Apple MagSafe Battery Pack assessment: comfort over capability

Apple’s new MagSafe Battery Pack is a white rectangle you possibly can keep on with the again of an iPhone 12 to cost it. It’s Apple’s third run at designing an exterior battery answer for the iPhone and I prefer it higher than the sooner battery circumstances.

Nonetheless, anyone contemplating spending $99 on this battery must preserve one necessary truth in thoughts: even Apple can’t break the legal guidelines of physics. It’s simply as certain by the identical guidelines of magnetism and electrons as everyone else.

These legal guidelines require tradeoffs: A battery that might totally cost up most iPhone 12 fashions could be large. A battery sufficiently small to not look odd on a cellphone wouldn’t have sufficient juice. Plus, electrons can solely circulation so quick with out build up warmth and degrading the battery.

Apple can’t defeat the legal guidelines of physics

Apple discovered a stability between all these extremes and it maintains that stability with a decent software program integration that aggressively manages how this battery prices your cellphone. The result’s a gadget that’s singularly targeted on the iPhone — typically to its personal detriment.

One of the best half concerning the MagSafe Battery is that it additionally serves as a fast-charging wi-fi MagSafe puck when it’s plugged in. So the large query is whether or not all that is sufficient to justify the value, particularly in comparison with the competitors.

Our assessment of
Apple MagSafe Battery Pack

Verge Rating

7 out of 10

Good Stuff

  • Works nice as a wired MagSafe charger
  • Effectively built-in with iPhone software program
  • Can even cost different Qi gadgets like AirPods

Unhealthy Stuff

  • Doesn’t present a full cost for any iPhone 12 mannequin
  • Lightning connector isn’t versatile
  • Costly

Purchase for $99.00 from Apple

The MagSafe Battery doesn’t have sufficient vitality to totally cost an iPhone 12 Mini from zero to 100%.

In my testing, the MagSafe Battery was totally drained when my iPhone 12 Mini reached 83 %, which took 130 minutes of charging. I didn’t have it plugged in for this take a look at, which meant it charged at a comparatively pokey 5W pace, in order to attenuate warmth and maximize the battery’s longevity.

I used the iPhone very sporadically throughout the charging interval (largely to report the outcomes each quarter-hour), although I did hearken to a 15-minute podcast over Bluetooth which slowed the charging down a bit.

Backside line: it’s a small battery and it’ll assist you high up your iPhone, not totally cost it. On bigger iPhone 12 fashions, it gained’t even hit that 83 %.

It performs higher than its 1,460mAh score would counsel

There’s a dialogue to have about what the suitable option to discuss battery dimension is. The MagSafe Battery solely has a 1,460mAh battery, however that quantity isn’t corresponding to different batteries as a result of it may possibly push by means of extra volts (7.62V). So the MagSafe Battery’s rated 11.13Wh (Watt-hours) is the quantity that truly issues. In the meantime, Anker makes a 5,000mAh battery with wi-fi charging and magnets for beneath $50. It’s rated at 18.5Wh, so the variations are smaller than they first seem.

The battery measurement dialogue is fascinating, nevertheless it doesn’t change the truth that the MagSafe Battery is just small. It’s meant to be pocketable and straightforward to hold, and so it is best to consider it as one thing that may stretch your battery life just a bit — not get you thru a number of days away from a charger.

As you would possibly count on, the software program expertise with the MagSafe Battery is tightly built-in into the iPhone. There are large animations that present the cost of each your cellphone and the battery while you connect it. It exhibits up on the battery degree widget, too.

Extra apparently, while you first connect the battery, your iPhone will pop up a discover that this battery gained’t cost your cellphone above 90 % — by design. These previous few share factors put a number of stress on batteries, and on this context it’s simply not value it. I feel it’s a wise transfer, however in the event you completely need that final 10 %, you possibly can lengthy press the battery icon within the Management Heart and inform it to cost previous 90 %.

I do know this sounds each sophisticated and disappointing, however in use it’s truly the alternative. I’d simply slap the battery on the again of my cellphone once I was apprehensive about battery life and didn’t sweat the small print. The end result was not needing to keep watch over battery life as a lot as I normally do. It’s elegant as a substitute of highly effective.

