With the latest at this point iPhone 12, Apple introduced the new MagSafe system for charging and possibly more uses in the future.
I have shared my thoughts on the iPhone 12 itself previously here. So, today I’m going to review the Apple MagSafe charger for it.
It looks nice and sleek, and it is small. The nice-looking white and silver circle sits on the desk neatly. Then there come a couple of buts, even before I start using it.
But #1: it does not come with the power brick, so you need to buy a power adapter, a USB-C one, supporting PD 3.0, and at least over 15W delivery.
But #2: the cord is short; it’s about 3 feet and built-in, so there’s no way of using a longer cable. So, you must make sure you’re quite near the socket. Also, I’m not a fan of the cord. It’s the usual Apple type. You know, one that will most probably fray in a few months. This means that you’re probably going to get a new charger soon enough.
The MagSafe itself connects to the iPhone 12 with a quick snap. It attaches to the phone firmly, so it won’t slip off; in fact, it requires a bit of force to take it off, and you need to get hold of both pieces, which is not too comfortable.
It does charge the iPhone 12 quickly, although wired charging through the same brick via wire is much faster. Trying to charge an older iPhone was a mixed experience. I feel it depends on the individual phone or something, from what I got when I dropped with my sample charger to the office to test it out on a selection of iPhone models. Some phones charged ok, some juiced up rather slowly, and a couple would not charge at all. But the most iPhone 11s do charge, although rather slowly.
Then, the MagSafe charger damages, or rather marks, the leather case by Apple. This means that any other case soft enough will be marked as well. However, you won’t be able to use the charger with a non-MagSafe case that is not super thin.
Now let me dive into one of the most unfavorable moments with this little device: the price. The MagSafe charger itself is $39, the Apple recommended power brick for it (20W) is $19, the MagSafe compatible cases average to $49 for the silicone version. Together we come to $107. That’s a bummer price, even for Apple.
Of course, you can get away with just $58 if you don’t get the MagSafe case, but then you will need to remove the case from your iPhone to put it to charge. And that makes no sense because why go the extra step when you can just pop a wire into it.
Right now, if I were to choose between MagSafe and wire, I would choose the wire. It is much more versatile, at least for now. I mean, you will still buy that 20W or 18W power adapter most likely, because there’s little chance you have a random USB-C PD brick around your house if you’re a hardcore Apple user. You can get the Lightning to USB-C cord in a range of lengths, so you’re actually less dependent on the socket placement than with the MagSafe.
The MagSafe might get a little too warm, especially if you try using it with a case on, but that’s typical for most QI chargers. You can charge your AirPods with MagSafe if it has a wireless charging case, though it will take a bit of time. You absolutely cannot charge your Apple Watch on this, so you’re going to need a different charger for it (or buy the $129 double charger that is yet to came).
So, to wrap it up, the Apple MagSafe iPhone charger is good, overpriced, not likely to last for too long, and not without flaws. It is fun to have if you really want a QI charger that will hold your iPhone, it’s maybe worth it. But otherwise, the hope is that some better third party options will be available soon.