The iPhone is a great smartphone in numerous ways, except for its battery life which is under par for normal usage. Over the course of a normal day, I dock my phone at work, in the car and at home, so I never run out of power.
This is not the case when I am on the road traveling, and that is when I demand the most out of my phone.
So, over time I came to explore external battery pack solutions, and the first that became available locally was FastMac iV external battery pack.
I later laid my hands on Mophie's Juice Pack Air from our local Apple Store.
Both devices do the same thing, but with subtile differences both in design and functionality. They are both on-the-go mobile battery charger that allows you to continue using your iPhone even as you charge it.
The FastMac iV uses a 30-pin Dock Connector port for charging and syncing, and sports full-size USB port that can simultaneously charge another device such as a Bluetooth headset, digital camera, iPod or even another phone. It also includes a built-in flash LED that can be used for emergencies and low light photos or videos. It is compatible with all iPhone generations, and iPod Touch.
The Mophie Juice Pack Air is more of a battery and case in one. It offers the convenience of an extended battery and the full protection of a hard case. Its design is slick and matches closely that of the iPhone's. I could easily imagine wearing it all the time if it wasn't for its connector which uses a pass-through USB cable to charge and sync with iTunes. It is designed for the iPhone 3G and 3G S.
The Mophie is much lighter than the FastMac. If weight is a concern, consider this seriously as the FastMac weights twice as much but sports more features and longer batter life.
Unlike the Mophie battery, which provide barely enough juice for a full recharge of the iPhone or iPhone 3G, FastMací¢â‚¬â„¢s battery has enough power to recharge the iPhone fully twice, and the iPhone 3G around two and a half times.
At the end of the day, even if these two devices provide the same functionality, they don't serve the same purpose.
The Mophie is slick and light, but only provides one charge. Perfect to carry around in your bag over the course of the day, or on one day trips.
The FastMac is heavier but sports double the battery life and a range of additional features. I feel the FastMac is more reliable on short trips as it can charge multiple phones or devices on a single charge.
I get the feeling the FastMac doesn't discharge as fast as the Mophie does when unused. It is easy to charge as you just drop it into a dock or connect it to a iPhone/iPod cable which comes with your phone or iPod. The Mophie requires a special cable to charge or sync when mounted which becomes an issue if you forget it or loose it.
Personally, I like both devices, but for their own features which suit different situations. I use the FastMac to quickly recharge my phone, but wouldn't walk around with it. The Mophie on the other hand fits so tightly to the phone's body, it can be mistaken for a hard-case and still fits into my jeans pocket.
Power is expressed as mAh and time in hours.
Size is expressed in centimers and weight in grams.