Hands-On With Apple's New MagSafe Duo Charger for iPhone 12 and Apple Watch
We picked up one of the new MagSafe Duo chargers to see if it's worth Apple's super high asking price.
Apple first introduced the MagSafe Duo alongside the new iPhone 12 models in October, but until its surprise release on Tuesday, there was no word on when it would come out. It's available from the Apple online store now, and also some retail stores in the United States.
The MagSafe Duo is made from a white material with a book-style design. One half has a MagSafe charger that attaches magnetically to iPhone 12 models, while the other half has an Apple Watch charging puck. The Apple Watch charging puck can be used flat or it can pop up so you can charge the Apple Watch in Nightstand mode, but the MagSafe charger remains flat. The design is simple and clean, and it folds over neatly, something that will be great for future travel.
On the surface, the MagSafe Duo looks like a decent charging option, but at its price point, there are compromises to be aware of. It does not ship with a power adapter so you need to purchase one or use one that you already own, and there are charging limitations.
The MagSafe Charger on its own can charge an iPhone 12 at up to 15W with Apple's 20W USB-C charger, but if you use that same 20W USB-C charger with the MagSafe Duo, an iPhone 12 will be limited to a maximum of 11W. You can use a 27W+ charger instead and it will charge at up to 14W, but it is not able to hit that 15W maximum. Apple's 20W USB-C Power Adapter costs $19, and the 30W version is $49, so adding on a charger raises the cost of the MagSafe Duo quite a bit.
There have also been some MagSafe Charger charging limitations with certain power adapters that are PD 3.0 compatible, and that may also be a concern with the MagSafe Duo.
At the $129 price point, the MagSafe Duo really should have come with a power adapter rather than just a USB-C to Lightning cable. A standalone Apple Watch charging puck is $29 and a MagSafe Charger is $39 for a total of $68, but Apple is charging close to twice that to connect them together.
There are plenty of wireless charging options that are well over $100, but most of those include power adapters. There aren't any other multi-device MagSafe charging options that are available at the current time, but third-party manufacturers are working on solutions that might be better than what Apple is offering.
So who should buy this? Apple fans who have an Apple Watch and an iPhone 12 and who plan to travel often will likely find the MagSafe Duo useful, but it's not a must-have accessory nor is it any kind of deal, which is worth keeping in mind. We recommend waiting to see what kind of third-party accessories come out in the next few months.