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Hands On with the Mophie Juice Pack Access

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Jan 8, 2019, 11:35 AM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome
updated Jan 9, 2019, 3:53 PM

Updated: Corrected battery life specs to indicate the smaller models offer 25 hours of talk time, not 31. Corrected to note that battery life numbers are total, not added. Added fast charging specs.

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Juice Pack Access

Battery cases are great, but they typically block the charging port, which is especially tricky with phones that lack a headset jack; the case blocks all wired connections. The Mophie Juice Pack Access solves that and other problems neatly, in a well-designed product. We took it for a spin.

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When you think of battery cases for iPhones, you probably think Mophie; they're the go-to brand for these things. They've been doing this for a while. With their newest Juice Pack, the Access, they've kicked it up a notch by solving not only the issues people had with battery cases, but issues with the iPhone itself.

A typical iPhone battery case uses — and therefore blocks — the Lightning connector on the bottom. Want to use wired earbuds or some other Lightning accessory? You have to remove the case, a multi-step process. Battery cases also block wireless charging, and they often charge via micro-USB, a common connector but not one Apple has ever used, so it doesn't really fit in the Apple ecosystem.

Lightning and USB-C connectors

Lightning and USB-C connectors

The Juice Pack Access leaves the Lightning connector free and open (hence the "access"). It does this by charging the iPhone via wireless charging through the back of the phone. As for charging the case, it supports wireless charging that way, too. Just set the iPhone+case on a wireless charger, and it will automatically charge the phone, and then the case battery. The case pulls in power wirelessly at up to 10W, and charges the iPhone at up to 5W.

Or you can charge it via the built-in USB-C connector, which Apple uses in other products like MacBooks and iPads now. If you wished Apple would hurry up and put USB-C in its iPhones, well now you have a way to add it yourself. It supports USB fast charging at up to 12W. And by keeping access to the Lightning port, you now have multiple plug options when you need to borrow a charger or connect to a public charging station.

And of course this means you now have multiple ways to charge and plug in wired headphones at the same time; no dongle required.

Juice Pack Access  

I played around with the Access for a while. I'm impressed. It looks well-designed and feels very, very sturdy. The plastic is strong, even at the normally-fragile parts where the two halves meet. It's easy to attach and remove, but doesn't feel loose when attached. The soft-touch finish feels fantastic. The design and color options are very classy and Apple-like.

(colors)

I'm not as keen on the glossy buttons, but they work very well. The ringer switch is just easy enough to access. The cutout for the camera is ample; some accessory lenses might even fit through it. And of course the bulk of the case helps protect the lens from damage and smudges.

battery meter

battery meter

There's a button on the back that lights up a white, four-LED battery meter.

I have trouble thinking of any way I would change the Juice Pack Access. As far as I can tell, it's the perfect battery case.

It comes in sizes to fit the iPhone X, Xs, Xs Max, and Xr. The smaller ones (for the X and Xs) have a battery capacity of 2,000 mAh and are claimed to give you a total 25 hours of talk time. The larger sizes (for the Xr and Xs Max) clock in at 2,200 mAh, which Mophie claims will give you about 31 hours of total talk time.

The Juice Pack Access will ship by the end of March, and sell for $119.

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