Mophie’s Juice Pack Air battery case for iPhone XS/XR swaps USB-C for Lightning charging

Accessory maker Mophie today launched a new Juice Pack Air battery case with Qi wireless charging for Apple’s latest iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR smartphones.

Lightning instead of USB-C

The new case offers the convenience of both wired charging and Qi wireless charging (input and output). Some readers will remember that Mophie in January unveiled a similar Juice Pack Access battery case [review], but with USB-C instead of Lightning and an open bottom for quick access to an iPhone’s own Lightning port (as evidenced by the photo below from my review).

Juice Pack Access sports USB-C and leaves the bottom port open for easy access to the phone’s Lightning I/O

The newly released MFi case is different from the Access series in that it supports Lightning connectivity instead of USB-C, meaning iPhone owners no longer need to carry two cables on them — the Lightning to USB cable that came with their phone for charging the phone itself faster than the case’s wireless charging along with a Lightning to USB-C cable to charge the case itself using the wired method when wireless charging is unavailable.

The new Juice Pack Air case charges with the Lightning cable you already own.

Instead, the Juice Pack Air battery case lets you use the same Lightning cable to charge the case itself that you use to recharge your iPhone. On top of that, the case doesn’t leave the bottom of the iPhone open for quick access the phone’s Lightning port because—as we said—the case itself now has Lightning I/O. You may like this approach better than the previous because Juice Pack Air offers much better protection for the phone bottom.

Like with Juice Pack Access, priority charging on Juice Pack Air ensures that power is sent to the phone first before recharging the case’s internal battery.

Key features

Here’s an overview of the key features of Juice Pack Air:

  • Priority charging: Allows pass-through charging and sync capabilities when connected via Lightning, meaning the phone charges first and then the battery pack itself charges. As is standard with all third-party MFI cases, audio is unsupported via the Lightning port.
  • Standby/status button: Press and hold the rear button to turn the battery pack battery on/off or press it once to display the battery levels and charge status.
  • Device protection: High-impact protection featuring internal rubberized support pads that withstand the toughest drops and falls.
  • Slim profile: Lightweight, ultra slim profile design with raised corners for added protection against screen damage.
  • Charge Vault technology: This enables the juice pack battery to hold its charge for an extended period of time, so it is always ready to charge the smartphone
  • On the go power: Built-in 1,840mAh battery for iPhone Xs Max, 1,720mAh battery for iPhone Xs and 1,650mAh battery for iPhone XR.

Battery capacity, Qi speed and more

The Air packs in a 1,720mAh battery that Mophie claims will extend battery life of your iPhone XS up to 34 hours.

By comparison, Juice Pack Access rocks a 2,000mAh battery in the iPhone X/XS/XR edition and a 2,200mAh cell for the iPhone XS Max version which Mophie says provides up to 31 hours of total talk time, 18 hours of video watching and 16 hours of internet use on the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR models (up to 25 hours of total talk time on the iPhone X/XS version).

By comparison, Apple’s own Smart Battery Case for iPhone XS Max offers a 1,369mAh battery. Not unlike its prettie, more functional Mophie counterpart, the Apple product is also available for the iPhone XS, iPhone XR and iPhone XS Max models. Also, the Smart Battery Case from Apple uses faster wireless charging at up to 7.5W, but is also pricier than Juice Pack Air.

I wish Qi wireless charging worked faster on Juice Pack Air. Unfortunately, the battery case is outfitted with the same slow 5W wireless charging like the USB-C-enabled Juice Pack Access edition. Like its predecessor, the new case works with any Qi-compatible charger.

Pricing and availability

The new Juice Pack Access case is now available in the US after hitting Europe a few weeks ago. It’s available direct from Mophie and via retailers like Amazon for $100. I’s available in multiple colors: the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max versions come in Black, Graphite, Red and Rose Gold while the iPhone XR version is offered in Black, Red and Blue.