Earlier this week we discovered a keyboard that is actually cool. Can we now same the same thing about an iPhone case? Yes… with reservations.
Chances are you have heard of Mophie. The California-based company has garnered a lot of attention in recent years having become obsessed with finding a solution to that most nigglesome of tech problems: smartphone battery life. Mophie focuses solely on Apple products and the latest addition to its so-called 'Juice Pack' range, the 'Plus', is arguably its most important product to date.
What gets us excited is the technical achievement. The Plus is currently only available for the iPhone 4, but it crams a 2000 mAh battery inside. To put this in perspective the iPhone 4 has a 1420mAh battery. On its own Apple claims the iPhone 4 is good for seven hours talk time on 3G or up to 300 hours of standby, six hours of 3G web surfing (10 hours on WiFi), up to 10 hours of video playback or up to 40 hours of audio playback. In isolation these sound impressive, and they are, but when you're listening to music while surfing the web over 3G and running GPS in the background battery life goes down fast.
Consequently Mophie claims the Plus can more than double the iPhone 4's stamina. It adds eight hours of 3G talk time, seven hours of 3G web surfing (11 on WiFi), 11 hours of video playback or 44 hours of audio playback. Essentially it is like having a second iPhone in your pocket when the first runs out. Furthermore at 70g it has a bearable weight premium. The reservation? It costs £89.95.
So how does Mophie go about justifying something that costs as much as two iPod shuffles? Thankfully in a number of ways. The first thing you'll notice about the Plus is its construction. Mophie doesn't market it as a rugged case, but at 18mm at its thickest point it is thinner than many rugged cases and tougher too. I suspect the reasoning behind this is the Plus doesn't specifically cover the screen, instead using a bevel to protect it from falls onto flat surfaces. That said many rugged cases, including Tech 21's famed iBand with d3o, do the same.
Secondly the Plus is very well constructed. It doesn't just feel rugged, it feels good in hand. Mophie has used an injected rubber finish and the back is curved so, while bigger, it actually feels better to hold during phone calls. Obviously rubber also provides a better grip than Apple's stylish, but somewhat impractical glass front and rear.
On top of this it is the little touches that impress…