Review: AT&T's Power Drum Can Charge Your Apple Watch and Another Qi Device on the Go, but Phones Are a Bit of a Balancing Act

by

Ever since the Apple Watch launched in 2015, we've seen countless products that save up some counter or desktop space by letting you charge your Apple Watch and iPhone in one spot. There are numerous versions of this type of accessory, and now AT&T has released its own with the Power Drum.

The Power Drum is a cylindrical charger with a small 3-inch footprint that houses a built-in Apple Watch charger and is topped with a Qi-compatible wireless charging surface (subtly designed with the AT&T logo). The Power Drum can be used as a desktop charger through the included micro-USB charging cable, or on-the-go thanks to a 3,000 mAh internal battery.

power drum 1
There are a few things that work for the Power Drum, but to start with its most glaring issue, the accessory is just too small to reliably use as a wireless charger for the ‌iPhone‌. With just a 2-inch base to place your ‌iPhone‌ on (the top portion is smaller than the foot of the Power Drum), placing my iPhone 11 Pro Max on the Power Drum every night for the past week or so always felt like a risk.

Going about this process is frustrating because I had to not only aim for the Qi hotspot on my ‌iPhone‌, but also ensure that the ‌iPhone‌ was properly balanced on the Power Drum at the same time. The right wireless charging position typically never aligned with the perfect balancing position, and it always left me uncertain about leaving my brand-new ‌iPhone 11 Pro Max‌ dangling above the stand for any length of time.

power drum 2
In terms of ‌iPhone‌ charging, I found the Power Drum to offer the typical wireless charging performance. It trickle charged my ‌iPhone 11 Pro Max‌ at a solid rate overnight, but on a few occassions I did notice charging stopped before my ‌iPhone‌ was topped off. As a mobile battery, the Power Drum just isn't sensible for the Pro Max. Its 3,000 mAh battery can offer a bit of charge to the 3,969 mAh battery on the Pro Max, but once you account for the efficiency loss of wireless charging, the Power Drum doesn't come close to fully charging the smartphone.

AT&T's accessory makes more sense as an Apple Watch charger in both desktop and mobile formats. I was able to charge my Apple Watch Series 5's ~300 mAh battery multiple times without needing to fuel up the Power Drum. This makes the accessory a solid Apple Watch charger for places where a cord is unable to reach, like a bathroom countertop, but it is something you'll have to remember to charge up every few days.

power drum 4
The Power Drum separates into two parts, including a rubberized base and the central drum-shaped battery. Under the base are inserts sized for each version of the ‌Apple Watch‌, helping to make sure your Apple Watch lines up with the charging puck on the front of the Power Drum.

power drum 5
The drum simply nests into the base, allowing you to place your Apple Watch around the drum and use Nightstand Mode, but I never found the two pieces were secured together enough. Easy disassembly will make packing it for travel less of a pain, but could also result in lost parts (particularly those Apple Watch case sizing inserts).

power drum 6
AT&T intends you to charge an Apple Watch and smartphone simultaneously, but I found the device to be more useful as an Apple Watch and AirPods charger. The Qi mat is just big enough for the AirPods Pro to fit, so it's less of a risk than placing your ‌iPhone‌ on the top of the mat.

This makes the Power Drum a convenient home hub for your Apple accessories if you have a nearby outlet to keep it constantly plugged in. Still, even with my ‌AirPods Pro‌ I had to occasionally shift the ‌AirPods‌ around to find the right charging spot on the Power Drum.

Bottom Line

There are aspects to the design of the Power Drum that work, but AT&T's overall execution of the device is lacking. Charging your ‌iPhone‌ on the accessory is simply not a good idea, so you'll really only want to look into it if you have an Apple Watch and another, smaller Qi-supported device like the ‌AirPods‌.

power drum 3
But at $99.99 ($59.99 on sale), there just aren't enough positive aspects of the Power Drum to recommend it. For those interested in learning more, you can find the Power Drum on AT&T's website.

Note: AT&T provided MacRumors with the Power Drum for the purpose of this review, and no other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with AT&T. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Tag: AT&T

Top Rated Comments

now i see it Avatar
13 months ago
No review was required for this thing Anyone can see its glaring faults.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Unity451 Avatar
13 months ago


there just aren't enough positive aspects of the Power Drum to recommend it.

