Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mophie Juice Pack Air for the iPhone 7 Plus

The way these little computers we carry around with us have improved in the last few years is really pretty amazing. Screens have gotten bigger and brighter, memory and storage have increased almost geometrically, wireless data speeds are faster than ever and the array of apps available to us is practically impossible to count at this point.  We are kind of at the level where if you have a reasonably modern smartphone (no more than two years old) there is almost no point in upgrading. The state of the industry is that good. All except for one little detail though, battery life. 

The more feature laden our smartphones get, the more power they need. And, despite all the other advances the industry has accomplished, battery technology has not significantly improved lately. There are supposedly some new ideas on the way but they haven’t arrived yet and they cannot help existing hardware. That leaves those of us who travel regularly or just plain run out of power too soon with three choices. Carry around an external battery pack, charge up wherever and whenever or use a battery case. This review is about option number three. 

The Mophie Juice Pack Air is a slide-on hard case that will roughly increase an iPhone 7 Plus’ battery life by 50%. The case itself can be charged via a micro USB port on the bottom of it or wirelessly via a Qi charging base. Mophie actually sells a Qi wireless charger for the Juice Pack that charges more quickly than most others and magnetically holds the phone in place while charging too. The system works very well and it is easy to get used to not having to plug in a charging cable to gas up. 

The case itself is reasonably protective of your phone. There are raised flanges at the corners to help protect the screen and the switches are all either recessed or covered. As protective cases go, the Juice Pack Air is not going to take heavy damage like an Otterbox. It should get the job done though for most of us though. 

The case is designed in such a way as to sort of redirect the speaker sounds from down to straight out. The result is a much easier to hear speaker. The one big downside to the Mophie when it comes to sound is that the standard iPhone headphones will not work with it. The micro USB port on the bottom is for charging only. As such, you have to use wireless headphones with this case. Fortunately, there are many affordable options available these days in that area. Still, it is a concern. 

For obvious reasons, the case adds a bit of size and weight to your phone. It isn’t a huge issue to me when you consider what you get in return but some may be put off by it. Personally, I’d like to see bigger batteries installed by the manufacturers of our phones. Until that happens though, battery cases like the Mophie are the best option in my opinion. 

Mophie battery cases are not the cheapest brand of battery case out there. There are plenty of similar looking models available on Ebay and elsewhere. I cannot speak for those cases but I can say that the overall build quality and support that you get from Mophie is top notch. I have used Mophie battery cases since my old iPhone 3GS and I’ve never been disappointed. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Lameeku iPhone 7 Plus Wallet Case

Every so often, a company really hits one out of the park. Price, performance, utility-all right on the money. The iPhone case you see above, the Lameeku wallet case, is just such a product. It fits my 7 Plus perfectly, replaces my wallet and was available on Amazon for under $20 (I think it’s $13.99 as of this writing).

The case itself is a nice, protective TPU case whose cut-outs and switch covers all align properly. There is a 2mm raised lip around the screen to keep things safe from that side too. The leather wallet portion has four good sized card slots that easily slide out when that red tab is pulled. The slots are big enough to hold two cards in each in a pinch. In the photos above, I’ve got five cards and a few bills stowed neatly. There is a stop sewed into the back to keep the wallet tab from separating from the case if you were worried about that. The camera lens is not obstructed and the case is easy to grip. The Lameeku does make your iPhone a bit thicker to be sure. However, when you consider that you can replace your regular wallet, it’s well worth the trade off in my opinion. For a case that didn’t set me back much at all, the Lameeku is a pleasant surprise. Well worth it.

Monday, November 13, 2017

You don’t see many of these anymore 

1960 T Bird in mint condition 

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