Duet Review: A Premium Two-in-One Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone

Given that the Apple Watch has an advertised 18-hours battery life based on mixed usage, chances are that you will be taking off the wrist-worn device each night to charge. Naturally, accessory makers have been quick to jump on the opportunity to create a wide variety of Apple Watch stands for docking the watch on your bedside table or elsewhere. Ahead, we take a closer look at one of them.

Antsy Labs has risen to the challenge with a Kickstarter project for Duet, a two-in-one stand for docking the Apple Watch and iPhone together. The stand is machined from a solid block of aluminum, in silver, space gray or gold, giving it considerable weight and a sleek design that closely matches the look of the MacBook, iPad, iPhone and other anodized aluminum Apple products.

Duet Apple Watch Stand Full
I received a prototype unit of the Duet that I have been testing over the past week, and my first impressions are mostly favorable. Given that the Duet unit I received was part of a limited production run for members of the press, the stand has a few imperfections that will not be found on the final product. In particular, there are a few minor scuffs on the stand, and the finish isn't as shiny as the unit that will ship to customers.

First and foremost, Duet's built-in magnets allow you to attach the Apple Watch stand to the symmetrical iPhone dock or separate both pieces and charge your Apple Watch and iPhone separately. This multipurpose functionality is a major selling point for the stand, given that many Apple Watch and iPhone standalone stands and docks are available for considerably less than Duet's future $99 price tag.

Duet Apple Watch Stand
Duet has an aesthetically pleasing design that both looks and feels premium, and smartly placed cutouts along the stand's arm and pedestal hide the Lightning connector and Apple Watch charging cables for a clean setup. The stand is quite heavy, and has suction pads on the bottom, allowing for one-handed removal of an iPhone or Apple Watch without the entire stand sliding or moving on most surfaces.

At the same time, one major concern I have about the Duet's design is the lack of rubber inserts — like the Twelve South HiRise — to protect the Apple Watch against possible wear and tear. I just spent close to $750 on my stainless steel Apple Watch and shouldn't have to be worried about scratching it or the charging puck, but I found myself worried more often than not. The potential for metal-on-metal contact was the Duet's biggest downfall in my testing, although the Apple Watch does not physically touch the stand.


Overall, the Duet has a premium design and delivers multipurpose functionality as a two-in-one stand for Apple Watch and iPhone. The stand earns a favorable recommendation, but the lack of rubber inserts where the Apple Watch is positioned and expensive price tag are off-putting enough for me to suggest looking into alternatives as well. ElevationLab's NightStand, for example, is a silicone Apple Watch stand that costs just $30.

Duet is available for a $79 pledge on Kickstarter, where it has already exceeded its $25,000 funding goal, and will retail for $99 after the campaign ends. The stand is compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with or without a case. Antsy Labs plans to start shipping Duet to customers in July, but is striving to begin deliveries even sooner. Kickstarter rewards will be shipped towards August.



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56 months ago

Methinks someone at MACRumors is seeing a kickback for talking up the Kickstarter for this average-at-best iPhone and :apple:Watch dock.

Until this ships from their Kickstarter campaign, why even talk about it? They may not get funded, or make it through production. Or, they could have several issues a la Nomad and their subpar :apple: charging devices.


No kickbacks at all. They sent me a prototype stand via FedEx to my front door and that's it.

Someone always makes this comment.

Ugh. Why do all of these stands show usage with a naked iPhone? Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't nearly all iPhones are in some sort of case?

Show me a stand that has an adjustable lightning connector depth at the base and I'm in.


There is a case on my iPhone. Look closely.
Rating: 5 Votes
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56 months ago
When they say they are trying for a July or late June shipping date, they are talking about the Kickstarter rewards. August was their initial projected shipping date, and it's been bumped up for Kickstarter rewards. This review is misleading.

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Methinks someone at MACRumors is seeing a kickback for talking up the Kickstarter for this average-at-best iPhone and :apple:Watch dock.

Until this ships from their Kickstarter campaign, why even talk about it? They may not get funded, or make it through production. Or, they could have several issues a la Nomad and their subpar :apple: charging devices.


Already funded. Stop whining.
Rating: 4 Votes
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56 months ago

What is this? AntsyLabsRumors???

"Sleek"??? First word that came to mind was "clunky". Looks like it came out of a middle-school shop class.


Yup. I agree, it looks terrible. Not minimalist at all. What's with the bumper?
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
56 months ago

Ugh. Why do all of these stands show usage with a naked iPhone? Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't nearly all iPhones are in some sort of case?

Show me a stand that has an adjustable lightning connector depth at the base and I'm in.


Hey, I'm behind this project and thought I'd answer your questions. No prejudice against case-users here. ;) we just prefer to display our products with the naked iPhone. That being said, Duet is compatible with most cases on the market (the main exceptions being cases such as the Otterbox Defender, Lifeproof, etc. that have permanently hinged flaps for covering the Lightning Connector port).

And as for the Lightning Cable being adjustable, Duet features the ability to adjust the height that the cable sits fixed in the dock. So whether you're docking your iPhone naked or with a case, you'll be able to tailor the height to exactly what you want. :)
Rating: 3 Votes
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56 months ago
Kinda reminds me of the Elevation Dock of a little while ago, except, you know... with a bracket. :)
Rating: 2 Votes
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56 months ago

I love my phone naked as well. Just during the work week (aka the majority of the time) it's in a case :-(

As for the adjustability, bravo! I'm glad to hear that someone thinks of those things. I'd note that somewhere.


Totally understandable. I had a period of time where mine was in and out of a case throughout the course of a week too.

With respect to noting the adjustability, thanks for the feedback. :) Will definitely add a note to the FAQ on the page.

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$99 is LOL for a stand


Just as a general comment regarding the machining process of Duet: currently it takes approximately 5 hours to machine, glass bead blast and anodize each Duet. Production will of course allow us to cut this number down, but we thought it'd be interesting to those not familiar with the amount of time that's spent on each unit. :)

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Good concept (since both devices typically need to be close to each other) but poor execution. It's silly that one has to remove the phone in order to place or take out the watch. Well, it may be possible to do that with the phone sitting in the dock, but it would've made a lot more sense to flip the watch stand to the other side.


Thanks for your comments. No need to remove your iPhone to dock/undock your Apple Watch (or vice versa). We've made sure there's more than enough space to do so comfortably/naturally. :)
Rating: 1 Votes
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56 months ago

Thanks for the response, but wouldn't it make more sense to put the watch stand's leg to the right side instead of left? While there may be enough space between the watch stand and phone dock, it's still a tight fit. On the video, the person touches the phone with his hand as he removes the watch.


Based on the physics of the stand, it's important that the weight is centered to provide the best stability. The design (with the Watch cradle extending over the base) paired with the nano suction material on the underside of the base ensures that it's nice and sturdy. :)

We shot this video while we were still getting accustomed to the dock. I use mine every night and typically leave it un-clasped, going directly from the front. Even for clasped watches, the space is ample, but we were still getting the hang of things. ;) In our everyday use, we've had no issues with undocking/docking.
Rating: 1 Votes
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56 months ago
I like it and I backed the campaign for 1 stand. Can't wait to get it and try it out.
Rating: 1 Votes
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56 months ago
despite all the circle jerking in this thread, the kickstarter is apparently well over goal and over a half of campaign left.

Well, you guys showed him, right?
Rating: 1 Votes
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55 months ago
Just pledged for two. Hopefully my watch will eventually arrive at some point too ;P
Rating: 1 Votes
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