and used that as my reference point. I explained my method so well to my kids that when my son took off from school one day his navigation was flawless.
    I think you need a map to sense the overall scheme. That said, good luck with all those strange street fragments in the East Village. Even O’Henry commented on them.

  16. When are they gonna make everything solar/ambient motion powered(is that what it’s called? like those expensive watches…)?

  17. I’m worried. If I lose my i-phone I will be three hours late for dinner parties because I won’t know where I am going. If I lose my i-phone I won’t have video games with me every minute of the day. I worry about living if I lose my i-phone. Maybe I should have three, just in case.

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