Hands-On With Apple's New MagSafe Duo Charger for iPhone 12 and Apple Watch
Apple on Tuesday finally released the MagSafe Duo Charger, which is a $129 charger that combines an iPhone 12 MagSafe charger with an Apple Watch charging puck.
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.
Top Rated Comments
The magsafe duo has a lightning port on it, and you plug that in to the duo, then you drop your phone on the duo while you’re sleeping.
The charging speed of your phone doesn’t matter, because you’re sleeping, and as long as it’s charged when you wake up, it should be fine.
If you absolutely need a quick boost of power, just unplug the lightning cable from the duo, and plug it directly into your phone. Then, you get the full 20 W speed, and your phone can be charged super quickly.
I don’t understand this whole hemming and Hawing over the fact that it only gets to 11 W instead of 14 W with a 20 W brick. First of all, as someone who has used the regular magsafe, it rarely gets to that theoretical 15 W. Your phone has to be extremely cool, and almost dead to actually be charging at full speed.
The second that your phone starts to heat up, it instantly lowers down to somewhere between nine and 12 W.
If you start using your phone while it’s charging on the regular MagSafe, it goes even slower.
Basically what I’m saying is, if you’re planning on buying this product, don’t worry about charging speed. As long as you use the 20 W brick, it will be fine.
And in Zollo tech’s review, he used the old 18 W brick with it, and it got up to 10.7 W. So really, as long as you’re using the 18 W brick, you should be fine.
If you absolutely need fast charging, then you shouldn’t be using a wireless charger, or just unplug the lightning from the duo, and plug it directly into your phone for a quick boost.
I got mine today and I really like it. I expected it to be lighter (weight) than it actually proved to be. The phone attaches easily. It is easier to get the phone off the Duo, when you want the phone. In fact, way easier than with the MagSafe puck.
One of the things I really like about the Duo, is the compact power plug from Apple. I have had the Belkin and Mophie multi device chargers and there power adapters can be HUGE. Moreover, the fact that you are using one compact power source, rather than two, can be important if you live in an older dwelling where outlets and access to them can be severely limited. For me, that is why I purchased the Duo. Same can be said for office charging. Well spaced and easily accessible outlets are not always possible, when doing wireless charging
And about the price? People can spend well in excess of a $1000 for a phone and yet quibble about the Duo being $30 to $60 over-priced. I don’t get it.
And about charging speed? If you put your phone and watch on the charger and then go to sleep, is charging speed critical, as long as it is done by when you get up.
The negativity here can be significant.