Just two years after Apple introduced MagSafe for iPhones, we finally get the accessory that probably should have been launched with it: a magnetic car holder that’s also capable of actually charging your phone. As 9to5Mac spottedBelkin has announced its Boost Charge Pro wireless car charger with MagSafe, which is available for pre-order at the Apple Store.
I know what some of you may be thinking: “wait, Amazon is” flooded with MagSafe car chargers, and they’re nowhere near $100. What makes this one special?” The answer is that this one is actually MagSafe, while the rest are MagSafe compatible. That means they use a ring of magnets to hold your phone, and standard Qi charging that can’t pump that much power into your phone – because Apple doesn’t allow it. (Some really suspicious listings say they can charge 15W, but it seems they mean the coil inside is technically capable of fast wireless charging for phones that aren’t iPhones.) But one that’s the official blessing of the iPhone maker is finally here… and it seems a little hard to recommend.
In fact, the Belkin’s extremely cumbersome name describes exactly how it works: you click it on your car vent and it holds up your iPhone so you can see what maps or music controls are on it (in theory, anyway – lots of car vents struggle to stay in place under the weight of a phone and cradle). It also delivers 15W of charging power, more than iPhones can get from standard Qi chargers.
As I mentioned before, this is a pretty obvious application of Apple’s MagSafe technology. That’s why it was so surprising when Belkin announced this exactly the day after the iPhone 12 introduced MagSafe — except it cost $40 and was mind-boggling that it couldn’t actually charge your phone. You know, the most important thing you wish it did when you’re trying to use a power-hungry navigation app.
Unlike that model, Belkin’s new accessory includes a built-in USB-C cable to get power from your car to your phone. That would drive me crazy, because most cars modern enough to have USB-C ports will probably come with CarPlay (although there are notable exceptions), reducing the need for this accessory. Fortunately, Belkin also includes a 12V car charger adapter for those whose cars are equipped with USB-A ports or no phone charging capabilities. That seems sensible enough, and I can’t think of any situations where that would be a problem, although I might have preferred a detachable cable on a product that’s likely to be exposed to constant sunlight.
The holder can also rotate your phone from portrait to landscape as you want to see your directions. For the most part, it seems like a perfectly competent accessory – except it costs $99.95 again.
I understand that MagSafe accessories generally aren’t cheap, but I think most people would probably want to at least consider other less expensive options. Spigen is making a $21 version of this that acts as a receptacle for a $39 . MagSafe puck. Even if you spend money for a fancy $20 dual USB-C 12V adapter (because it’s not included), you’d still be saving quite a bit of spare change. Additionally, the Spigen version comes in black, while Belkin’s version only comes in white, which stands out as a sore thumb against most dashboards.
You can also get $60. get from Belkin BoostCharge Magnetic Wireless Car Chargerwhich is “MagSafe Compatible”, meaning it holds your phone with magnets, but can only charge at 10W instead of 15W. Considering that I would expect faster wireless charging to cause my phone to overheat in the summer I might lean towards that version over the MagSafe versions.
However, if you don’t like any of these options, the Belkin Boost Charge Pro Wireless Car Charger with MagSafe start shipping on November 14.