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I Love Apple's Fancy New Wireless Charger, I Just Wish I Could Recommend It

Apple's fancy MagSafe Duo wireless charger for the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch is kind of incredible, but way too expensive.

magsafe duo
Tucker Bowe

The MagSafe Duo is Apple's fancy new 2-in-1 wireless charger that has a foldable design and can simultaneously charge any model of iPhone 12 and an Apple Watch. We don't know the exact release date for MagSafe Duo (just that it will arrive by the holidays), but Apple has given us a price. It will cost $129, which isn't exactly cheap.

I've been using a review version of the MagSafe Duo ahead of its release for the last week or so, and it's incredible but it's so price that it's very hard to recommend.

I've used a lot of wireless chargers, and they tend to be pretty boring. But the MagSafe Duo makes its case with a few quality-of-life features that are aimed at Apple die-hards in particular. It's integrated with Apple's new MagSafe charging system that allows it to charge any of the new iPhone 12 models faster than any other non-MagSafe wireless charger you can buy. It's also one of the few wireless chargers that works with MagSafe and can charge your Apple Watch as well. No doubt more manufacturers will release other options as time passes (Belkin is already on the case), but right now it does make the MagSafe Duo fairly unique.

It's watch charging half is particularly nice because it can flip up so you can charge your Apple Watch in Nightstand mode, meaning the Apple Watch displays the date and time while still charging at night.

magsafe duo
Tucker Bowe

Last but not least there's the compact design. The MagSafe Duo folds up into roughly the size of a bifold wallet. The two sides fold and magnetically stick together, creating a small form factor that can easily be slipped it into your pocket or backpack. You can also fold it in half and still charge your iPhone 12 if you want, too. The design makes the MagSafe Duo a uniquely nice travel charger.

It's not perfect, though. The design sometimes feels a bit flimsy. Whenever I had to pick my iPhone 12 off of it, for example, the whole MagSafe Duo lifts up too, meaning that grabbing your phone is a two-handed exercise of prying the two devices apart. It's not a deal breaker, but it doesn't make the MagSafe Duo feel like it should be permanently placed on your nightstand.

But the biggest problem is its sky-high price, in combination with the fact that despite its high cost, it doesn't even come with a wall adapter. It's ostensibly part of Apple's to reduce waste, but when it the product at issue is an extremely expensive charger it just feels ridiculous.

To get the MagSafe Duo working to its full potential, Apple recommends pairing it with a 20-watt power USB-C adapter that supports Power Delivery (PD), like this one that Apple sells for $19, which means the MagSafe Duo really costs $148 instead of $129. It's a price that's actually pretty difficult to justify given the fact that you can buy Apple's MagSafe charger ($39), an Apple Watch charger ($29) and a two companion wall adapters ($19/ea) for $106. You're essentially paying an extra $42 for the unique design and one less charging cable to worry about.

Despite my several little gripes withe MagSafe Duo and its pretty aggressive price tag, I actually really like it. If price isn't an issue and you just want the best wireless charger for your iPhone 12 and Apple Watch that Apple has to offer — go ham and get the MagSafe Duo when it comes out. But if there's doubt in your mind, you'll be better off with a more affordable option.

Price: $129


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