For all its advantages, Apple’s iPhone 5s still lacks a reliable form of expandable storage, something Android users enjoy with regularity. Mophie is looking to amend that (and then some) with the Space Pack, an iPhone 5 and 5s charger case that will add 16GB of storage to your iPhone for $149 and 32GB for $179. We went hands on with the versatile shell, and are impressed with the bevy of file management features it offers iPhone users.
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The Space Pack looks identical to Mophie’s new Juice Pack, with the only difference being an aluminum knob taking the place of the plastic one on the bottom of the Space Pack’s rear. The white version of the Space Pack has a shiny plastic finish, while the black variation has a cozy soft-touch feel. The back of the case has a switch for activating the charging function, with four LED indicators that show how much juice the charger has left.
Mophie’s Space Pack works in conjunction with the brand’s free Space app for iOS, which truly transforms the way you manage data on your iPhone. The Space UI has a minimally colorful design that fits right in with iOS 7′s aesthetic, with colored icons on the home screen for Gallery, Videos, Music and Documents at the top, as well as a list of recent files at the bottom. Space will automatically sort your files by category, and the home screen has a search all function for finding files quickly.
Sifting through photos on Space looks similar to the iPhone’s default Camera app, and you can easily import pictures from your iPhone 5s camera roll to if you’d like to clear space on your phone’s native hard drive. You can also take photos right from the Space app, and the software supports AirPlay and AirDrop for quickly streaming and sharing content.
According to Mophie, your computer will recognize the Space Pack as its own separate hard drive when you plug a Space Pack-equipped phone into a PC. This allows you to drag a big chunk of content, such as a few gigs of music, right to your iPhone without syncing through iTunes.
The Space Pack is available for pre-order through Mophie and will ship in March, with the 16GB model selling for $149 and the 32GB version for $179. That’s quite a premium for an iPhone case, but it’s not hard to justify when you’re getting a portable charger, a protective shell, and an external hard drive that’s unlike any we’ve seen for Apple’s smartphone.