I’ve been reading this week about a Mountain Rescue team who have had four consecutive callouts to people lost in the hills when their smartphone navigation devices have let them down. I use my iPhone for navigation and am well familiar with that sinking feeling of hitting “10% Charge” and being left on tenterhooks until I could reach a charger. So the need to carry a backup solution for phones which drain their batteries in hours, rather than days is very real. Step in Mophie.
We’ve reviewed Mophie’s clip-on charging packs for iPhone before, and this is one of their newest, and slightly different charging packs which is more of a stand-alone unit.
Its size is pretty much the same as an iPhone 4 in a bumper case, but 3x deeper. And it feels absolutely rock solid. In fact it is pretty much rock solid, with an aluminium face and a chunky rubber bumper all round. It is designed to stand up to as much punishment as you can give it short of completely submerging it in water.
The rubber casing has two openings on the bottom face where you get a little diagram of a phone and a power socket – simple stuff. Both are USB ports housed under o-ring sealed rubber doors; one for charging up the Powerstation and one for charging your phone.
The Powerstation can be charged from your iPhone charger, or indeed any powered USB plug including your laptop or home PC. It can store up to 6000mAh of charge, which is enough to fully charge an iPhone 4 up to 3 times. I can vouch for this after charging up my nearly-dead iPhone 4s three times at recent trade shows. The same charge will resurrect an iPad or pretty much any other USB powered item you can think of – torches, lanterns etc. In terms of the iPhone, the recharge cycle seems to be a lot quicker than from my laptop. I’m no scientist, but I assume that’s because it has a higher amperage than my laptop’s USB.
The Powerstation is expensive at £104 but you are getting both an easy-to-use battery pack and what appears to be a very rugged enclosure. I’ve tested the Mophie Powerstation Pro by leaving it out in the rain, and hurling it across a field. Neither of these had any effect on it whatsoever.
The Powerstation lets you know when it’s charging via an LED display on its front. The same 4 small lights glow to indicate its power level when nothing is connected to it and you depress the rubber power-button.
Despite the fact the Mophie have aligned themselves with Apple and the iPhone quite strongly, the Powerstation will charge a multitude of devices from HTC, Blackberry, Motorola, LG, Sony, Kindle and more. There’s a big list here.
SUMMARY: The Powerstation Pro is a genuine hard-as-nails outdoor gadget and not something dressed up in combat gear. It’s waterproof, drop-proof and although it’s pretty chunky it provides a whole 3 charges of a smartphone before needing a boost. Pricing seems high, but not compared to competitors, so it looks like you get what you pay for.