Mophie Charge Force review

Mophie's Charge Force system cuts wires, but comes with other strings attached

New smartphones still die after a single day of use, but battery cases are too bulky, and stand-alone battery packs require a tangle of cables to keep your phone juiced up. Mophie’s Charge Force series attempts to offer a solution  — eliminate the wires. It all starts with a magnetic smartphone case that’s capable of wireless charging. You then snap the case to various Charge Force accessories, such as a desk mount for the office, a vent mount for your car, a charging base station, or portable battery packs. Mophie describes Charge Force as a cable-free method where you can “just drop and charge.” For our Mophie Charge Force review, we snapped on the wündercase and discovered that it falls short of fixing a few glaring issues.

Thinner case, but still bulky

Mophie’s Charge Force wireless charging case is compatible with Qi wireless charging technology, so you can use it with a wide variety of wireless charging pads. Although, the Charge Force series eliminates the hassle of fussing with wires — and the feeling like your phone is chained down — it still doesn’t fix the main issues that exist with wireless charging. Namely, the case is still too bulky.

The Charge Force is much slimmer than most Mophie cases, but it adds weight to the phone and is still far bulkier than we’d like. It also adds a lip to the bottom of the smartphone with a cut out for audio to be directed to the user, turning the bottom-firing speakers into front-facing ones. While this does make the audio sound a little louder, we don’t think it justifies the added bulk.

mophie charge force review 2 image uploaded from ios

If you’re an iPhone 7 user, you know the struggle of charging your phone and listening to music — especially if you don’t have wireless earbuds. The Mophie Charge Force case makes things worse. It’s extremely difficult to disconnect the case’s Lightning plug that’s connected to the wireless charger built into the case — resulting in the ultimate struggle to open it to plug your headphones in. Android device owners won’t have this problem, because USB Type-C is not a proprietary port.

Wireless is somewhat convenient

Then there’s the Charge Force devices that provide battery power to the case. The Powerstation Mini adds extra bulk and more weight, but it also isn’t flush with the back of the phone. It sticks out like Apple’s official battery case, but it’s worse because it doesn’t make for a comfortable hold. Handling the phone with both hands causes the battery to slip, forcing you to constantly put it back in place to make it recognize the internal charging pad in the case.

The Desk Mount charger is a little better — it acts like a dock, and you can rest your smartphone upright. It plugs into a wall outlet or laptop via USB, and it allows you place your phone easily thanks to the magnetic case. It certainly eliminates the need to manually plug your phone in, and while it does take up some space, it can be useful. The Vent Mount is more or less the same but for cars. Being able to easily snap your phone to the mount is useful — you don’t need to deal with any wires. This is also where the upright design is useful as you can see notifications, hopefully reducing the habit of picking up your phone to check for messages. The problem? They’re both $60 each, that we’re not including the cost of the case itself.

As for the wireless charging base, it can live anywhere around the home — the kitchen counter, coffee table, or your even your nightstand. Being able to have charging stations like this around where you can simply drop your phone to charge is ideal, but it’s not ideal when you want to use the phone while charging. With a regular wired charger, I’m still able to pick up my phone and use it. With the charging station, you have to either use your phone while it’s attached to the external battery pack, or pick up the phone and then place it back — inevitably extending the amount of time it takes to fully charge.

For those who need a serious charge while on-the-go, the Powerstation is a 10,000mAh portable battery pack that can charge your phone several times over, and it also has a USB port to charge another device simultaneously. It’s similar to the Powerstation Mini, but while it clearly packs a lot more power, it unfortunately adds a lot more weight.

For Android users, the Powerstation doesn’t support quick charging technology, but smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 that have built-in wireless charging should still be compatible without the need for Mophie’s case.

The full experience comes at a high cost

When you have all the parts to the Charge Force series, wireless charging can definitely be convenient since you can simply place your phone to keep it charged at all times. But even buying one or two accessories will make your wallet feel light. The phone case itself costs between $50 to $60, depending on if you have an iPhone or an Android, while the docks and batteries run between $50 to $100. If you were to purchase the entire set — the phone case, desk and vent mount, Powerstation, Charging Base, and Powerstation Mini — it’ll run you over $400.

There are tons of other portable battery options currently on the market with almost as much charging power, if not more, for a cheaper price. For Android owners, the Charge Force series is a solid option, because you don’t need to deal with constantly removing the case’s plug. We don’t recommend this for iPhone users (unless you have wireless earbuds), because simply unplugging the case is incredibly difficult. Still, at a such a steep cost for the Charge Force series, wires suddenly don’t seem too bad after all.

Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Gaming

Stock up on Switch accessories this week with these awesome Black Friday deals

Black Friday is right around the corner, and it's the perfect time to stock up on accessories for your Nintendo Switch. Here are the best Switch accessory deals on Black Friday, from controllers to cases and more.
Home Theater

What is MHL, exactly, and how does it work with your TV?

There are more ways to mirror your smartphone or tablet to your TV than you might think. Check out our rundown of MHL for everything you need to know about the wired protocol and its myriad uses.
Cars

Uber rolls out rewards program that lets its most loyal riders lock in prices

Uber launched a new loyalty program today called Uber Rewards. It offers frequent riders credits to Uber Eats, car upgrades, and the ability to lock in prices on their most traveled routes.
Gaming

15 tips for keeping your vault-dwellers alive in ‘Fallout Shelter’

The wasteland can be an unfriendly place, if you don't know what you're doing. Here are 15 tips that will help your vault thrive in Fallout Shelter, including information on questing.
Mobile

Motorola Moto G7: Here’s everything we know

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.
Mobile

T-Mobile's new Revvl 2, Revvl 2 Plus are now available for purchase

Last year, T-Mobile launched its own line of branded smartphones. As a follow-up to their predecessors, the carrier has unveiled the Revvl 2 and Revvl 2 Plus -- complete with a sleeker design. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

How to take great photos with the Pixel 3, the best camera phone around

You’ve scored yourself a new Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, and you want to take advantage of that incredible camera. We’ve got everything you need to know right here about how to snap the best photos with your Pixel 3.
Wearables

Google's Wear OS update 'H' promises battery life improvements

Google has rebranded its Android Wear operating system to Wear OS. Removing the Android name may help people better understand Google-powered smartwatches, which also play nice with iOS devices. 
Smart Home

Huawei could soon take on Google and Amazon with a new digital assistant

According to a report from CNBC, Huawei is working on a new digital assistant that could try to take on the likes of Google and Amazon's Alexa. Huawei already has a digital assistant in China, but the new one will be aimed at markets…
Mobile

Leak shows a third, budget Google Pixel 3 with a Snapdragon 670, headphone jack

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a third. A budget Pixel 3 device that boasts some of the best features of the other two has been leaked.
Mobile

Use multiple phone numbers on one device with Verizon’s ‘My Numbers’ app

For those who have separate phone numbers and devices for your work and personal lives, Verizon wants to help you get more organized. With its new "My Numbers" app, you can use up to four additional phone numbers on a single smartphone.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…