Apple’s new MagSafe Battery Pack is a white rectangle you may stick with the again of an iPhone 12 to cost it. It’s Apple’s third run at designing an exterior battery answer for the iPhone and I prefer it higher than the sooner battery instances.
Nonetheless, anyone contemplating spending $99 on this battery should maintain one necessary truth in thoughts: even Apple can’t break the legal guidelines of physics. It’s simply as sure by the identical guidelines of magnetism and electrons as all people else.
These legal guidelines require tradeoffs: A battery that might absolutely cost up most iPhone 12 fashions can be large. A battery sufficiently small to not look odd on a telephone wouldn’t have sufficient juice. Plus, electrons can solely move so quick with out increase warmth and degrading the battery.
Apple discovered a stability between all these extremes and it maintains that stability with a good software program integration that aggressively manages how this battery fees your telephone. The result’s a gadget that’s singularly centered on the iPhone — typically to its personal detriment.
The perfect half concerning the MagSafe Battery is that it additionally serves as a fast-charging wi-fi MagSafe puck when it’s plugged in. So the massive query is whether or not all that is sufficient to justify the value, particularly in comparison with the competitors.
The MagSafe Battery doesn’t have sufficient power to totally cost an iPhone 12 Mini from zero to 100 %.
In my testing, the MagSafe Battery was absolutely drained when my iPhone 12 Mini reached 83 %, which took 130 minutes of charging. I didn’t have it plugged in for this check, which meant it charged at a comparatively pokey 5W pace, in order to reduce warmth and maximize the battery’s longevity.
I used the iPhone very sporadically in the course of the charging interval (largely to file the outcomes each 15 minutes), although I did hearken to a 15-minute podcast over Bluetooth which slowed the charging down a bit.
Backside line: it’s a small battery and it’ll aid you high up your iPhone, not absolutely cost it. On bigger iPhone 12 fashions, it received’t even hit that 83 %.
There’s a dialogue to have about what the correct approach to discuss battery dimension is. The MagSafe Battery solely has a 1,460mAh battery, however that quantity isn’t similar to different batteries as a result of it could push by way of extra volts (7.62V). So the MagSafe Battery’s rated 11.13Wh (Watt-hours) is the quantity that truly issues. In the meantime, Anker makes a 5,000mAh battery with wi-fi charging and magnets for underneath $50. It’s rated at 18.5Wh, so the variations are smaller than they first seem.
The battery measurement dialogue is attention-grabbing, however it doesn’t change the truth that the MagSafe Battery is just small. It’s meant to be pocketable and simple to hold, and so it is best to consider it as one thing that may stretch your battery life just a bit — not get you thru a number of days away from a charger.
As you may anticipate, the software program expertise with the MagSafe Battery is tightly built-in into the iPhone. There are large animations that present the cost of each your telephone and the battery if you connect it. It exhibits up on the battery degree widget, too.
Extra curiously, if you first connect the battery, your iPhone will pop up a discover that this battery received’t cost your telephone above 90 % — by design. These previous couple of proportion factors put a number of stress on batteries, and on this context it’s simply not price it. I feel it’s a sensible transfer, however should you completely need that final 10 %, you may lengthy press the battery icon within the Management Middle and inform it to cost previous 90 %.
I do know this sounds each difficult and disappointing, however in use it’s really the alternative. I might simply slap the battery on the again of my telephone once I was apprehensive about battery life and didn’t sweat the small print. The end result was not needing to keep watch over battery life as a lot as I normally do. It’s elegant as a substitute of highly effective.
That’s all good, however it solely occurs with the iPhone. It’s definitely a nicer general expertise than you’d get with the Anker battery, which is thicker besides. However the Anker has different benefits. Its battery is larger, for one factor. It additionally has a USB-C port on it that each takes cost when plugged in and can be utilized to cost gadgets by way of a wire. It’s much less elegant for iPhone customers, however it’s rather more versatile.
The Lightning port on the underside of the MagSafe Battery means iPhone customers can maintain utilizing the identical charging cable, so it’s most likely the correct name to maintain it. It’s simply too unhealthy that Lightning can’t cost in both path like a USB-C port can.
The MagSafe Battery is designed to match the size of the iPhone 12 Mini completely. It aligns precisely to the perimeters and is extra snug to carry than I anticipated. In case you have a bigger iPhone, it’ll sit on the again a bit extra awkwardly — it appears positively tiny on the iPhone 12 Professional Max.
I polled Twitter for questions concerning the battery and I used to be stunned by the vitriol I noticed in my replies — and elsewhere. It’s simple to make enjoyable of how a battery pack appears on the again of a telephone. It’s additionally simple to go after it for not offering sufficient cost. Having used it, I’m unsure I’d need it any bigger and I definitely wouldn’t need it any smaller. To me, there’s no such factor as a handsome exterior battery. On the finish of the day, they’re all squarish or rectangular hunks of plastic or metallic.
The white plastic has a matte end that helps slightly with grip, however I wouldn’t name it delicate contact. I do surprise if it’ll decide up stains from blue denims over time, however within the few days I’ve been testing it, it’s remained clear.
It snaps on the again of a caseless iPhone with a satisfying snick. It’s as safe as I feel could be pretty anticipated from one thing linked with magnets. It’d be good if the alignment magnet was slightly stronger, however I’m glad that my iPhone doesn’t include magnets so sturdy that it messes with bank cards. Physics!
You’ll be able to deliberately shake off the battery or have it slip off when placing it in your pocket, however I didn’t have these issues. Nonetheless, if you’re planning on utilizing it with a case, you completely want a MagSafe suitable case that itself has magnets on it. I take advantage of a really skinny plastic case and that minimal layer was greater than sufficient to cease the magnets from working successfully.
After two days testing a pair totally different MagSafe Batteries on each an iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Professional Max, I got here to a stunning conclusion. My favourite half isn’t the battery, it’s the MagSafe charger.
Once I consider the MagSafe Battery as a MagSafe charging puck that simply occurs to have a battery connected to it, I feel it makes slightly extra sense as a product. Apple’s MagSafe puck prices $40 — that definitely doesn’t make the $99 asking value for this battery a deal, however it is likely to be price shopping for the battery as a substitute of the puck for some individuals.
I do must level out that for $99 I might have anticipated Apple to at the least embody a Lightning cable. It doesn’t, nor does it embody a charging brick.
When plugged into a robust sufficient wall charger, the MagSafe Battery can cost the telephone at as much as 15W, similar to the usual MagSafe disc. The charger can refill each itself and your iPhone. If you wish to prioritize charging pace on the iPhone, you may plug it in as a substitute after which the iPhone will use reverse wi-fi charging to high up the battery. (Sadly and in contrast to Android telephones, the iPhone’s reverse wi-fi charging doesn’t work for different gadgets, like AirPods.)
The MagSafe Battery’s finest characteristic is that it’s a good MagSafe wi-fi charger. It’s additionally a good battery — however provided that you consider it as a small extender, one which trades longevity for dimension. Do I want it had extra capability? In fact. I additionally want it may have extra capability with out getting any bigger than it already is. I don’t begrudge physics and I get why Apple selected the scale it did.
However paying $99 for all of the MagSafe Battery’s magnificence and integration doesn’t make sense when there are less expensive choices which can be much less beholden to working with only one telephone. A battery pack goes to look foolish it doesn’t matter what, you may as effectively get one which’s as versatile as potential.