Review: Satechi's Latest Wireless Charger Has a Magnet, But Isn't MagSafe
Satechi's latest charger, the USB-C Magnetic Wireless Charging Cable, is modeled after Apple's MagSafe charger and includes a built-in magnet that allows it to attach to Apple's iPhone 12 devices, but it's not MagSafe and can charge Apple devices at a maximum of 7.5W rather than 15W.
Since this is a Qi-based charger, it works with AirPods and also Android smartphones, and for Android smartphones that allow for faster charging, it can charge at up to 15W.
Design wise, Satechi's Magnetic Wireless Charging Cable looks similar to a MagSafe charger, but it is made from a space gray plastic with a white front that's not quite the same material as a MagSafe charger. The back of the Magnetic Wireless Charging Cable is slightly domed when attached to an iPhone, so it doesn't quite sit flush and can rock a little, but I didn't find this to be a major issue because the rounded shape is so slight.
As with a MagSafe charger, the Magnetic Wireless Charging Cable attaches to the ring of magnets in one of Apple's iPhone 12 models or a MagSafe compatible case. There's a 1.5m cord along with a USB-C connector, but the charging cable does not come with a power adapter and you must supply an 18W+ charger.
By default, the Magnetic Wireless Charging Cable can charge earlier iPhones because it's a Qi charger, but you're not going to get the same magnetic alignment unless you buy a secondary Satechi accessory, the Magnetic Sticker, which is available for iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models. The Magnetic Sticker comes with a series of guides that let you know where to place it on an iPhone 11 or an iPhone 12.
You peel off the guide, stick it to the appropriate phone, and then attach the magnet with adhesive. Once attached, the magnet that you've added to an iPhone is able to adhere to Satechi's charger with automatic alignment over the built-in wireless charging coil. The magnet is slim and it works well, making this a useful accessory for an iPhone 11, plus it can also be used to add magnets to non-MagSafe iPhone 12 cases to allow those cases to work with the Magnetic Wireless Charging Cable.
The Magnet Sticker is compatible with Apple's MagSafe Charger as well, though non-iPhone 12 models will still be limited to slower non-MagSafe charging speeds. I found the sticker to be useful for setting my iPhone 11 Pro Max to charge with my MagSafe Duo and the standard MagSafe Charger, so that might be worth picking up even if you don't plan to get the cable from Satechi. I was not able to use this with Belkin's new 3-in-1 MagSafe charger because the adhesive does not stay in place when the iPhone is positioned upright for charging, but it worked fine flat. Note that charging with the sticker using Apple's MagSafe chargers is limited to 7.5W.
I think the most logical use case for the Magnetic Wireless Charging Cable is with an iPhone 11 model and the Magnetic Sticker. At $29.99 + $9.99 for the sticker, it's reasonably priced, and the magnetic attachment makes it simpler to use than standard Qi-based wireless chargers where you might need to shift things around to get the alignment right.
The Magnetic Wireless Charging Cable is also fine for the iPhone 12 models, and I found that it attaches to the correct spot and charges at the advertised 7.5W speed, but it's just not as fast as MagSafe. It has the same design as the MagSafe Charger and is just $10 cheaper, so iPhone 12 owners will likely be better served paying the extra $10 for the faster 15W MagSafe charging (or 12W if you have an iPhone 12 mini).
There are already other "magnetic" chargers like this Satechi charger on the market, and there's a lot of potential for confusion here. Chargers that aren't official MagSafe chargers (Apple requires Made for iPhone certification for MagSafe) are not going to charge an iPhone 12 model at 15W even though they're attaching to the iPhone magnetically, so those who want to make sure they're getting the fastest charging will need to double check labeling and advertised charging speed.
As I said up above, I like the Magnetic Wireless Charging Cable paired with the Magnetic Sticker as a simple wireless charging solution for the iPhone 11 models, but it's not an accessory that I would recommend for the iPhone 12 models because for $10 more, you can get double the charging speed with the $39 MagSafe Charger.
That said, if you want something that's more affordable and don't mind the slower charging speeds, the Magnetic Wireless Charging Cable works as well as any Qi-based charger and has the benefit of easy-attach magnets.
How to Buy
Note: Satechi provided MacRumors with a Magnetic Wireless Charging Cable and Magnetic Sticker for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.