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Battery Case Showdown: Apple's Smart Case vs. Mophie's Juice Pack Access

Right around the time that Apple debuted new Smart Battery cases designed for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, Mophie, a popular accessory maker, also introduced its Juice Pack Access battery cases for the new iPhones.

In our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with the Juice Pack Access to compare it to Apple's Smart Battery Case to see if it's a better option for those looking to extend their iPhone batteries.

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The cases are similar in weight and thickness, and both cases have a hump design with an area where the battery inside the case protrudes. The Juice Pack Access is also made from a smooth plastic while the Smart Battery Case is silicone, so those who don't like silicone may prefer the plastic.

Like the Smart Battery Case, the Juice Pack Access allows Lightning accessories to be used because it leaves the Lightning port unobstructed. Prior cases used the Lightning port to supply power to the iPhone, but the new model uses Qi wireless charging exclusively.

The Juice Pack Access charges the iPhone at the 5W wireless charging speed, which is a bit slow. Apple's solution, meanwhile, builds an extra Lightning port into the Smart Battery Case because Apple has access to tighter integrations.

The benefit there is Lightning support with faster charging, though with a battery case, charging speed isn't a huge factor since it's meant to be used throughout the day, but it can be important if you're putting the battery case on in a situation where your battery is already nearly drained.

You can charge the Juice Pack Access wirelessly on a Qi charger or through an included USB-C port, though those who don't already have USB-C devices and cables may find that cumbersome. Apple's Smart Battery Case charges either wirelessly or through the Lightning port, which is more convenient.

There's a 2,200mAh battery in the Juice Pack Access for iPhone XS Max and a 2,000mAh battery in the cases for the XR and XS, while Apple's Smart Battery Case offers more power thanks to two 1,369mAh batteries in the device.

For example, Mophie says the iPhone XS Max paired with the Juice Pack offers 31 hours of talk time, 16 hours of internet use, and 18 hours of video playback.

The iPhone XS Max with the Smart Battery Case offers a total of 37 hours of talk time, 20 hours of internet use, and 25 hours of video playback.

In our testing, the Smart Battery Case lasted for a longer period of time than the Juice Pack, which is not surprising given that it offers a bit more power.

The Smart Battery Case has the edge over Mophie's version when it comes to checking battery level. Because of the tight iOS integration, you can see your Smart Battery Case battery level on the Lock screen and in the Notification Center, with Apple offering exact charge numbers.

There are four LEDs to indicate charge on the Juice Pack, but it's not nearly as granular. You also don't need to turn the Smart Battery Case on - it just works and is constantly supplying power to the iPhone when it's on the iPhone. You will need to make sure turn on the Juice Pack Access, which could be a benefit or a hassle depending on your perspective.

Apple sells its Smart Battery Cases for the 2018 iPhones for $129 in Apple retail stores, third-party stores, and online. Mophie's Juice Pack Access, available from the Mophie website, is more affordable at $99, but it loses out on some bells and whistles you get with Apple's case.

What do you think of the Juice Pack Access? Is the $29 savings worth it over Apple's Smart Battery Case? Let us know in the comments.



Top Rated Comments

(View all)

13 weeks ago
Can we stop quoting mAh figures and start using the Wh figures? mAh is misleading when voltage isn’t taken into consideration.
Rating: 11 Votes
13 weeks ago
Nobody ever mentions that third-party battery cases fool the iPhone into thinking it’s plugged into a wall charger, so it does battery-hungry tasks like leaving the processor ramped up, syncing to iCloud, constantly firing the radios, etc. This uses a lot more power and likely decreases battery life in the long run.
Rating: 8 Votes
13 weeks ago
It’s a shame the Mophie case now looks like an Apple case, they looked better before.
Rating: 8 Votes
13 weeks ago
My biggest complaint and why I went with Mophie over Apple is the fact that Apple doesn't have a case for the iPhone X. It's meant for the newer iPhones even though the X and XS have the same dimensions the speaker/microphone is blocked if you were to use the case on the X. To add insult to injury you'll get a message stating this accessory isn't supported. o_O
Rating: 6 Votes
13 weeks ago

i like the ability to control when I want to charge my phone with the external battery... Also. no Apple battery case for iphone 7 or 8???

I'm sticking with mophie

i literally just said i use the iPhone 7 case on my 8 lol, you gotta read dude
Rating: 4 Votes
13 weeks ago
I watched this and the video on Appleinsider. The Apple Case is hands-down the best, in my opinion. On the Mophie, I don't like the detachable part at the top and the two sockets. And those stupid lights on the back. It's a messy solution. Plus, with the Apple case, you get the tight integration with iOS and how it manages power.
Rating: 4 Votes
13 weeks ago
I've been using the Apple case for about three weeks and love it. Okay, it's a bit heavy and not exactly aesthetically pleasing but it means I can now sometimes go four days in between charging (I usually switch it to Power Save overnight and disable cellular - both through the control panel) and with the 30W USB-C Charger, it juices up both the case and phone at the same time - both hitting about 95% after only an hour.

I also love the tight iOS integration and there are no silly lights (that don't give granular measurements) on the back. The Apple case also completely covers the bottom and yet Apple's tolerances are so good that the speaker grilles line up absolutely perfectly. The black silicon also feels good with a nice firm grip. Apple's solution is simple and elegant. It manages everything for you, no on/off button or other such nonsense.

If you want a smart battery case, Apple's is by far the best option (IMO).
Rating: 4 Votes
13 weeks ago
i like the ability to control when I want to charge my phone with the external battery... Also. no Apple battery case for iphone 7 or 8???

I'm sticking with mophie
Rating: 4 Votes
13 weeks ago
As a person that has tried many battery cases, I've finally given up trying. The Apple battery case is worth the price.
Rating: 3 Votes
13 weeks ago
One piece that is missing in your comparison - charging efficiency. Even if the Mophie and Apple products had the same battery capacity, the Apple case would still last longer given the Mophie's efficiency losses in wireless charging.
Rating: 2 Votes

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