Review: Belkin Boost Charge Pro is the iPhone 12/Apple Watch power station with MagSafe to buy

Belkin’s Boost Charge Pro with MagSafe and Apple’s MagSafe Duo chargers take very different approaches to solve a similar problem. In a world where everything has to be recharged, combination chargers that can reduce cables and plugs in our life are really practical. While Apple’s first-party combo charger is described best as a minimalistic travel charger, Belkin aces utility in what may be the best MagSafe combo charger.

Boost Charge Pro best MagSafe charger?

Belkin Boost Charge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charger with MagSafe (that’s the full product name) turns one outlet into three wireless charging stations. While this has been done before with combination charging stands, the innovation with this product is using Apple’s new MagSafe technology.

Apple built magnets into the iPhone 12 family of phones, and this system called MagSafe wirelessly charges with up to 15W power delivery. Standard Qi chargers top out at 7.5W when used with iPhones. The secret to MagSafe is magnetically guaranteeing precise alignment between wireless charging coils. MagSafe is also a practical solution for creating a “hovering” stand as Belkin Boost Charge Pro does.

So what can Boost Charge Pro power up?

  • MagSafe (top left): iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max (or later)
  • Magnetic Charger (top right): Any Apple Watch
  • Base (bottom): Any Qi-based wireless charging compatible accessory including AirPods, iPhone 8 and iPhone X and later

I’ve found the charging base to be great for powering up AirPods Pro or AirPods with the wireless charging case as intended. The charging station base is fantastic for charging other devices like iPhones or even Android phones with wireless charging. The base has a slight divot to mark the wireless charging spot, but small devices of all shapes and sizes are compatible.

Practical solution

While I imagine many will use Boost Charge Pro as a nightstand charger, the “hover” design of the MagSafe side makes the charging station a great kitchen accessory too. The iPhone 12 magnetically attaches to the MagSafe charger and works in either portrait or landscape orientation. The slightly tilted back angle is great for charging your iPhone while using FaceTime and making dinner.

Belkin Boost Charge Pro retails for $149.99 and includes a power brick in the box.

MagSafe Duo

I’m as enthusiastic about any new Apple product as the next person, but it’s no secret that Apple’s MagSafe Duo accessory is overpriced and under ambitious. While I’m a MagSafe Duo customer, I can best describe the accessory as a luxury travel charger.

Apple’s combination wireless charger is half iPhone 12 charger and half Apple Watch charger. While the iPhone must charge flat on a surface, the Apple Watch charging puck can lay flat or upright to easily charge open or closed band watches.

MagSafe Duo includes a Lightning port and includes a UBS-C to Lightning cable for powering the combo charger, but a 20 watt USB-C power adapter (sold separately) is required to use MagSafe Duo. Apple bundled a similar charger with iPhone 11 Pro, but stopped including power adapters with iPhones this year.

Form over function

There’s no third charging pad, but you can use the MagSafe half to recharge any wireless charging accessory including AirPods and older iPhones — just not while charging your iPhone 12. The Apple Watch half can only charge Apple Watches. If you’re really in a pinch to power up a Lightning port-based device, you can unplug the USB-C to Lightning cable and charge directly with the wall.

While I much prefer the minimalist design of MagSafe Duo, the utility just isn’t there for it to be my primary charging station for my iPhone and Apple Watch. It touts a much smaller footprint and folds like a book for portability, but it’s no good for wireless charging your iPhone while using it — something even Apple’s standard MagSafe charger accomplishes.

MagSafe Duo retails for $129 and does not come with the required $19 20W USB-C power adapter.

Car Vent Mount Pro

Belkin didn’t just design a combination charging station when using MagSafe this year. Belkin’s Car Vent Mount Pro with MagSafe also takes advantage of the new magnet system included in the iPhone 12 family of phones.

9to5Mac will have a closer look at this accessory soon, but here are a few quick thoughts from me after testing:

  • MagSafe makes attaching any size iPhone 12 super easy with no need to adjust a squeezing mechanism to hold the device
  • The lack of “arms” to hold the iPhone makes tapping touch targets on either side of the display possible; this can be difficult with non-MagSafe mounts
  • Car Vent Mount Pro uses MagSafe to hold your phone, but the lack of passthrough charging is disappointing; you’ll have to connect a Lightning cable to charge the phone while mounted

Finally, the most lackluster part of a generally cool product for me is how the product mounts. As its name implies, Car Vent Mount Pro relies on attaching to your car’s vent system to hold the mount in place.

The manual suggests using the top part of the vent and not a vent blade due to the grip required to hold the mount in place, but my 2017 Honda Civic (a really common car) vent top was too thick to hold the clip. At the risk of damaging a vent blade, I attached the clip to the part that the manual says to avoid.

It works, and the iPhone gets really cool if you run your A/C, but I imagine the opposite is true if you need to run the heat. This is true of all vent mounts, of course, and my car has a built-in screen with CarPlay so this isn’t actually a product I need. Prior to having CarPlay, however, I could see myself appreciating the convenience of MagSafe and really enjoying this product despite the downsides.

Improving the experience

My recommendation would be whole-hearted if a future version managed to incorporate passthrough charging from a Lightning cable. That feature alone would be more worthy of the ‘Pro’ moniker in the product name, and perhaps it could join the ranks of best MagSafe chargers.

As it stands, I do have a surprise use case for Car Vent Mount Pro. After testing Belkin’s mount in my car for a few days (the iPhone only fell to the floor once when I hit a curb on accident), I moved the Car Vent Mount Pro to my desk where it now doubles as an iPhone prop. The clip side adjusts to support any orientation which makes it ideal for holding up your iPhone 12 while watching a video or making a video call — just remember that it doesn’t charge the phone.

Belkin Car Vent Mount Pro with MagSafe retails for $39.95.

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