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Review: Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock is simple and elegant, but may not be for everyone [Video]

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.23.49 AM

It’s been quite a while since Apple Watch came out (7 months!) and finally Apple has released an official dock accessory that might be worth a look. Maintaining typical Apple style, this watch dock is very simple…

There’s really not much to it at all. Inside of the box, you’ll find the dock itself and a 2-meter Lightning cable along with some simple documentation. The good news is that the magnetic charging puck for Apple Watch is completely integrated into the dock. You’ll use that Lightning cable and a power block, which does not come in the box, to hook everything together and charge your Apple Watch.

Check out our Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock review video below:

So what exactly are you getting for the $79 you’ll spend on this little dock? Well as far as build quality goes, the dock is weighted pretty nice, at least enough to where it won’t move when removing the Apple Watch. It’s off-white in color and seems to be made from the same material as Apple’s polyurethane iPad Smart Covers with a smooth top side and microfiber cloth lining along the bottom. Given the color and material, it may get dirty after a while, but only time and dirt will tell.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.24.44 AM

One of the main features with Apple’s official docking solution is the fact that it supports the new Nightstand mode added in watchOS 2. The puck in the center surrounded by a metal ring is supported by a hing that will allow you to lay the Apple Watch flat on its back or stand it up for the ultimate mini alarm clock. It’s easily pushed up through the recessed cutout on the bottom and can be pushed back down with ease as well. There aren’t too many Apple Watch docks out there that have hardware features to support Nightstand mode so if that’s what you’re looking for, this may be a good solution. And thanks to the circular design, it’ll support both open and closed band types and prevent them from scratching from the surface of a table top or nightstand.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.24.36 AM

To me, this doesn’t really look like an Apple product. It’s a very interesting design nonetheless, and doesn’t feel cheap by any means. I wish it was available in other colors as I’d definitely prefer a dark gray or black version.

At the end of the day, it’s yet another quality (and high-priced accessory) from Apple, but I’m not quite sure it’s worth the money. If you’re the type who needs all Apple everything, it’s a no-brainer, but I’d highly recommend checking out some of the other docking solutions available on the market.

On the other hand, if you consider the $29 price of a standalone 2m Lightning cable, the dock itself wouldn’t be horribly expensive if there was a version without it, but unfortunately that’s not an option. At $79, it may be more appealing to $550 and up Apple Watch owners than $350-$400 Apple Watch Sport customers.

There’s really not much else to say here though. It’s a simple dock that pretty much just works, but only if you’re willing to pay up the Apple Tax.

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  1. applewatch20152015 - 7 years ago

    Ugh. I want to like every Apple product that is released…but I can’t like this one. I think it would look better in black or grey as the article mentioned. I don’t think it’s as elegant as the other docks on the market. I started off with the Spigen model but it was just too light. I’m using the Nomad stand now and love it. I’m not interested in nightstand mode so the Nomad displays the watch in a nice manner.

  2. That looks like a buffing pad. Squirt a little Turtle Wax on it and go to town. Either that or super sized makeup remover. Definitely not their best effort.

  3. kjl3000 - 7 years ago

    Overpriced and uuuuuugly.

  4. srgmac - 7 years ago

    I like the idea, but the execution is horrible…The design is not “Apple” — but unfortunately, the price still is.

    • rogifan - 7 years ago

      What’s the problem with the execution? Have you actually seen one in person?

  5. Drew (@gettysburg11s) - 7 years ago

    I actually like this dock, and it feels Apple like to me. I am not sure why it doesn’t to others. Anyways, the only thing stopping me is the price. Now granted, the dock really only costs $50.00, since it comes with the $29.00 cable too, but still, its pricey, especially if you already have a cable. Maybe I’ll get one though, if I get enough cash for Christmas (which is likely).

    • kjl3000 - 7 years ago

      good point, they sell the iPhone dock without cable, why not the watch dock? Because no one would buy the cable at Apple, I guess …

  6. PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

    What’s this ‘Apple Tax’ I keep hearing? People also complain that the Pencil is expensive, yet when looking at “the competition” (cough) they are similar priced. Make no mistake, those pencils/styli are mediocre by comparison.

  7. 2is1toomany - 7 years ago

    I actually really love the design of the Apple Watch dock. I don’t understand why everybody seems so underwhelmed. The dock is very simple, Low profile, and is very well-designed. The soft material won’t scratch your band or watch. Charges via lightning cable and comes included so you don’t have to go out and buy a new magnetic watch charger like many other third-party accessories. It supports nightstand mode and it’s easy to switch back to a flat watch charger. It’s circular shape makes it compatible with just about every single Apple Watch band. I also don’t think that this dock should have been released earlier because nightstand mode was only made recently available when watchOS 2 was released.

    • rogifan - 7 years ago

      I wonder how many people complaining about this dock have actually seen it in person. Looks can be deceiving you know.

  8. Mark Wickens - 7 years ago

    Honestly, “the Apple tax” lobbed casually into a review on a site whose readership consists largely of Apple fans? Can’t you leave the trolling to the commenters?

  9. spacedr - 7 years ago

    Having received mine this morning I can say that it is really nice. Photos really don’t manage to show the quality of this minimalist design. The price is a little high but that is because you cannot order it without the charging cable as is the case for the 3rd party offerings.

  10. Seems like that is almost every Apple product lately.

  11. Steve Lawrence - 7 years ago

    OK so it comes with a lightning cable, but does it come with the USB wall adaptor? I’m guessing not..?

    • PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

      Of course not. Why would you even think this? It’s just like the iPhone Dock, though admittedly that used to come for free with the iPhone.

  12. mytawalbeh - 7 years ago

    Simple, Perfect and elegant. But I wish it will be available in other colors.

  13. Lane Wagoner - 7 years ago

    This is exactly what I have been looking for, the ability to be flat and nightstand mode . So simple its perfect. Perfect to travel with, flat in the overnight bag, and nightstand mode for the times your room doesn’t have a alarm, or I am too lazy or tired to figure out how to set the hotel gizmo. Try to put some of the others in your travel overnight bag and you will see what I mean. At $ 79.00 its by far not the most expensive I have seen that can’t be both. Its just PERFECT.