That’s all sensible, nevertheless it solely occurs with the iPhone. It’s actually a nicer total expertise than you’d get with the Anker battery, which is thicker besides. However the Anker has different benefits. Its battery is larger, for one factor. It additionally has a USB-C port on it that each takes cost when plugged in and can be utilized to cost gadgets through a wire. It’s much less elegant for iPhone customers, nevertheless it’s rather more versatile.

The Lightning port on the underside of the MagSafe Battery means iPhone customers can preserve utilizing the identical charging cable, so it’s most likely the suitable name to maintain it. It’s simply too dangerous that Lightning can’t cost in both course like a USB-C port can.

The MagSafe Battery is designed to match the size of the iPhone 12 Mini completely. It aligns precisely to the perimeters and is extra comfy to carry than I anticipated. When you’ve got a bigger iPhone, it’ll sit on the again a bit extra awkwardly — it appears to be like positively tiny on the iPhone 12 Professional Max.

Each battery pack appears to be like foolish hooked up to a cellphone

I polled Twitter for questions concerning the battery and I used to be greatly surprised by the vitriol I noticed in my replies — and elsewhere. It’s straightforward to make enjoyable of how a battery pack appears to be like on the again of a cellphone. It’s additionally straightforward to go after it for not offering sufficient cost. Having used it, I’m undecided I’d need it any bigger and I actually wouldn’t need it any smaller. To me, there’s no such factor as a handsome exterior battery. On the finish of the day, they’re all squarish or rectangular hunks of plastic or metallic.

The white plastic has a matte end that helps a bit with grip, however I wouldn’t name it mushy contact. I do surprise if it’ll decide up stains from blue denims over time, however within the few days I’ve been testing it, it’s remained clear.

It snaps on the again of a caseless iPhone with a satisfying snick. It’s as safe as I feel may be pretty anticipated from one thing related with magnets. It’d be good if the alignment magnet was a bit stronger, however I’m glad that my iPhone doesn’t comprise magnets so robust that it messes with bank cards. Physics!

You possibly can deliberately shake off the battery or have it slip off when placing it in your pocket, however I didn’t have these issues. Nonetheless, in case you are planning on utilizing it with a case, you completely want a MagSafe appropriate case that itself has magnets on it. I exploit a really skinny plastic case and that minimal layer was greater than sufficient to cease the magnets from working successfully.

After two days testing a pair totally different MagSafe Batteries on each an iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Professional Max, I got here to a shocking conclusion. My favourite half isn’t the battery, it’s the MagSafe charger.

Once I consider the MagSafe Battery as a MagSafe charging puck that simply occurs to have a battery hooked up to it, I feel it makes a bit extra sense as a product. Apple’s MagSafe puck prices $40 — that actually doesn’t make the $99 asking worth for this battery a deal, nevertheless it is perhaps value shopping for the battery as a substitute of the puck for some individuals.

I do need to level out that for $99 I’d have anticipated Apple to at the very least embody a Lightning cable. It doesn’t, nor does it embody a charging brick.

When plugged into a robust sufficient wall charger, the MagSafe Battery can cost the cellphone at as much as 15W, similar to the usual MagSafe disc. The charger can replenish each itself and your iPhone. If you wish to prioritize charging pace on the iPhone, you possibly can plug it in as a substitute after which the iPhone will use reverse wi-fi charging to high up the battery. (Sadly and in contrast to Android telephones, the iPhone’s reverse wi-fi charging doesn’t work for different gadgets, like AirPods.)

The MagSafe Battery’s finest function is that it’s a good MagSafe wi-fi charger. It’s additionally a good battery — however provided that you consider it as a small extender, one which trades longevity for dimension. Do I want it had extra capability? In fact. I additionally want it may have extra capability with out getting any bigger than it already is. I don’t begrudge physics and I get why Apple selected the dimensions it did.

However paying $99 for all of the MagSafe Battery’s magnificence and integration doesn’t make sense when there are less expensive choices which might be much less beholden to working with only one cellphone. A battery pack goes to look foolish it doesn’t matter what, you would possibly as effectively get one which’s as versatile as attainable.


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