Mophie Juice Pack for Galaxy S3.

The Mophie Juice Pack for the Galaxy S3 doubles your phone's battery life - but at quite the cost in this case

 

I have no qualms about admitting my lust for the iPhone's Mophie Juice Pack battery case. My wife's used one with her iPhone, and it's a great combination of extra juice and protection in a form factor that doesn't kill the overall feel of the phone. We've looked at a couple of Galaxy S3 battery cases here before -- the Powerskin Battery Case and the Droidax Power Pack. Neither of them were bad cases, but neither of them had the name recognition and legacy of Mophie. 

So now that we've got a Mophie for the GS3 in our hot little hands, how's it shaking out? Read on for the full skinny.

Mophie Juice Pack for Galaxy S3.

Why a Mophie case for the Galaxy S3?

One question the Mophie Juice Pack doesn't solve is that of purpose. For a phone like the iPhone, with its non-removable battery -- and the same goes for any similar Android phone -- it makes more sense. You can't swap batteries, so a battery/case solution makes more sense. But the Galaxy S3 has a removable battery. You can pop in a fresh one anytime you want. So why would you want one built into a case? Convenience, we suppose, but such laziness comes at a pretty high price here. 

For one, this thing's not inexpensive. We knew that going in, of course. But you can get an extra 2,100 mAh battery for $30 and still buy yourself a hell of a case before hitting the $90 or so we paid for the Mophie at Amazon. Or you can get a whopping 3,500 mAh extended battery -- one that also retains NFC capability, as does the Mophie -- for $70. So, yeah. It's not cheap. 

Fit and form

Mophie Juice Pack for Galaxy S3.

The Mophie's also not small. Hell, it turns the svelte Galaxy S3 into a brick. On its own, the Galaxy S3 is about 136.6 mm tall and just 8.6 mm thick. With the Mophie case attached, it balloons up to 150 mm tall -- that's right about 6 inches -- and more than doubles in thickness. This is not a small case. Again, that's not surprising. Cases don't make phones smaller, and battery cases particularly so.

So it's not small, and it's not cheap. What about the rest?

As a case -- nay, as a Mophie case -- we're fairly disappointed here. The Galaxy S3 Juice Pack just doesn't seem to have the same attention to detail, the same quality, that we expect. It's certainly on par with its iPhone case. 

Mophie Juice Pack for Galaxy S3.

Fitting the phone into the case is simple enough. The top part of the case pops off (squeeze it from the sides). Then you slide the phone down through the larger half until it mates with the microUSB plug at the bottom. Reattach the top part, and you're good to go. The volume and power buttons are nicely done, and there are cutouts for the main microphone as well as the secondary, noise-canceling mic next to the headphone jack. That's good to see. But the seams all over the back of the case look sloppy at best. They're far more apparent on the white case -- there's much more contrast between glossy whit and matte silver -- than they were on the two-toned black case. (Also, the matte finish on the black version just feels better.)

What's worse is the sharp -- as in "ouch!" transition between the front of the case and the bottom of the chin. That's simply not good. We're not sure if a file or sandpaper wouldn't help. It's that bad. 

Simply put, the Galaxy S3 case just isn't up to the quality we expected from Mophie.

Functionality

Mophie Juice Pack for Galaxy S3.

All that said, the Mophie Juice Pack at least performs as you'd expect, in that it charges the phone. 'Round back there's a four-LED battery level indicator (push the button to the left of it to activate), and a standby switch for when you only want to use the GS3's battery. The battery's rated at 2,300 mAh -- how long that extra juice lasts you depends on how hard you're pushing the phone, of course. 

Mophie says it takes between two and three hours to full charge the case after the initial break-in. It's worth noting that while Mophie doesn't list output, it's pretty obvious the phone's getting a trickle charge. So don't just sit there and watch it charge. You'll be there all day. Again, it's meant to be a secondary power source and not some quick-charger that happens to look like a case.

One interesting item is the inclusion of the "external charge and sync contacts" on the bottom of the case. Thing is, there's no dock to take advantage of them yet. Mophie says they're working on it, though.

