The past year or so has seen a marked increase in the value delivered by $100 iPhone battery cases. That price point used to be a base, save for models from lesser known companies that were effectively shipping OEM designs. Today, there’s a lot more in the package for a similar price, as evidenced by iBattz’ recently-released Mojo Armor ($100). It’s somewhat novel because it offers iPhone 4/4S users the option of two different cases plus two included, removable 1700mAh batteries. One case is ruggedized, and the other is purely hard plastic, with the two designs sharing components. A USB cable is included for recharging.
Both cases use the same sled-style backplate as a base, with a Dock Connector plug at the bottom fitting into the iPhone’s bottom port. A vertical line of four LEDs towards the bottom of the back shows the battery life, while a Micro-USB port is on the left, and a grey power button’s on the right. Prying off the matte finished backplate exposes the removable battery—the same I9100 used in Samsung’s Galaxy S2—making it easy to swap cells on the fly, or purchase spares. The plate requires a fair amount of force to remove, so we wouldn’t worry about it falling off unintentionally.
The more basic of the two case options in the package is “Mojo Vogue,” which iBattz sells on its own for $90. A plastic bumper snaps onto the sled and stands just the slightest bit above the glass screen, creating an almost negligible protective lip. Rather than providing button coverage, it leaves the controls exposed along with the headphone port, noise-canceling microphone, and side switch. It’s a pretty standard design that we’ve seen before, but works well as one of two options here.
Mojo Armor’s more heavy duty components are really where this accessory shines. Following Mophie’s Juice Pack Pro, Armor is the latest to combine extra power with enhanced protection for the iPhone. Although Armor isn’t military-tested, it still offers more drop, dust, and light splash protection than most iPhone cases. Rather than using a simple bumper, the device’s back and sides are covered here by a plastic frame with a built-in screen protector. A rubber jacket then fits around the hard plastic as an added layer. When fully assembled, the only portions of the iPhone left uncovered are the FaceTime camera, earpiece, and the sensor above them. Rubber covers all the buttons, and flip-open covers protect the headphone port and side switch. The speaker and microphone are deeply recessed to limit elemental intrusion, but there are holes in the rubber and plastic layers that could let water in during submersion. Thankfully, Mojo Armor’s screen protector sits completely flat, and although it feels a bit different than an uncovered screen, the thin clear plastic sheet doesn’t affect performance at all. Even the lightest touches are still recognized.
As important as the protection Mojo Armor provides is the battery performance. We ran our battery test on a fully depleted, Wi-Fi and 3G connected iPhone 4. In just over an hour—an impressive speed—one of the 1700mAh cells brought the battery up to 76%. This result is a bit better than the average iPhone 4/4S battery case, and is even more impressive considering two batteries come in this package. Users who carry both cells will have the ability to add a full charge and a half to an iPhone without having to stop at an outlet.
Although we’re not the biggest fans of Mojo Armor’s looks, including the orange-only top cover, there’s no denying that for $100 iBattz is providing a real value to consumers. Not only will you get very good recharging capabilities, but you’ll have a choice of case styles for use in different scenarios, such as those in which the iPhone may be exposed to the elements. When compared to Incipio’s similarly-specced OffGrid Pro, Mojo Armor offers slightly better recharging capabilities, more protection and versatility, though an arguably less slick enclosure. OffGrid Pro is a somewhat nicer standalone case than Mojo Vogue, but less resilient than Mojo Armor. The only thing that’s missing is a standalone battery charger, but one can be had from iBattz for $20. Although it’s up to the individual user whether the features offered by Mojo Armor are more valuable than OffGrid Pro’s—each requires tradeoffs—both cases are equally worthy of the same high recommendation.
Company and Price
Models: Mojo Armor
Compatible: iPhone 4/4S