Review: Mophie Power Reserve
Mophie holds a unique place in the Apple accessory ecosystem. The company's battery packs are so iconic that the brand has become almost a generic term; it's not uncommon to hear someone refer to any iPhone battery case as "a Mophie." It also has a tight relationship with Apple, maintaining shelf space in its retail stores — often for exclusive products. This state has allowed Mophie to get away with charging higher prices for lower capacity packs when compared to lesser-known brands. With its most recent releases though, it seems as if the company has found a way to truly optimize the output from its charging accessories, providing a better value.
Space Pack, for example, provided a 25 percent greater charge than the equally-outfitted 1700mAh Juice Pack Air. Now Mophie’s latest pack, Power Reserve ($50), delivers an even more impressive performance. The 1350mAh pack is designed for charging on the go, with smart elements such as a keyring and built-in Lightning connector that make it good for travel.
Available in Mophie’s usual array of black, white, or red, Power Reserve is the size of a large matchbox: 1.5” wide, 2.84” tall, and 0.56” thick. Like all Mophie accessories, it feels really well put together, and totally solid. There’s only a single port, the Micro-USB charging input, which is to be used with the included cable. It’s on the top edge of the battery, and there are buttons on either side. One triggers the battery indicator lights, letting you know how much power is left, while the other offers a less common functionality.
The short Lightning cable rests in line with the edge of the pack when not in use, and it’s held in place by a metal shield attached to the keychain. It locks into place, keeping the plug protected. Pressing the second button releases it, making the Lightning connector ready for use. It’s interesting to note that Mophie doesn’t show its battery connected to an iPhone. The design leads to an angle that’s somewhat strange, with the handset not able to lay flat.
On its press page, Mophie says you’ll get “up to 50% extra battery” from Power Reserve. Our own testing numbers indicate the figure should actually be higher, in the 65 percent range. That’s why we were truly surprised when we ran our standard tests on an iPhone 5, and found the battery delivered an average charge of 91 percent. That’s close to double Mophie’s claims, which is strange enough, but also way above the usual number for that capacity. It’s almost a full charge, which is a very good thing to see.
We’re not sure what electronic sorcery Mophie is working with, but it certainly seems to be a good thing. Power Reserve under promises and over delivers, squeezing an impressive amount of charging capability into a small package. It’s designed well, and priced appropriately. Unlike many other devices of a similar capacity with integrated Lightning connectors, cases aren’t really an issue here. Mophie got much more right than we were expecting. Power Reserve is a great battery pack, deserving of our high recommendation.