When Apple first announced MagSafe, I wasn't particularly drawn to the idea of an Apple Watch-style charging puck for my iPhone 12. My first thought was that it was going to leave a circular mark on the back of my device if used without a case (which is how I carry my phone) and the cases Apple launched alongside it are an abomination.
While I could see the attraction of something like an easy-to-attach car charger, I had no use for that with wired CarPlay in my vehicle. The magnetic wallets and other accessories seemed neat in principle but not appealing enough for me to pull the trigger on anything. Then I saw Elago's Charging Tray Duo — a nightstand accessory that integrates your MagSafe and Apple Watch chargers — and the whole MagSafe thing made a little bit more sense to me so I wanted to check one out.
Elago Charging Tray Duo for MagSafe: A Quick Glance
Want to know about Elago's MagSafe charging accessory without having to read everything below? Here are some of the pros and cons we've found during our testing.
- Convenient charging experience
- Allows for one-handed usage
- Built-in cable management
- Silicon material protects back of your iPhone
- Smaller than expected
- Bring your own MagSafe and Apple Watch chargers
- Wish it had additional Qi charger for AirPods
- Gathers dust
Elago Charging Tray Duo for MagSafe: What I like
The Charging Tray Duo is essentially a slab of soft-touch silicone that you integrate your existing MagSafe charger and Apple Watch puck into. Since it's flexible, it's super easy to get your chargers set up within it and get to juicing up. The cables come out neatly at the back to go to the wall. It's also got a little tray on the right for placing any trinkets or extra items from your daily carry.
One of the main attractions to a nightstand charging unit like this is the fact that it's much tidier and more convenient. Rather than having to hunt around for a cable that fell off your bedside table or come up with a hacky solution for keeping your chargers in place, it does that for you.
I was surprised by the Charging Tray Duo's diminutive size and relative weight. It's actually a little smaller than I had imagined — which is great since it takes up less nightstand space — though it is pretty hefty weight-wise. That's also a positive as it means it stays put when you place or remove your phone or Apple Watch, allowing for one-handed usage and a level of imprecision needed when you're half-awake.
The magnetic aspect of MagSafe makes this wholly more appealing than any old wireless charger. Though you're providing your own MagSafe charger (rather than one being built-in), the Mag in MagSafe means that your phone can be plonked down a little bit inaccurately and it will reshift itself to make sure it is aligned for a proper charge. With regular Qi chargers, you sometimes miss the mark and wake up to a phone that still needs charging for the day. That's no issue here.
Since the silicone material covers your MagSafe charger, you can also use it without worrying about your phone getting scratched even if you don't use a case. The silicone is particularly thin over the actual charging surface so as not to impede the charging process, too, though if you have a really thick case it may not work so well.
Elago Charging Tray Duo for MagSafe: What I don't like
The obvious downside to the Charging Tray Duo is that you have to provide your own charging cables. While your Apple Watch came with one, the MagSafe charger is a $39 extra purchase. Of course, that keeps the cost of Elgao's product down, but factor that in when working out if this is something you want to invest in.
One small nitpick with the Apple Watch charger section would be resolved if this were to be an integrated charger. After attaching and removing your watch a few times, you'll probably notice the charging puck lifts up a tad instead of remaining flat (see above). A small and easily-resolved annoyance — and definitely better than having a loose cable flapping around — but one that I'd fix if I could.
I also kind of wish the Charging Tray Duo would ditch the tray part and integrate a small Qi charger in its place. Your usage may vary, but I'd rather have a flat surface to plop my AirPods down at the end of the day to charge than a tray for trinkets. Most of the time, my AirPods sit in that tray not being charged.
Lastly, the soft-touch silicone material picks up a lot of dust. Since I got the black color, it's really obvious. The pink or stone colorways probably fare better in this respect.
Elago Charging Tray Duo for MagSafe: Should you buy one?
If you meet a few conditions, I'd say that the Elago Charging Tray Duo is a no-brainer buy: you already already own a MagSafe charger for your iPhone 12 series phone, you're an Apple Watch wearer, and you get annoyed by finicky, loose cables on your nightstand. If that sounds like you, get one now and you won't regret it.
If you are on the fence about MagSafe entirely, I'd say the convenience the Charging Tray Duo provides might still be enough to convince you that it's a worthwhile buy, though factoring in the cost of the MagSafe charger itself makes it a tougher sell.
All-in-all, though, as an initial MagSafe skeptic, I think it has improved my daily charging routine enough to justify its cost.
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