[ Congrats to user ZOMGVTEK on winning the case! ]
With the release of the new iPhone 3GS and the continuation of the iPhone 3G, battery life still seems to be an issue (even with the improved battery life of the 3GS) with the iPhone. Maybe its 'cause its so connected to everything online...
Incase and Mophie both have made way to solve this recurring problem - the Incase Power Slider, and the Mophie Juice Pack Air (you may remember our review on the Air's big brother, the Mophie Juice Pack).
We'll chat about the differences.
Both cases run $79.95. Grab the Mophie Juice Pack Air from their site, or the Incase Power Slider from Apple.
Incase states the Power Slider extends battery life up to 5 hours on Internet use, 5 hours on 3G talk time. It is quite impressive, and Incase is spot on with their facts. The Juice Pack Air, on the other hand, extends 4.5 hours on both, which also wound up being a pretty accurate spec.
The Juice Pack Air takes a hint from the MacBook Pro batteries, and has 4 bright blue lights on the back telling you your current charge level. Nicely enough, it came FULLY CHARGED - the Incase Power Slider had a pretty sticker letting me know I had better fully charge it before using. Win, Mophie.
Incase's 5 indication lights show the current charge as well, and are a little better hidden as well (only visible when lit) - and another perk is an indicator that tells you when to plug the case in during a sync. It’s the little things that make life sweet.
Both cases come with a mini USB slot along with a standard USB to mini cable. EDIT, my bad - as readers pointed out, the Mophie is in fact MICRO-USB, not Mini. Thanks, guy. This allows you to charge or update it your phone without having to remove it from the case.
Mophie Juice Pack Air
Incase Power Slider (btw, that does close flush, I just hadn't pressed it together completely in this photo)
The Incase is pretty darn bulky (with dimensions of 5.1”x2.6”x0.86 this case almost doubles your iPhone’s depth), although for being large it feels quite good in the hand. The Juice Pack Air measures in at 4.90”x 2.59”x 0.75 - 0.32” thinner all around then the Power Slider. Interestingly, the Mophie is 0.1lb heavier then the Power Slider.
As far as feel, the Incase wins hands down for me. The edges are curved so it feels more natural and the case covers the entire exterior of the phone. There is a hard but semi "grippy" exterior which makes it good for grip - but not one of those annoying cases that gets stuck in you pocket (I had one of those Incase rubber protective covers and it just didn’t do it for me). It also seems much more flush with the iPhone, making it look more like a single unit than a phone wearing a backpack.
Another thing Incase does right is they put rubber protectors in the back of the case. This helps to ensure protection for your phone if dropped from direct contact to the plastic or even those ugly scratches that you get from the normal wear and tear in a plastic case like the Agent18 ClearShield.
Mophie's Juice Pack Air is shiny, which shows a heck of a lot more fingerprints. It definitely slides in and out of the pocket better, and it's smaller as well, as noted before. The part of the Juice Pack Air where the bottom of the iPhone sites also has a small gap which throws me off a bit.
A very cool part of the Juice Pack Air is the on/off switch at the bottom. I wish the Power Slider has something like it. If you'd prefer to have the iPhone in the case but NOT be charging at the moment, simpmly flip the switch, and you've just got a big ol' case.
But the Air's biggest flaw? Getting the thing off the iPhone. The top part is thin and attached to two long bits that go down the whole case - and it attaches REALLY tightly. I had a hard time getting the two pieces apart every time I tried, and the 5th or 6th time the top part actually snapped in half while trying to remove it. The thing still works - it connects nicely on the bottom and charges fine, but now it doesn't look complete.
By contrast, the Power Slider slides off and on smoothly, yet fits together just as seamlessly (in fact, it looks a little more seamless).
EDIT: Its worth noting (as a user pointed out as well) that the Incase DID give us an intermittent signal drop of about a bar. If I had 3 bars or more I was unaffected, but I noticed if I was in a place where I'd normally have only 1 bar (certain rooms in buildings, etc) I was more likely to drop a call with the Incase on than without it. I did NOT notice this with the Mophie, although some have said they notice it. This didn't really affect my love for the Power Slider, though, as the added power was much more beneficial than the signal in low signal areas - I just pulled off the case to make a call there.
If you are craving a little more power and got an extra 80 bucks laying around and don’t mind a slightly larger case, I’d say grab the Incase Power Slider. The Mophie isn't bad, but getting the thing apart really is more difficult than it should be, and the design isn't quite as "pretty" as Incase's.
Of course, if you don’t have 80 bucks laying around but still would like a Power Slider - we are giving one away. Just let us know you'd like one by starting your comment with "P- " and then anything you would like to say about the case. EDIT - I'll announce a winner Wednesday July 15th. US only, sorry folks.