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.
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 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.