The new MagSafe Duo Adapter is Apple's charging station for two Apple devices, but there are some catches and it gets particularly expensive if you want to charge your iPhone quickly.
The MagSafe Duo Charger is certainly ideal if you like a tidy bedside table: You can use it to charge a new iPhone and an Apple Watch at the same time. Alternatively you can switch the iPhone for the AirPods Pro or AirPods with their charging case and charge them.
There are two features that you might not notice at first glance: you can fold the charger and when charging the Apple Watch you can tilt the charging surface. This means that the Apple Watch charges in "Night Mode" and shows the time in large letters.
Another benefit is that if you have placed your devices correctly you will see a response via the iPhone or watch display.
It's got a very high price of £129/$129 (buy from Apple UK here/Apple US here), which is exacerbated by the fact that only a short USB-C to Lightning cable is included. This means that if you don't already own one you need to also purchase a USB-C charger to use it, your old USB-A adapter wow't work. With a length of one meter, the cable is also not suitable for every location. Since the charger is missing, Apple recommends you purchase a 20W or 27W power adapter.
Beware that even if you already own such a power adapter it may not be compatible. Prior to 2018 Apple was selling a 28W adapter - if you have one of these it won't work with the MagSafe.
Another issue is that before charging your devices you should remove credit cards or other cards if they are concealed in the pocket of one of Apple's cases. These cards should not sit between the back of the iPhone and the charger as it could damage magnetic strips or RFID chips.
Apple notes in its support documents that: "The hinge area of your MagSafe Duo Charger might wrinkle over time if kept in the folded position." Apple advises against "Leaving your MagSafe Duo Charger in a very hot environment (like the inside of a car on a hot day) in the folded position" as that might lead to deep wrinkles.
You can use MagSafe to charge all wirelessly chargeable iPhones from iPhone 8 to the iPhone 12 series. However, only iPhone 12 models can be charged at high speed, older iPhones charge significantly more slowly. Read What is MagSafe for more information.
The MagSafe Duo needs a fast power supply for full power. Apple recommends at least a 20W charger. But that doesn't mean you charge your devices at 20W: with Apple's 20W adapter you can expect 11W, only a 27W USB-C adapter will give you the full 14W charging power.
Those adapters are pricy. Apple 20W adapter costs 24.35 euros, the 30W model 53.60 euros . We have not yet had any experience of compatibility with chargers from third-party manufacturers.
More precisely: A 9V / 2.22A power supply unit delivers up to 11W, a power supply unit from 9V / 3A up to 14W. Then the iPhone 12 can be charged with up to 14W and is fully charged after two hours. The iPhone 12 mini is different, here the maximum charging power is limited to 12W.
As Apple explains in a support document, the company's own USB-C charging adapter with 29 watts of power, which the company replaced with a 30-watt power supply in 2018, is not compatible with the MagSafe Duo. The 29W variant does not achieve the 15 watts (5V / 3A or 9V / 1.67A) required by Apple.
The device can get warm while charging, and at high temperatures the iPhone can stop charging or may only charge to 80 percent. Even if Lightning accessories are connected, the charging power is automatically reduced. As already mentioned, older iPhones are charged more slowly (how slowly Apple means is not yet known to us).
One final nail in the coffin: when using a leather cover, streaks can occur as the magnet exerts slight pressure. According to Apple, this is "normal", if it bothers you must use a different cover.
Should you buy a MagSafe Duo?
No. Keep your money!
Instead take a look at our round up of Best Wireless Chargers for iPhone which includes:
AirUnleashed: Can charge iPhone, Apple Watch and set of AirPods at the same time. Costs $99.
Satechi Trio Wireless Charging Pad: Can simultaneously charge an Apple Watch (up to 2.5W), AirPods with a wireless charging case (up to 5W), and am iPhone (up to 7.5W). Costs $119.99. You can also buy it from Amazon.