Review: Mophie iPhone 3G Juice Pack air

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I can’t deny the fact that Mophie knows how to make stylish accessories for the iPhone, but after a lackluster experience with the original Juice Pack for the iPhone 3G I’m wondering if the air will fair any better.

Quick Version: The Juice Pack air has an added bonus of being not only a reserve battery pack, but also a hard cover for your iPhone 3G. It doesn’t add too much extra girth to the svelte device and comes with an on/off switch (located at the base for the reserve battery.

Extended Version: If you’re looking for gobs of extra battery life then you needn’t look here. When my iPhone 3G’s battery dipped under 10 percent I placed it into the air and got enough juice to hit the 85 to 90 percent mark. As I recall, the original Juice Pack managed to give me close to two full charges when battery life was under 20 percent. But that had an 1800 mAh battery while the air only has a 1200 mAh battery.

On the flipside, the air is a pretty nice case that more or less doubles the thickness of the iP3G, which might not be acceptable to most, but with the added value of extra power, I’m inclined to accept its portliness.

The top piece can be removed if you don’t feel like encasing your iP3G altogether and the overall size of the air was drastically reduced thanks to the microUSB port and smaller battery. Yes, it still connects to iTunes just like the original. And it still comes fully charged out of the box.

But at $80 you have other options that offer more battery life and functionality. For example, the iV from Fastmac offers at least two full charges, an LED flash and the added bonus of USB slot to charge other gadgets. Sure, it’s ginormous and doesn’t fit in your pocket, but it’s perfect for your gear bag and offers more power.

If you don’t care about such things and just want something that looks pretty, fits in your pocket, adds a bit of protection and offers emergency power then the air is should do you just fine. It comes in black, white and purple and starts shipping tomorrow.

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