Though we maintain that the iPhone 3G's battery life isn't as heinous as most people seem to think, we still think it runs out a lot faster than we would like. This isn't so bad with an MP3 player, but for a cell phone, having extra battery life could be a life saver. So we're excited to see a slew of new battery packs come out for the Apple iPhone 3G, Mophie being one of the more prominent names out there.
Mophie, if you recall, has made battery packs for the original iPhone, as well as the iPod Touch. The Juice Pack, as it's called, is constructed from matte black plastic with a nice soft feel and a surprising green interior. It looks almost identical to the Juice Packs for the other two devices, in fact. The only real difference is that each Mophie Juice Pack is molded specifically to fit each device. As such, the Mophie Juice Pack for the iPhone 3G won't work with the original iPhone, and it won't work with the iPod Touch, either, which is a disappointment. The Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 3G is quite expensive, at $99.95.
Like with the other Juice Packs, the Mophie Juice Pack for the iPhone 3G fits around the iPhone 3G like a case. In fact, it adds a substantial amount of bulk to the phone: about double the total thickness. You might not notice much of a difference if you're used to your iPhone 3G being in a large case, but we certainly did. Plus, if you already use some kind of case with your iPhone 3G, there's no way that case can also fit the Juice Pack 3G. That said, the extra beefiness of the Juice Pack makes the iPhone 3G feel more solid in the hand, which may help in the overall handling of the phone; we've always thought the iPhone 3G felt a bit too delicate when left naked, for example.
At the bottom of the Mophie Juice Pack is a simple mini USB connection, and there's a slight curved opening at the top to make room for the iPhone 3G's headphone jack. Do note that because of the closed bottom of the Juice Pack, you will have to charge the Juice Pack separately from the iPhone. On the back of the Juice Pack is a battery life indicator with four blue LEDs; all four lighting up means you're fully charged and ready to go. Fully charging the Juice Pack takes about 3 hours.
As for performance, we have no complaints. We let our iPhone 3G run down to about 5 percent or 10 percent battery life, and then placed it in the Juice Pack. It took the alarmingly low battery charge on our iPhone 3G and took it up to full battery in a couple of hours. If the iPhone 3G is already fully charged, placing it in the Juice Pack will draw power from the Juice Pack before it starts with its own battery, which is a nice touch.