Apple's MagSafe Duo charger is now on sale, but the price is a shocker

Apple also seems to have forgotten something rather crucial from the box

Apple MagSafe Duo charger
(Image credit: Apple)

The MagSafe Duo, Apple’s two-headed wireless charger for juicing your iPhone 12 and Apple Watch at the same time, is here. It's a tidy little device that folds closed so that it's compact for travelling, and it costs a mere… $129/£129/AU$199. Really? Okay. Well, at least for that price it surely comes with everything you need to get up and runni… Wait, no adapter? Oh, come on.

Yes, after spending that high initial price for two wireless chargers stitched together, you still need to shell out for a power adapter. That’s because like the iPhone 12, the MagSafe Duo only includes a short Lightning-to-USB-C cable.

If you want an official Apple power adapter so you can plug it into a wall, that’s another $19/£19/AU$29 on top… except that still doesn’t deliver its full charging power: with the cheapest, 20W Apple power adapter, the MagSafe Duo only delivers 11W. If you want its full 14W you’ll need a power adapter that delivers 27W or more, and Apple's 30W charger costs $49/£49/AU$69. So the total cost would be $178/£178/AU$268.

One cut corner too many

How does that compare to other options? Well, for what you’re paying for just the MagSafe Duo, you could buy a standard MagSafe charger, an Apple Watch USB-C charging cable, plus two Apple 20W power adapters. And still have enough money left over for a nice pouch to keep it all in. Less tidily portable sure, but less money.

We know Apple is trying to cut back on unnecessary electrical waste, but leaving out the power adapter from a charger – a charger for a phone that doesn’t come with a power adapter either – seems to us like one cut corner too many, especially when the MagSafe Duo is already so much more expensive than other wireless chargers and docks.

Is the MagSafe Duo any good?

There’s no doubt that Apple’s dual charger does its job: your iPhone sits nicely on the charging pad thanks to the internal magnets, and the Watch bit is movable so it works with closed bands as well as ones you can open up. 

It’s not all perfect, though. Even with the most powerful power adapter it’s not as fast as a regular MagSafe, which delivers 15W to the Duo’s maximum 14W, and the hinge appears both wobbly and prone to creasing: multiple reviewers have commented on it, so it appears to be a deliberate design rather than duff manufacturing. 

And let’s be honest, it’s hardly the prettiest design in the world – not in a way that screams 'premium' so you at least feel like your money went somewhere. 

We’re all for substance over style, but look and feel is a huge part of the premium Apple experience; it’s why it can sell tons of AirPods and accessories for prices much higher than most rivals. This looks closer to the functional-but-dull feel of its iPad keyboard cases rather than the satisfying-and-sleek feel of the AirPods case.

Should you buy it?

It depends on where you're charging. For frequent business travellers (or people who hope to be again one day), its compactness and ease of use definitely makes it potentially useful, especially if you can call it a business expense.

For home use, where you don't need things to be foldable or joined in the middle, it doesn't seem like a very good-value option to us.

Carrie Marshall
Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).