The bottom line

We'll make this short and sweet. There's absolutely a place for battery cases in the Android world. And while we appreciate they're a tougher proposition as Android accessories than as iPhone accessories, Mophie's Galaxy S3 Juice Pack left us wanting. The additional size (and cost) just doesn't make sense considering you can buy three spare batteries for the same price. And the quality of the case isn't what we expect from Mophie. (In case we hadn't made that clear already.) 

For $90 to $100, there are better options than the Mophie Juice Pack for the Galaxy S3.

 

Reader comments

Mophie Juice Pack for the Galaxy S3

28 Comments

Definitely not worth the price and size. I always recommend the Samsung Charging System to my Galaxy S III friends.

Maybe I'm playing devils advocate here, but why would I buy a $70.00 battery pack when I can buy an extra battery for $30.00 for the SIII?

I know you would have to carry the battery around with you but I would just keep it in my wallet in the event that I need it.

I agree with Phil, if I had a phone with a non-removable battery I would consider something like this.

I keep my spare in my fifth pocket. :) The other downside of the Morphie is when both the phone and case are dead, it's going to take a really long time to charge up both to a full 100%.

Agreed! With the non-removable (well, very hard to remove) battery I would be all over one of these for long work-days or travel. I've had extended batteries before and I never minded the hump.

Too bad so few Nexus 4's have been released to the wild.... I doubt we'll ever get this kind of accessory support.

What a cow of a case. Every time I read one of these articles about ways to increase battery life, I feel a huge sense of relief that I was smart enough to buy a Razr Maxx HD:) Awesome!

I feel just the opposite. Maybe it's just having come over from the T-Bolt (where I had to buy a Rezound battery and carry the stock battery around with me as well as a backup), but the battery life of the GS3 is pretty impressive on it's own. Starting my day at 100%, I almost never have to charge before its convenient to do so anyway. It may not be the Razr Maxx HD battery life, but it averages a solid 12 hours with pretty decent usage, which is plenty. And compared to my mom's Razr M, the software and camera are just so much better, while other comparable hardware elements are no worse than a wash. Plus the Razr Maxx HD would have been way more expensive.

I do agree that the GSIII is a nice device but I had a Droid Charge before going to the Razr and I just couldn't stand the RF sections in that phone. Bluetooth data was inconsistent with the Sync in my car and I constantly struggled to maintain mobile data connections. The whole experience kept me from trying the Samsung Nexus and the GSIII wasn't out yet. My phone is full of family pics that are just fine, but the camera is not my main purpose of a phone. If I wanted perfect shots, I'd get a good camera, not a phone. I need connectivity, and reliability. I work for a tech company here in Austin and I use the crap out of my phone. At 12 hours I have about 70% of my battery left. You said you “almost never have to charge it before it’s convenient”. Well I don’t even have to look at my battery level. Camera specs don’t do a thing for me compaired to the real world working aspect of the Maxx. GSIII’s sure are pretty though, to each his own I guess

I wished all phones came with the battery capacity of the MAXX series! But in lieu of that I will take the S3's removable battery. That way you don't have to cut corners on specs and you can still have all the power you need!

i SO AGREE with you Reldedem, I too came from the T-bolt and so just assumed that battery life was awful. I bought my S3 and right away ordered a couple of spare batteries from the Amazon. I have really never needed them so far. i can imagine the only time i will is if after a long day from work I decide to go out on the town.

But I love the security of knowing that I have two spare batteries (S3 needs brightness turned to maxx because I am not used to AMOLED)

What I don't quite understand is why I would pick this and an S3 over, say, a Galaxy Note 2. Even if I already owned an S3 this, well, doesn't quite make sense.

I mean, you're most of the way to a massive phone anyway, why note benefit from a bigger screen and thinner profile?

now this makes sense. at 100 dollars more, the note 2 would be a better way.

what i want to add is that i bought the case two days ago and then returned it 10 minutes later.

i was really expecting androidcentral to squirm through and end up giving a positive review on this case, but good to see they didnt dickjump on mophie.

the top piece doesnt align 100 percent to the big bulky piece. so it was annoying as hell seeing this from a 100 dollar case.

if the black plastic was rubberized slightly to give a better feel....but it was slippery and curved and heavy which dont add up together.

