Sometimes you experiment with something and it works great, like my recent find of the Satechi travel charger to replace the white puck from Apple at less cost with more functionality.
But sometimes, things don’t work for one reason or another. As I was tweaking and updating my Go Bag, there were a couple of products I tried that just didn’t work the way I wanted, and so they didn’t earn a place in the bag.
With the upgrade from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone Xs, wireless charging is now an option. As a survivor of the Palm WebOS project, I’m familiar with wireless charging and I’ve long felt the anticipation of it among iPhone fans would well surpass that reality of its practicality when it arrived, and I think that’s proven itself out.
I decided to try using the Mophie Wireless Charging Pad as my travel charger for the iPhone on recommendations from a couple of friends. It — works — but I found it to have the problem I see with most wireless units in that placement to get reliable charging is fussy. It’s easy to knock it far enough off that it stops charging without realizing it.
And the Mophie takes up a fair bit of space, especially since it has its own power block (aka “wall wart”) charger, and cable is permanently attached at both ends. I both understand that decision and find it annoying, because I’d be a lot less irritated at this product if I could plug it into a charger I already was carrying and didn’t have to carry around that extra thing to plug in. Yes, I know I need a charger to cover its wattage, but that’s something that could be done, except everything is soldered together, removing the option.
So I took the Mophie out on one trip, quickly decided it was easier to just plug the phone in with a lighting cable, and I left it home after that. It’s not a bad product, but… I’m just not that into wireless charging for the sake of wireless charging, and when it comes to recharging my devices, “fussy” is not a word I want to be using.
To be honest, “fussy” defines the other product I tried. I wanted to see if I could find a travel stand for the watch that would make it easier to charge at night. I’d been simply attaching the cable and praying the magnet would keep it charging, which it mostly did. But that felt — unelegant.
So I grabbed the Twelve South Timeporter. I love Twelve South and I love their designs overall, so I was hopeful. This one to me is a miss.
First of all, charging is — fussy. Whether it was the charging puck slipping in too far to make a good connection or the watch band pushing the watch up from the surface enough to prevent a good connection, I was having maybe a 50-50 change that putting the watch on the charger actually charging. I tried various things to fix that, but ultimately, the only thing that reliably worked was putting the watch on, then reaching behind and pressing the puck up onto it to make sure things were connected, and then not bumping it.
I do like the design, and if I were someone who carried multiple bands on a trip I might carry it for that, but I’m not, and that wasn’t enough to make me want to give this product space in my bag. Sorry, but this just didn’t live up to me expectations.
Both of these get a new home in the box in my closet known as the island of lost toys, waiting for a second change to come out and be useful.
A couple of quick “good jobs!”
As part of this, a couple of quick recommendations for things that did make the cut.
The first is something I found in the box of lost toys that I’d forgotten I had: the Belkin Portable Travel Stand for an Apple Watch, which is less then half the price of the Timeporter, and which charges the watch reliably. And bonus: nightstand mode.
I had forgotten I had it, but pulled it out, and it now lives in my go bag waiting for my next trip. Miracles do happen, kids.
Another thing I needed to replace upgrading the iPhone was my car holder, since the old one used a magnet and a metal plate on the phone to connect to, and that destroys wireless charging. I decided to try the Iottie Easy One Car Mount ($25), and it went into the same location as my old mount, and so far, has worked perfectly. Very nice bit of engineering.
And finally, having said I’m just not that interested in wireless charging, I’m now going to show myself a liar, at least when it’s done well.
As another experiment, I bought the Anker Powerwave Fast Wireless Charging stand, again on recommendations of friends.
It looks nice, although not quite “designed by Apple” nice. It uses its own more powerful charger since it needs more juice than a standard USB port, but the charger and cable are both replaceable, so I could, if I wanted, upgrade to a multi-port charger that supports it and standard USB charging for other things. And if I put my phone down on it, it charges. 100% of the time. Reliable and painless and not fussy.
And for a bonus: if I stare at the phone on the dock, FaceID works and unlocks it. that doesn’t happen with a puck like the Mophie.
It is not something I want to carry in a Go Bag, though, but it did earn a spot as the charger on my desk in my office. And then I bought a second to replace the charger on the stand next to my bed. And then I bought two more, for Laurie’s office and her nightstand. So yes, I now own four of them, and I’m very happy with them, because they’re not fussy.
So, a quick note on a couple of things headed to the Island of Lost Toys, one rescue, and a couple of recent additions that have made my life just that little bit nicer and less fussy. Maybe they’re what you’re looking for to make your life less fussy, too.