Mophie Space Pack Review: The Final Frontier for iPhone Cases

By Gerald Lynch on at

Mophie answered the battery-blighted cries of iPhone owners with its Juice Pack case range, and now it's sorting out another potential gripe with its new Space Pack case. Not only will it recharge your Apple phone on the go, but it brings removable storage (of a sort) to the iPhone too.

 

What Is It?

A chunky iPhone 5 and 5S case that not only protects your phone, but also offers up a choice of either 16GB or 32GB of local storage and a back-up power supply.

 

Who Is It For?

Those that suffer the intense regret of underestimating just how many apps, films and photos they were going to fill their 16GB iPhones up with. Anyone who refuses to carry a charger with them, but still expects to get more than a day’s worth of battery out of their iPhone. People who reminisce over the days when a phone was the size of a television remote control.

 

Design

The Space Pack snaps apart into two parts — one shorter bit that includes a Lightning connector to pop into the bottom of your phone, and a larger, longer shell that houses the battery part of the case. Together, they click snugly together around your phone. Made of a solid white plastic with silver edging ( a granite-coloured option is also available), the curvy cover adds considerable girth to Apple’s handset, as well as half an inch to the lower edge of the device. As the iPhone’s headphone jack sits so deeply within the case, Mophie provides a headphone extension cable along with the Space Pack — without it, the port would be otherwise inaccessible. Charging over microUSB, you can keep the Space Pack attached to your iPhone and charge the phone too through the microUSB port, seeing as the case makes it's Lightning connector port inaccessible too.

A deep cutout (showing just how much thicker the case makes the iPhone) prevents the camera sensor from being obscured, while there are outer buttons which align with the iPhone’s own so that you can still access power or volume controls. On the rear of the case is a silver button that is used to initialise the Space Pack and check built-in battery levels via four LED lights. A small switch also on the rear turns on the power supply when you want to start refuelling a connected iPhone.

 

Using It

Drag and drop storage! On an iPhone! Hook the Space Pack up to your computer via its microUSB port and it’ll be recognised as a standard removable storage device. For anyone the quivers at the thought of having to use iTunes to manage an iOS device’s storage, it’ll feel like a breath of fresh air as you drop files onto the Space Pack just as though it was a USB drive.

While the Space Pack doesn’t require proprietary software to populate with your files, it does require an app in order to access the files through your phone. The free Space app mirrors the default folders of the Space Pack, with circular icons that bring you to any stored photos, videos, documents, music or other files that you’ve placed on the device. With the iPhone connected to the Space Pack through its Lightning connection, there’s no need for a Bluetooth connection to access whatever is stored within, which keeps battery drain to a minimum too.

It’s a clean software interface, minimal in its design. Music and videos can be played back or viewed from within the app, as can the majority of document types. Anything that can’t be viewed inside the app can instead be shared with other compatible apps that you have installed (though not the iPhone’s native music and video apps). This is a step up from Apple's own system which won't, for example, allow you to email an MP3 to a friend through the native Music app. The Space app can also access your Camera Roll and can be set to automatically back up your photo library every time the Space app is opened. It all works seamlessly and intuitively, though there’s often a slight delay when loading a file.

As for its battery capabilities, Mophie claims that the Space Pack effectively doubles the battery life of your device. And that’s a fair claim — a fully charged 1700mAh Space Pack juiced my depleted iPhone back to full power almost as quickly as if it had been plugged into a wall socket. Whether you’re using it as a battery pack or for its storage capabilities, the Space Pack does get quite warm when in operation though — not worryingly so, but enough to heat your hands.

 

Like

It’s simple to use, significantly expanding an iPhone’s storage space and battery life.

 

No Like

It’s very big, and reasonably heavy. That’s a fair trade to make for the functionality offered up by the Space Pack though.

 

Should You Buy It?

The Space Pack isn’t cheap (it starts at £139.99 for the 16GB edition), but if you require an extended battery and a chunk of extra storage space (that isn’t kept in the cloud and reliant upon a web connection to access) the Space Pack is rather excellent. It’ll add a considerable bulge to your pocket, and won’t be for anyone that fetishises the slim-line aesthetic of the iPhone, but its added functionality is genuinely useful. For 16GB iPhone owners it’s particularly useful, doubling the storage space available, while all iPhone owners will appreciate the battery boost it gives. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, but those looking to buy a new iPhone would still be best off buying a model with sufficient storage space built in from the off however.

 

Mophie Space Pack Specs

Price: £139.99 for 16GB, £169.99 for 32GB
Compatible With: iPhone 5 / iPhone 5S
Battery Capacity: 1700mAh
Dimensions: 2.57 in x 5.66 in x 0.63 in
Weight: 79g