A $139.95 wireless charger that looks like a cross between a bonsai tree and the decor from 2001: A Space Odyssey might seem like a niche product. But if you have an iPhone 12 and an Apple Watch, Belkin’s ridiculously named Boost↑Charge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charger with MagSafe is actually great.
Charging Apple devices has gotten more complicated recently, at least for me. Now that the Apple Watch tracks sleep, I’ve been charging it with a messy cable at my desk for an hour or so when I start the day, instead of overnight. And while I prefer to use vertical wireless chargers so I can read notifications as they come in, the iPhone 12 mini turns out to be too small for most stands — the charging coil isn’t high enough on the back of the phone.
Belkin’s new charger not only solves both of those problems, it makes wireless charging a better experience than ever before. The tree-like design has two stainless steel “branches” — one on the left with a 15W MagSafe puck for the iPhone, and one on the right with an Apple Watch charger. There’s also a 5W Qi charger embedded in the base, which should work with pretty much any Qi device.
This is the first official third-party MagSafe charger, and I find it far more useful than either of Apple’s own options. It props the phone up at the perfect height for quick glances when you’re at your desk, and the charger’s base is sturdy enough that you can attach and detach the phone one-handed without the base moving around. The phone feels very secure either by itself or in Apple’s MagSafe-compatible leather case.
The Apple Watch charger works equally well, and I’m glad that something like this ended up on my desk instead of Apple’s ill-fated AirPower universal charger. That device was supposed to charge the Watch as well as the iPhone, but it probably wouldn’t have worked with the loop-style bands I usually wear as they’d get in the way of the watch’s charging element. This solution works with all watch bands, and it’s much more convenient than fiddling with a cable.
The Qi charger on the base does what you’d expect it to. It’s ideal for low-powered Qi devices like AirPods that only charge at up to 5W, but it’s fine for Android phones too as long as you’re not in need of a fast charge. The base is big enough to fit larger phones without the steel stand getting in the way.
My biggest complaint with this charger is that the power supply uses a barrel jack instead of USB-C, but it’s not a big deal for something that will never leave my desk. It’s still not for everyone, of course. You might reasonably think the design is too weird or the price too steep. I personally like the way it looks, though, and while it’s certainly not cheap, I think it’s better value than either of Apple’s MagSafe chargers so far.
Belkin also makes a similar MagSafe dock without an Apple Watch charger for $100, which is probably a better option for most people. If you’ve found yourself with my specific charging dilemmas of late, however, I can recommend the 3-in-1 version pretty highly.