During CES 2014, Gizmo Scoop was provided samples of Mophie Juice Pack Air for review.
Mobile is a very crowded and competitive space to introduce a new product. At CES 2014, no less than 10 different manufacturers were hawking iPhone battery cases. The designs were unique but they all provided one common feature. Extra battery life.
Mophie, is one of the larger manufacturers in this space. Having been to the market first with their iPhone battery cases. The Juice Pack line includes the Helium (80% battery life), Air (100% battery life) and Plus (120% battery life). Each of the products within the line provide extra talk time (or game time) when running low.
The Juice Pack Air that was provided to Gizmo Scoop was noted to be very well designed. Unlike the Juice Pack Helium, which is coated with a slightly slippery plastic, the Juice Pack Air is coated with a slightly rubberized and snug fitting exterior. One cant help see how much more well engineered the Juice Pack Air is to the Juice Pack Helium. The differences between the two models extend beyond the battery life. The Juice Pack Air has enclosed buttons versus the exposed buttons on the Juice Pack Helium.
Gizmo Scoop editors ended up buying a Juice Pack Helium for comparison A-B testing. Our long term test has proved that the Juice Pack Helium cannot hold up to the Juice Pack Air in durability and toughness. When accidental dropped, our iPhones protected by the Juice Pack Air held up much better than the Helium. Both devices protected the phone very well, neither iPhone had a broken screen. But the damage on the external case revealed which was tougher.
On the positive side the case is perfect for a klutz like me. On the downside the case does require thinner headphone connectors to work. The iPhone headset would barely fit, and necessiated the use of the headphone jack extension that Mophie provides.
The Mophie case worked great, and continues to work. Though its battery life after close to 16 months of use has reduced by half. The phone is heavily used and the fact that it still operates in late 2015 is amazing. Needless to say this editor of Gizmo Scoop just placed an order for a new Mophie Juice Pack Air for his aging iPhone5s.
Want to order a Mophie Juice Pack Air? Follow us to our amazon link
In the crowded mobile battery case market PhoneSuit is probably a brand you would not readily recognize. In CES 2014, Gizmo Scoop was given a tester PhoneSuit Elite iPhone 5/5s battery case.
This is the same year that Gizmo Scoop received the Mophie Juice Pack Air and the EnerPlex Surfr phone battery cases. Among the three mobile battery cases received, PhoneSuit was probably the most underwhelming to look at. Its matte black case made it really stylish and yet hard to find in the center console of a car with black interior.
GizmoScoop found the case very well made. Each of the manufacturers provided a different form factor to inserting the phone. Of the three, PhoneSuit was the easier to get in and out. It also was the easiest to connect an headphone to. The design is so simple that we were surprised that the other manufactures had not considered it.
PhoneSuit’s case is extremely simple to operate. All the buttons are fully exposed (unlike the Mophie Juice Pack Air and the EnerPlex Surfr) like the Mophie Juice Pack Helium. The battery system could be turned on and off by a simple button on the back. The sleek looks
made its way to operations too. PhoneSuit had a 80% battery life, meaning your iDevice could be recharged from 20% to full. The overall life of the battery was good, but it seemed the overly heavy use by this editors girlfriend drained its lifespan by half. By October of 2014, the battery was down to roughly 50% of life. By February of 2015, the battery in the PhoneSuit was down to 25%.
The battery life may be an statistical outlier, as this editors girlfriend is a huge candy crush addict. So much so that the battery would get charged individually when drained. One thing we noticed was the way PhoneSuit charged the phone vs. other manufacturer’s whose products were tested at the same time. The PhoneSuit case would charge itself first before charging the phone. EnerPlex and Mophie charged the phone first before the case. This meant that the PhoneSuit case was faster to charge separately from the phone than charged together with a 2 amp charger.
Enerplex is a division of Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. Ascent is known for their highly efficient thin-film solar modules (otherwise known as CIGS (copper Iridium Gallium (di)Selenium). Enerplex brand products include portable solar battery chargers as well as battery packs for mobile devices.
When EnerPlex came up with the brilliant idea of combining an iPhone 5/5s battery case with their solar panels for recharge capabilities, they had hit on a jackpot. Integrating a CIGS thin solar panel with a battery pack case is an ideal solution to satisfying the energy sapping vampires that are characteristic to mobile devices.
Gizmo Scoop was provided a sample EnerPlex Surfr device to review during CES 2014. It must be noted that the device was a pre-production model and was not due for retail for another 6-8 months. Due to confidentiality reasons, Gizmo Scoop did not write a public review until the product was launched to the public. However Gizmo Scoop did provide EnerPlex feedback on the device.
Gizmo Scoop editors used the device for a period 8 months. During the the time, the build quality of the device deteriorated. The glue holding the outer ‘blue’ ring wore down. Eventually the inserts that correspond to the buttons on the iPhone fell out. The editors super glued the trim ring of the case back but eventually other sections of the trim ring glue deteriorated. At this point Gizmo Scoop editors decided that the build quality issues of the device have to be addressed and contacted EnerPlex.
Outside of the trim ring issue, the device actually worked like promised. The battery life is rated 80% of an iPhone 5s battery (thus recharging your phone from 20% to 100%). The sound quality of the phone was great and the overall build quality of the case is excellent. The solar panel were the only issue. The manufacturer claim of 15 minutes of talk time per hour of recharge was only good if the phone was left in direct sunlight or close enough to direct sunlight. Leaving the phone in the hot sun seemed to drain the battery faster. We noted the case would not charge in office or artificial lighting. This maybe an issue with CIGS panels.
Overall we were very pleased with the device. It is our understanding that EnerPlex fixed the trim ring issues and the product is now available for retail purchase. The device is a good competitor to Mophie and PhoneSuit.
If you would like to purchase a EnerPlex Surfr, follow our link to Amazon