Portable power packs are nothing new. When the smartphone landed on the scene, people quickly realised that getting more than a working day out of their devices was going to be impossible. One of the first Android smartphones, for example, the HTC Magic, would struggle to make it to lunch if you used it on the commute in to work.
So, extra power packs cropped up in case you found yourself caught short. Indeed, HTC would send them out with early Android review samples, which pretty much said it all. Things have improved though, and most smartphones can last a bit longer now. But the problem remains, what do you do if you're camping, or using the phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, or playing games. You can still kill these phones quickly, so that's what the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro is for.
It's a beast, but a beautiful beast
You couldn't call the Powerstation Pro subtle. It's made of metal, which in turn has key areas clad in a thick rubber. The idea here is that this power pack is incredibly durable. A take-anywhere device that you can sling in a bag or coat pocket to keep you juiced-up when you're out-and-about.
On the front are a row of four small LEDs that give you an idea about how much charge is left. These extinguish as you use power, and tell you when the device is full, as you charge it up.
The left-hand side features a ruberised button which starts the device charging your phone or tablet. It will also tell you how much charge you have remaining, if you press it with nothing connected.
On the top, underneath two rubber flaps, are a pair of USB sockets. One allows you to charge the Powerstation from a mains socket, or anything else with USB that can deliver power. The other socket is used to send power to your phone. The good news is, you can use a standard phone USB cable with this power pack, both to charge it, and then to charge your devices.
Fine for the shower, but don't risk a bath
The Pro boasts a rating of IP65, that means Ingress Protection, and specifically it means that it's completely dustproof (the first number) and water resistant to sprays, but not being submerged.
Mophie equates this to being okay in the shower, but not safe to take in the bath. We doubt you'll want to do either - unless your phone is waterproof too - but it's good to know, if you're out camping or doing outdoor things, a little bit of water isn't going to damage the Powerstation.
We do want to warn you of one thing: the rubber caps that protect the USB sockets are both solid, and fit well. However we noticed that there is a little rubber seal around each of them, in the form of a sort of band. On our review unit, one of these came off easily, and got lost. It's likely that this will have some impact on the ability of the pack to withstand water and dust.
The battery contained in the Powerstation Pro is a hulking 6000mAh. That's enough to charge an iPhone 4S four times over. You can also charge the iPad 2 almost completelty. Things become a bit more troublesome when you try and charge an iPad 3, or in our experience, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7-inch.
While the iPad 3 is happy to charge, its battery capacity is some 11,000mAh. Needed, we presume, to run that glorious high resolution display. So, you'll be able to charge it to about 50 per cent with the Powerstation, but that's it. The old Samsung was more of a problem though. Although the Mophie is more than capable of outputting the right amount of power (it can take loads of more than 2amps) to charge the Samsung, the tablet was having none of it. We blame that Samsung though, and it is an old tablet now. It's highly likely that more modern devices will work fine, as the iPad does.
The other advantage of having quite a high load is that things charge very quickly. Certainly, if you're used to charging a phone from a laptop, the Powerstation seems quicker. Of course, this will depend on your device, and how much power it is capable of drawing. Even so, there were times that we prefered to charge from the Powerstation that from our desktop PC.
There's nothing not to like about the Juice Pack Powerstation Pro. We could argue that it's quite expensive at over £100, but if you need to charge things, and are away from mains for long periods - like on planes - then you'll probably gladly pay up.
The design is super though - aside from those rubber seals - and you'll never need to worry about throwing this charger in a bag with you, and forgetting about it until you need it.
The Juice Pack certainly gets our seal of approval.