Twelve South lifts Apple’s MagSafe Charger off the desk and elevates it to as a disk above the pedestal that rotates to offer a flat surface. Not only does the Twelve South solution charge an iPhone 12, but in the flat configuration, it will also wirelessly charge AirPods. Charging a phone or AirPods, however, proves an either-or value proposition. It can only charge one at a time.
Satechi decided to go a completely different direction. They created a charging solution that doesn’t require Apple’s MagSafe charger. They use their own magnets. iPhones securely attract to the smooth white Satechi surface. Unlike the Forte, the Satechi solution supports simultaneous charging of headphones on its base. These can be any headphones, including those from Jabra or Cleer. An LED indicates charging and status. Charging speeds go up to 7.5W for iPhones and 5W for AirPods. Satechi includes a 1-year warranty.
In either case, the case will prove important. Both will support a naked iPhone, but cases must be MagSafe compatible for either stand to work. Without a MagSafe designed case or alternative magnet, the iPhone simply falls off the surface.
iPhone charging needs a stand. As a display, perhaps the most important display in a personal arsenal, people should not be forced to crane their heads to read a notification. Both stands mount the iPhone 12 at a much more useful angle than does Apple’s basic flat charge approach. Apple recognizes this issue because the Forté can only be purchased through Twelve South and Apple. Satechi sells a magnetic sticker for $9.99 that turns non-MagSafe cases into MagSafe cases. It even works with an iPhone 11.
How to decide between stands
If you already own an Apple MagSafe Charger, the choice is simple, buy the $39.95 Twelve South Forté for iPhone 12. Placing the MagSafe charger in different orientations adds value to the phone experience. Because of its tight coupling with the MagSafe Charger, owners will need to assemble the Forté to make it work. Rotating the stand to flat also offers an AirPod charging surface.
If however, you have not yet purchased the MagSafe Charger, you may want to consider the $59.99 Aluminum 2-1 Magnetic Wireless Charging Stand iPhone 12 Charging Stand from Satechi. This stand comes ready to work after simply plugging in the included USB-C connector.
Travel considerations challenge the Satechi solution. Unlike the Forté, from which the MagSafe charger can be detached, the Satechi unit doesn’t deconstruct into something lighter and more portable. That said, I usually don’t go wireless on travel. Most rooms have ample USB charging ports available, so a Lightning cable still does the job on the road. For those who want a single solution for work, travel, and perhaps overnight, the Satechi stand may not prove the right choice.
Twelve South or Satechi iPhone 12 Charging Stands: The Bottom Line
Both companies built excellent products. The Satechi design is a bit more refined and offers an integrated if less transformable solution. Twelve Souths’s clearly Apple-forward stand proves more an accessory for the MagSafe charger than an independent charging solution. Both stands appear close in features when seen from afar, but they represent very different ownership and use cases, and design choices.
Those who bought into MagSafe will benefit from the Twelve South Solution. The Satechi solution offers an elegant, attractive charging stand meant to live on the desk and keep both phones and headphones charged. Match your profile to the use cases and the choice will be clear. But if money isn’t an object, you might consider both depending on if you want a charging solution in more than one space without moving your iPhone charging stand around.
Twelve South and Satechi provided the iPhone 12 charging stands for review. Images courtesy of Twelve South and Satechi.
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Daniel W. Rasmus
Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.
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