Go to Amazon and search for iPhone charging stand and you’ll be presented with thousands of results, ranging from under $10 to north of $50. From compact to desktop, wired to wireless, there are so many options to choose from.
When the iPhone 12 was released last fall, Apple threw a curveball into the mix with a new form of charging called MagSafe. Taking the name from magnetic power cords once used on Mac computers, the revamped MagSafe is a magnetic charging system built into the latest iPhones that open the floodgates to all kinds of new quick-connect chargers, cases and other gadgets.
Of course, all those extra gadgets come at a cost, including a 2-in-1 charging stand from Belkin made specifically to work with MagSafe. If you have an iPhone 12, the question is whether or not this new charging option is worth the price tag.
MagSafe: A short story
When Apple announced the iPhone 12 lineup, I was intrigued by MagSafe for a couple of reasons, but not because of its history on Macs. The main reason was, up until this point, you could either charge your smartphone wirelessly or use it with magnetic docks. That is unless you don’t mind taking the case off every time you plan to drop it on a charger.
The other reason is that traditional wireless charging is slow. At least that’s always been the case with Qi-compatible iPhones going back to the iPhone 8 in 2017. The only options available were 5W charging, which will charge an iPhone 12 a little over 30% in the course of one hour, or the maximum 7.5W that will add 40% over the same time period.
MagSafe allows your iPhone 12 (except the Mini) to charge twice as fast at 15W. That means the ability to add 30%-plus to your iPhone in only 30 minutes. And you have the best of both worlds when it comes to wireless charging and docking magnetically.
MagSafe charging options are limited
Because MagSafe is still new when it comes to iPhones, there are not many truly compatible chargers on the market. The official Apple MagSafe Charger is a cable that sells for $39, although it doesn’t come with the wall adapter.
And if you want to take advantage of fast MagSafe charging, you’ll need to spring for Apple’s 20W USB-C Power Adapter that costs $19 (or this smaller Anker alternative).
Apple also makes the MagSafe Duo Charger that charges both your iPhone 12 and an Apple Watch that’ll set you back $129 and again, that’s without the wall adapter. Enter Belkin …
Announced in conjunction with the iPhone 12, Belkin rolled out the initial line of MagSafe-compatible accessories, including the recently-released Boost Charge Pro 2-in-1 Wireless Charger Stand with MagSafe. Belkin sent me a unit to test.
Belkin’s MagSafe charging stand
Belkin’s 2-in-1 stand is named that because it’ll charge your iPhone 12 and your wireless Apple AirPods. As far as the aesthetics go, it’s certainly an elegant and modern charging stand that won’t look out of place on a desk or nightstand.
It’s sturdy with a metal arm and a soft, premium finish along the base and MagSafe charger. What’s also nice is that the power cable comes in the box, unlike Apple’s charging options. While the Belkin wall adapter is a little on the chunky side, it can charge an iPhone 12 at full 15W MagSafe speed.
When describing MagSafe, Apple simply says, “everything just clicks,” and that’s accurate. I’m not exactly sure why, but it’s somehow satisfying how it just snaps into place when the magnetic ring in the iPhone lines up with the charger. You can also rotate the phone to any angle you like while it’s docked.
It’s also just as easy to disconnect with a motion where you pull the top of the iPhone down and toward you, which keeps the base from moving. By the way, the base actually charges other brands of wireless earbuds, too, as long as the charging case fits within the divot on the base of the stand.
Is this charging stand for you?
Make no mistake, this charging stand is a luxury. Convenience with a price point that will make it hard for people to justify. However, if you want a premium charger to go with your premium smartphone, then it’s absolutely a consideration — as long as you check these boxes:
- Own an iPhone 12
- Own a MagSafe case (or you don’t mind removing your non-MagSafe case)
- Own a pair of AirPods capable of wireless charging
If so, then the Belkin BoostCharge Pro 2-in-1 stand might fill that charging void in your life you weren’t aware you had. It comes in two colors, black and white, for $99.99. The black version is available for pre-order at Belkin.com and estimated to ship in late March, while both models seem to be in-stock at Apple’s online store.
If you want to take it up a notch, consider Belkin’s existing 3-in-1 version of the stand that also charges your Apple Watch. It’s available for $149.99. While it’s not for everyone, even if you have an iPhone 12, my interest in MagSafe made this a convenience I could justify splurging on.
A couple of other considerations …
If you search for other MagSafe products, it can be deceiving because you’ll see so many chargers and docks listed as “MagSafe compatible.” Any kind of charger or dock can be “compatible” if it sports a magnet big enough to encompass the size of the MagSafe ring in your iPhone. But a charger that isn’t made to work with MagSafe (MFI-certified) will charge your iPhone just as slow as any other Qi wireless option.
That brings me to my last point: MagSafe or not, nothing will charge your iPhone as fast as simply plugging it into a wall with a fast charge adapter. An iPhone 12 maxes out at 15W for MagSafe but can reach 20W with the right cable (that came with your iPhone) and a USB-C wall adapter that’s sold separately.
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