Sounds like the Power Drum is about as awesome as AT&T as a whole.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
whyamihere Avatar
13 months ago
Ugly, cheap-looking, poor design, ridiculous price... at least AT&T remains consistent.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PickUrPoison Avatar
13 months ago
That thing is ridiculous.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
decypher44 Avatar
13 months ago
Is it April 1st already?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vipergts2207 Avatar
13 months ago
What’s wrong AT&T, couldn’t make the logos any bigger?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

0 Deals Hero

Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Deals to Plan For

Saturday November 21, 2020 10:00 am PST by
In the lead-up to Black Friday next week, we've been putting a spotlight on the best deals coming from various retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. In an effort to further prepare our readers for the best Black Friday deals, we're breaking down what we think should be on your radar for Black Friday in 2020. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
m1 mac mini vignette

Apple Lists M1-Based Mac Mini Logic Boards With 10 Gigabit Ethernet in Internal Parts Ordering System

Friday November 20, 2020 9:32 am PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M1 chip is only available with Gigabit Ethernet, Apple has listed multiple M1-based Mac mini logic boards with 10 Gigabit Ethernet in an internal parts list for Apple Authorized Service Providers. For every Mac mini logic board with Gigabit Ethernet in the parts list, obtained by MacRumors, there is a corresponding logic board with 10 Gigabit Ethernet:...
new m1 chip

Craig Federighi: Native Windows on M1 Macs is 'Really up to Microsoft'

Friday November 20, 2020 11:57 am PST by
Following the release of the M1 Macs Apple executives have been doing interviews with a range of publications, and today, Ars Technica published another interview with software engineering chief Craig Federighi, hardware technologies lead Johny Srouji, and marketing VP Greg Joswiak. Much of the interview focuses on topics that the three have already covered in prior discussions, but there is ...
14

Apple Releases iOS 14.2.1 With Fix for Text Message Bug and iPhone 12 Mini Lock Screen Issues

Thursday November 19, 2020 10:16 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 14.2.1, a bug fix update that comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 14.2 and is available for Apple's new iPhone 12 models. The iOS 14.2.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's release notes, iOS...
Walmart November Deals Hero

Black Friday Spotlight: Walmart Will Have AirPods Pro Down to Lowest Price of $169, and More Apple Deals

Thursday November 19, 2020 8:05 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Walmart. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Next ...
apple leather sleeve

Leather Sleeve for iPhone 12 Models Now Available From Apple

Friday November 20, 2020 12:16 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the Leather Sleeve for the new iPhone 12 models, with the accessory having first been announced alongside the updated iPhones in October. Priced at $129, the Leather Sleeve is not a case and is designed to be removed when the iPhone is in use. It features a cutout at the front that displays the time, and it comes with a matching leather strap. According to Apple, it ...
iOS14AntitrackFacebookSadfeature

Apple Confirms Commitment to App Tracking Transparency in Letter Condemning Facebook's Data Collection [Updated]

Thursday November 19, 2020 11:58 am PST by
Apple in iOS 14 is planning to introduce a new App Tracking Transparency feature that will let users know when companies want to track them across apps and website. Following outcry from developers like Facebook and ad networks unprepared for the change, Apple delayed the implementation of the anti-tracking functionality until early 2021. Eight civil society organizations recently sent a...
maxresdefault

CrossOver Allows x86 Windows Apps to Run on Apple M1 Macs

Wednesday November 18, 2020 6:07 pm PST by
Codeweavers posted a blog post and video tonight showing off CrossOver running on an Apple M1 MacBook Air. This video shows Team Fortress 2 running on a new M1 MacBook Air: CrossOver is software (based on Wine Project) that runs Microsoft Windows apps on the Mac by translating Windows APIs into their Mac equivalents. The Codeweavers team was able to run the current version of CrossOver on...
macbookpro13large

Apple Offers Instructions on What to Do if macOS Big Sur Causes Installation Errors on 2013 and 2014 MacBook Pro

Thursday November 19, 2020 6:12 pm PST by
Following the release of macOS Big Sur last week, a number of 2013 and 2014 MacBook Pro owners found that the update bricked their machines. Affected users saw their Macs get stuck displaying a black screen after attempting to install the new software. Apple has now addressed this issue in a new support document that provides instructions on what to do if macOS Big Sur can't be installed on...
128gb m1 macbook air education cropped

$799 M1 MacBook Air With 128GB Storage for Education Institutions Spotted Online

Friday November 20, 2020 5:15 am PST by
A new configuration of the M1 MacBook Air with 128GB of storage and a lower $799 price has today been spotted on Apple's U.S. Education Institution Hardware and Software Price List. The M1 MacBook Air is only available with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of storage. There is currently no 128GB configuration on the Apple Store. However, Reddit user "u/dduci97" noticed that Apple has listed...