Review: Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro
With Lightning-specific battery options still in short supply for iOS device users, device-agnostic solutions with USB ports have remained useful -- and arguably dominant -- as tools to keep the latest iPads, iPhones, and iPods running well past their promised run times. Having recently reviewed high-capacity batteries including Lenmar's Undead Power Helix and semi-rugged batteries such as Just Mobile's Gum Max Duo, we've circled back to check out some of Mophie's universal options, including today's review of Juice Pack Powerstation Pro ($100). Looking more like a compact ruggedized hard drive than a battery, Powerstation Pro has a lot in common with Mophie's Juice Pack Powerstation Duo, sitting in the middle of the pack in performance and pricing while featuring a nice design.
The pitch with Juice Pack Powerstation Pro is simple: you get the same 6000mAh battery capacity as the Juice Pack Powerstation Duo, swap a trimmer frame for a bulkier rubber-coated one, and lose one of two outbound USB ports. Mophie offers Powerstation Pro with black or orange rubber trims, each promising IP-65 dust-proofing and water-resistance. That rating means it can resist splashes or the occasional raindrop, which while falling short of actual water submersion is a greater degree of water resilience than virtually all of the batteries we’ve tested—assuming that its ports are covered rather than exposed.
Juice Pack Powerstation Pro looks like a 4.45” by 2.7” by 1” box that’s just a little puffier at its corners than elsewhere, with hex-shaped screws holding the almost complete rubber frame in place around an otherwise silver metallic and black plastic box. Two flip-open rubber ports on one thin side reveal inbound micro-USB and outbound full-sized USB ports, while an adjacent button on one wide side triggers a four-light yellow dot battery level indicator. Powerstation Pro is recharged at up to 2.1-Amp speeds using an included Micro-USB cord and your computer or device’s USB adapter; you must provide your own Dock Connector or Lightning cable.
From a specifications standpoint, Powerstation Pro is like any number of 2012-vintage batteries, featuring a 2.1-Amp device charging speed that’s a bit below the 2.4-Amp peaks of third- and fourth-generation iPads, and only enough power to restore around 1/3 of their oversized batteries. However, the 6000mAh cell’s capacity and speed are well-suited to the iPad mini, which we were able to bring from 0% to 95% power in a little over two and a half hours. That’s a little less than the Powerstation Duo, which delivered a 105% charge but surprisingly ran at a much slower speed—roughly twice the time demanded by Pro, despite an identical claim of 2.1-Amp output. For reference, iPhone users can expect two full recharges and a little spare change at the end, while iPod users should expect three or more refuels.
As we often note about Mophie batteries, the biggest issue here isn’t the design, but the performance for the price. While both of Mophie’s 6000mAh cells go for $100, rivals such as uNu and Lenmar sell much higher-capacity 11,000mAh cells for $80 to $100, so if raw recharging strength is your goal, other options might better suit your needs. However, the comparison’s not entirely clear-cut, as actual recharging performance isn’t always as impressive as it looks on paper, and Juice Pack Powerstation Pro’s enclosure is quite unique. The size is nice, the build quality is impressive, and the ruggedization is substantial, offering a smaller, lower-capacity alternative to Just Mobile’s Gum Max Duo at a lower price. All in all, Powerstation Pro merits our general recommendation; it’s not the fastest or most capacious $100 battery we’ve tested, but it does a good enough job—particularly with the iPad mini—to merit consideration, particularly if you need something with extra rubber port and body protection.