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.

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