We’re more connected today than we’ve ever been. But all those notifications and streaming media and games make getting through an entire day a struggle. Starting your day around 7 means lights out for your phone by 4 or 5, maybe even earlier for some. What do you do? You can take advantage of a portable battery, or—likely the preferred method—use a case with battery built-in.
What is the What?
The Mophie Juice Pack Helium offers full case protection with a 1500mAh built-in battery. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that. There are two pieces, one that essentially protects the entirety of your iPhone 5, while the bottom, smaller piece connects into the device’s Lightning connector. That part is important because, not only does is have an LED power indicator, but a standby switch so you don’t have to ABC (always be charging).
Who’s it For?
Power users. If your phone is constantly glued to your hand, you may need a Helium. It’ll reinvigorate your device with a charge when you need it most.
Surprisingly not bad. I’m not one for cases, but the soft touch feels great. It certainly adds some heft, but not so much where you can’t still comfortably stuff a Helium-d iPhone 5 in your pocket.
That little switch on the back is essential for giving your device a jolt of power when you need it. Having that control is nice, and shows the Helium was thoughtfully designed. Also including an LED indicator was a nice touch.
Overall, the Helium promises to add about 6 hours on LTE, 30 hours of audio playback and 7 hours of video playback. That’s nice, numbers are nice. But they don’t typically reflect real-world usage. If you want piece of mind knowing your iPhone 5 won’t be dead before dinner then the Helium is perfect.
If you’re nowhere near an outlet, just flip that switch and continue playing Words With Friends, or looking at Instagram photos. It’s the easiest thing to use, and it does what it’s supposed to. I don’t use very many apps, and since I’m at work all day, I didn’t need to call on the Helium too often, even over the weekend, so I easily got through a full 72 hours without needing to charge my iPhone 5. Of course, every user’s experience will vary. It just depends on your usage.
The Helium adds an extra chin—a double chin? It’s not so terrible, but it does make weight distribution a little weird, and it also makes the iPhone 5 longer. You also can’t sync data through the Helium’s microUSB connection, which is a huge annoyance if you don’t do things over Wi-Fi.
Another big annoyance is the fact that some headphones won’t be able to plug in thanks to the added bulk. For that, Mophie has included a 3.5mm headphone extension to mitigate the problem—Apple’s stock Earpods work without issue, fyi.
Also, it must be said, but at $80 a pop, the Helium is certainly a bit pricey. Mophie’s 6000mAh Powerstation Duo is just $20 more, so there’s an obvious convenience cost added to the Helium. It may be a good value for some, and not so much for others.
Does it Belong in the Herd?
It definitely depends on your preference. If you don’t mind adding some extra bulk to your iPhone 5, then yes, get one. It’ll get you through the hard times, and keep you connected longer. It feels great, it’s relatively thin for it being a case/battery combo, and it provides some nice protection.
On the flipside, what you get may not justify the $80 cost. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone who has iPhone 5 battery complaints, though. The design itself is nice, it feels strong and the dark gray color looks great.