Review: Mobee Technology Magic Juice
We've been following Mobee Technology and its wireless charging devices for Mac accessories over the past few years. Now, the company has finally expanded its lineup to include an iOS-compatible product: Magic Juice ($79). First shown almost a year ago at CES, Magic Juice is a 5200mAh portable battery pack with a 2.4A USB output. Although it comes with a micro-USB cable, its most noteworthy feature is the ability to charge wirelessly when used with either Magic Feet or Magic Charger. A travel bag is also included.
Visually, there’s nothing about Magic Juice that makes it stand out from the crowd, and that’s not a bad thing. The 3.6” by 1.6” by 1” box is made of glossy white plastic, with very light gray — almost white — end caps. The simple ports and controls, composed of one micro-USB port, one USB port, and a power button are all located on one short end, underneath four green battery indicator lights. Its wireless charging capabilities are all but invisible: Magic Juice shows that it’s charging when placed bottom-down on one of Mobee’s pads.
To test Magic Juice, we recharged it all the way to peak capacity, and then connected it to an iPad Air. Based on tests we’ve conducted with other batteries, we expected to see it deliver a charge of approximately 40%, hopefully a little higher. During our first test, though, the cell was only able to deliver 25%, going from 37% to 62% on the Air before becoming depleted. We ran the test again because the performance was so weak. This time, we saw an even lower result of only 13% before the iPad stopped charging, although some of the battery indicator lights stayed on. In an attempt to give the battery one last chance, we tried to fill it up one more time for a final test. Unfortunately, despite showing three lights, it wouldn’t take a charge to get all the way full. We tried both wired and wireless charging, to no avail. When we tried to deplete the battery, it would no longer actually deliver a charge. Additionally, the power button became stuck; even if the battery were working properly, it wouldn’t be possible to toggle it on and off.
As part of Mobee’s ecosystem, Magic Juice is totally solid conceptually, and the price is high, but not wholly unreasonable. Unfortunately, despite multiple tests, the performance simply isn’t there. Magic Juice quickly went from performing below expectations to not working at all. Our policy is to rate products as they come, and as a customer would receive them. That’s why Magic Juice earns a D-; it simply does not work. As much as we’ve liked Mobee’s earlier Mac products, we’ve noted faster than normal battery degradation issues with them, as well, leading us to believe that while Magic Juice’s issues might have been more rapid to appear than normal, they’re not likely to be isolated. Additional quality control and component sourcing work should be undertaken to prevent problems like this from occurring again.