You know that sinking feeling when you try a new expensive gadget that seems wildly unnecessary, but you immediately know that it's ruined all the alternatives for you.
In my line of work covering mostly audiovisual stuff for T3, that's usually wireless headphones or the best TVs, but on this occasion it was just a way to charge all my Apple stuff together.
I had a chance to try the (deep breath) Belkin BOOST↑CHARGE PRO 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad with MagSafe, which an ludicrously OTT way to say that it combines three different wireless charger types all geared towards Apple products: a MagSafe pad that works with iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, a regular wireless charging pad that's slightly concave and is perfect for AirPods 3rd Gen or AirPods Pro, and an Apple Watch charger that works with any model, but supports the faster charging speeds of the Apple Watch Series 7.
"Don't you already have ways to charge all those devices?" you might ask. Yes, that's the "wildly unnecessary" part referenced above.
The "ruined the alternatives" part is just how much more compact and less hassle it's been to use the Belkin charger on my bedside table. Instead of having a tangle of three different charging tools all connected to a multi-plug adapter since I only have two sockets by my bed, I now just have one single cable.
Instead of knocking a bunch of stuff into each other when I reach for my drink during the night, they're all held neatly in place, and all are easy to grab from their proper place when I'm leaving in the morning.
The Apple Watch bit can work either flat or upright, which can be useful depending on which type of strap you use, and has a little height adjuster you tweak depending on what case size you have.
It's just so elegant that even though I find the £139/$149 price incredibly hard to stomach, I can't help but sigh and shrug while taking out my wallet. It reminds me of the early days of true wireless earbuds, when you paid a ton more than other buds at the time, but you only had to try them once to understand that they were worth it.
You can literally buy separate wireless chargers for all these devices for less than the combined cost here, but… I don't care. It's removed just the tiniest bit of chaos from my life, and I'll take it. You can't put a price on that! Okay, well, you can, and it's a bit alarming that it's over £100, but that's where I'm at.
My only complaints about it are the colours and the light for the standard wireless charger section. The light is a little bright for a bedside device – some way to dim it or kill is would be preferable.
And there's nothing wrong with the white or black colours it comes in, and I like the soft-touch matte material, though the black picks up dust and fingerprints fiercely – they're just a bit basic. Where's my deep green or pale blue or pastel pink?
If you're thinking I must be drunk to want to pay this for a simple bar of a charging station, then 1) I'll thank you not to raise it too loudly in front of my employers; and 2) well, fair enough. But now I've tried it, I'm still gonna have to get one. At least I won't notice the price too much if I am drunk.