Native Union's Apple Watch charging solution, dubbed the "Anchor," is definitely winning in one category: its simplicity. The new accessory is neither a stand nor a dock, but more of a pad designed to nestle an Apple Watch charger and act as a dedicated area for users to rest their Apple Watches on to give them power. It's a stripped-down approach that makes the Anchor endearing, but ultimately also keeps it from becoming a front-runner in the budget-minded Apple Watch charging solution market.

Design

The Anchor is crafted in two separate parts, with a non-slip silicone acting as the base for a weighted zinc alloy for resting the Apple Watch on. The two halves come apart for installation, which is a simple process thanks to the ease with which the silicone base forms around Apple's inductive charging puck. It'll also be a breeze for those who travel frequently, since the Anchor's small footprint and minuscule weight (3.2 ounces) should be easily accommodated in a travel bag.

anchor dock 2
Due to its flat build, it should be mentioned that the Anchor's small size is a bit deceptive initially, as its 2-or-so inches become anywhere between 10 to 12 inches (depending on Band size) once the Apple Watch lays on the dock. And given its design, the Anchor doesn't elevate the Apple Watch above and away from a desk's clutter while being charged -- as many other docks successfully achieve -- instead tending to add to any clutter.

Design wise, there's not much else to say about the Anchor. With a small stature and rudimentary -- but functional -- design, it should make most owners of the Apple wearable happy. In particular, those who find the large size of some other docks to be a burden, or believe the bigger stands take away from the Apple Watch as its own centerpiece may appreciate the Anchor.

Daily Use

Note that I said most owners of the Apple Watch will be happy here, because the Anchor has one glaring problem: if you have any closed-loop band you simply can't use Native Union's charging base. Those with a Milanese Loop or Link Bracelet, or another third-party band of a similar nature, would have to lift the entire Anchor off the surface it's on, place the Apple Watch on it, and sit it back down with the base resting atop the closed-loop band.

anchor dock 4
As someone who has recently invested in a Milanese Loop, the Anchor was essentially pointless in my initial testing, forcing me to go back to a few of my old Sport Bands to truly see the use of the stand on a daily basis. Thankfully, in that sense, it's functional, but also questionably superfluous. Those 3.2 ounces of weight are more than the charging puck by itself, but still not enough to truly give the Anchor any tangible sense of security if it sits precariously close to the edge of a desk or bedside table.

anchor dock 1
The metallic alloy that covers the top of the Anchor is appealing, but as with any metal Apple Watch stand it may cause some to worry about scratches when resting and taking the device off the Anchor. It makes the Anchor tie into the Apple aesthetic nicely, but it's also a reminder that that's all the stand is for: providing users a more visually appealing alternative to just sitting the Apple Watch atop its charging puck alone.

Bottom Line

For $29.99, a dedicated, simplistic tool to charge an Apple Watch may be perfectly reasonable to some. But the Anchor has so many caveats that its list of cons creates an accessory that's hard to recommend, even to the users who can use it in the first place.

anchor dock 3
If you are on the hunt for a reasonably priced, non-showy charging solution for the Apple Watch -- and don't own a closed-loop band -- Native Union's option could work for you. But it's hard to escape the fact that most will get the same satisfaction and use out of the Anchor that they could get from taping down a MagSafe charger onto the spot on their desk where they want to charge the Apple Watch.

Pros

  • Non-showy design puts Apple Watch as centerpiece
  • Super easy installation and removal of MagSafe charger

Cons

  • Doesn't support closed-loop bands
  • Slightly increased weight would have been welcome to provide more security from spills
  • Requires more space than initially expected
  • Doesn't support all watchOS 2 features, particularly Nightstand mode
  • Too rudimentary in functionality, even for $29.99

How to Buy

Native Union's Anchor dock can be purchased from the company's official online store for $29.99. The company also sells a more full-featured Apple Watch dock for $59.99 that functions with every watch band and even supports Nighstand mode.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

prowlmedia Avatar
89 months ago
This 'dock' is literally the most pointless thing I've ever seen. It serves zero purpose. It's a square container for a round charger. That's it. I genuinely hope they don't sell a single one.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
electorate Avatar
89 months ago
I personally grab a bit of sticky tac and stick the charger to my nightstand.. Cheaper version of doing this I guess.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Hedwigg Avatar
89 months ago
This 'dock' is literally the most pointless thing I've ever seen. It serves zero purpose. It's a square container for a round charger. That's it. I genuinely hope they don't sell a single one.
I... I don't even understand. Who in their right mind would buy this? I'm so confused.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
testcard Avatar
89 months ago
So it's just a box for the charger.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
runeapple Avatar
89 months ago
As a Watch owner who is looking for a watch stand, even I don't feel the need for this daily watch stand plugs.

Also worth noting that every one has been ugly so far, but at least this one doesn't look like repurposed chopping board!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple Watch Series 7 Starlight Midnight

Standard Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature Same Design as Series 7

Friday August 5, 2022 7:46 am PDT by
The standard 41mm and 45mm models of the Apple Watch Series 8 will feature the same design as the Apple Watch Series 7, according to Twitter user @ShrimpApplePro, who was first to reveal that iPhone 14 Pro models would feature a new pill-and-hole display. Titanium will not be an option for the standard Apple Watch Series 8 models either, according to @ShrimpApplePro, but Bloomberg's Mark...
cook sept 2020 event

Gurman: Apple Preparing Pre-Recorded iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 Event

Sunday August 7, 2022 6:13 am PDT by
Apple has "started to record" its virtual September event, where it's expected to announce the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 8, and a new "rugged" Apple Watch model, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman says the event, which is expected to take place in the early part of September, is already under production, implying...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

Five iPhone 14 Rumors You May Have Missed

Thursday August 4, 2022 6:05 am PDT by
With August upon us, the countdown is officially on. We're just weeks away from when we're expecting Apple to announce the iPhone 14 lineup. Rumors of the next iPhone start early in the year, and as a result, some details about the upcoming device sometimes get lost in the crowd. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo To help MacRumors readers, we've created a ...
banish safari app pop ups

New iOS App Blocks Those Annoying 'Open in App' Pop-Ups in Safari

Friday August 5, 2022 2:47 am PDT by
You've probably experienced visiting a website like Reddit or LinkedIn on your iPhone only to be greeted with an annoying, almost full-screen pop-up urging you to view the content in their app instead of on the website. It's a common practice for websites that have accompanying iOS apps to push users to open (if they already have the app installed) or download their app from the App Store to ...
top stories 7aug22

Top Stories: iPadOS 16 Delayed, iPhone 14 Pro Rumors, Studio Display Speaker Issues

Saturday August 6, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
The big Apple news this week was word that the upcoming iPadOS 16 update apparently won't be arriving alongside its counterpart update for the iPhone in September, largely due to a need to continue refining the new Stage Manager multitasking feature. Other popular stories this week included more hints about the iPhone 14 Pro's rumored always-on display, potential design leaks for the...