I prefer Seidio super extended battery over this one. The case is great and durable too.

Who the crap designed that? They more than double the volume of the phone, and all they manage is 2100 mAh?

The only time this case is good is when u get it as a gift and they bought it at half the best buy way lol

Got this at Best Buy for $59 just before Christmas. At that price, it's awesome but I'd never pay $90-$100.

As for its function, I love it but it does make the phone a monster.

Dont like the look of it at all, and to those wondering why someone would buy these type of battery case, I have the driodax battery case and i mainly use it for the nights i go out and party and when it becomes late and ur phone dies and your under the influence pushing a button on is alot easier then swapping batteries but thats one drunken idiots opinion

I don't understand the use of this. It makes the phone gigantic, costs quite a bit of money, and doesn't have that big of a battery (comparably) in it anyway.

I'd just pick up a spare battery. Maybe a Tylt PowerPlant, but probably just a spare battery.

"But you can get an extra 2,100 mAh battery for $30 and still buy yourself a hell of a case before hitting the $90 or so we paid for the Mophie at Amazon. Or you can get a whopping 3,500 mAh extended battery -- one that also retains NFC capability, as does the Mophie -- for $70."

OR, you can get a monster 4500mAh battery with nice cover that also retains NFC capability, from Gorilla Gadgets ****for $25!**** I use it without a case, so the size and heft don't feel bad at all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZf9dqvGY5g

While I was excited to hear that Mophie was making a case for the S3, I was just as let down to see the final product when it released.

Poor design, and higher than iPhone case price = no purchase.

If anything, the price for this should be less because it is not as necessary an accessory as for a phone with a non removable battery.

It would be nice to see them roll out a design for the Nexus 4 that is similar in design to the iPhone cases they make. That would likely sell very well.

I bought it at a slightly reduced cost from Best Buy, and after immediately returning the first one, I settled on a second. The problem with the first one was that the button placement and case to phone tolerance was so bad that the power button was always being pushed which resulted in my phone being contantly shut down in a less than desirable manner.

The second one was a little better, but I still resorted to filing the thing down. Volume keys are a bit wonky in their placement as well. Fit and finish is less than desired in my opinion. The phone should feel secure within this hulk of a case, but there is too much movement of the phone in the case that results in a creaking plastic on plastic sound.

I am in love with the convenience of it, so I tolerate it. Had I paid $100 for it, I would be really angry.

I also bought the case, but returned it two days later. I did not mind the build quality of the black one. What I was dissatisfied with was the fact that it would only recharge my S3 to 60% and it took forever for it to charge.

I kept mine for a month and over time the phone quality dropped with the far side hearing either echoes or I'm too low. The case also has no grip and easily slips out of your hands. Definitely avoid this product.

I just got one of these free from Verizon, man I am dissappointed in the build quality. Phil is 100% right about sharp edges, and no matter what I do the top and bottom pieces never 100% line up, and my buttons rattle.

It serves its purpose if you dont feel like carrying an extra battery around and dont mind the brick your phone becomes, I would pay $29.99 for this certainly not worth $100....but then again I got mine for free so you cant beat that price.

I've been dying to get this, my Samsung Galaxy S3 battery is absolutely putrid, I don't know why, but I put it to charge every freaking morning and within 2-3 hours it's already at 70 to maybe 60%, I think the battery maybe damaged, I am not sure. I despise getting a second battery, such a cheap temporary solution, where it is only going to die pretty quickly anyway. The price is the only thing that has stopped me from getting it until now, but I hope to get the money together eventually, and I could care less about the supposed bulkiness feel that this case gives to the phone, the Galaxy Note is a lot fatter and bigger anyway. Right now it looks big and bulkier with the Otter case that I bought for it and to me it doesn't look so bad.