As past of my San Diego Comic-Con experience, I was lucky enough to be given a Mophie Juice Pack Plus to test as a back up power source for my iPhone. I always meant to get one but never had the $$ and the time to pick one up. Of course, zillions of people already have one, so I’m not spilling any secrets when I say that the Mophie made this Comic-Con a breeze compared to past ones, where finding a power outlet to charge my phone every six hours or so was my main goal in life.
For those of you who don’t use one, the Juice Pack slides around your iPhone, plugs into the dock connector and gives up to eight hours of extra battery life for talking and 11 for surfing the web. A switch allows you to turn on the extra joice when needed, or keep it in reserve. I have an older iPhone 4 that doesn’t hold a charge so good, so having the juice at the con for hours of those Hipstamatic photos Beat readers love so much, recording interviews for our podcast and checking Twitter to find out what the hell was going on—not to mention constant texting to see where I was going to eat dinner—put quite a strain on the old battery. Thanks to the Mophie, the only time I ran out of power was after live tweeting the Eisner Awards for three hours, an intensive episode that would tax any gadget.
Otherwise, it was all smooth sailing. In fact, every time I went to a press event, half of the journos were already using an external battery, so I way wayyyy late to this particular party.
As useful as it is, there are a few things that make this more “on the road” gear than everyday. In order to charge your phone and download photos and what not, you must use the Mophie’s mini-USB connector instead of the regular Apple cord. I have like six of those floating around the house so plugging in the phone to charge is never a problem. (I have an Apple cord plugged in to every computer I use, and when I get an iPhone 5x, i’d going to curse the new Lightning connector.) Using the provided cord charges both the phone and the battery pack, so it’s useful, but if you leave it plugged in to one computer and leave it at the office (as I did the other day), you will have to take the iPhone out of the battery pack to charge it. And it’s not the easiest thing in the world to take the phone in and out of the pack, which fits very snugly.
The other thing that I didn’t like is that the Mophie pack is black and I prefer to keep my phone in a colorful cover to make it easier to find inside a cavernous purse and harder to leave behind in a cab, as I did twice previously when I used a black case. (But I got it back both times, amazingly.) Mophie power packs come in other colors, however, so this can be remedied.
Anyway, I consider this a convention necessity, and when I get the next iPhone, I’m definitely investing in a corresponding power pack for travel and Hipstamatic. Because if there is one thing I know beat readers love, it’s my Hipstamatic photos!
[This product was provided to me by Mophie’s PR company for review.]
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.