Review: Anker’s 3-in-1 Cube With MagSafe Offers Fast, Versatile Charging in a Unique Design
Last month, Apple began selling a new 3-in-1 Cube with MagSafe from Anker, which is a compact charging accessory capable of charging an iPhone, and Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks testing it out, and it’s quickly become my favorite multi-device charger.
The Cube is Anker’s first officially certified MagSafe product, which means it supports full 15-watt wireless charging on compatible iPhone models. It also supports Apple Watch fast charging on Series 7, Series 8, and Ultra, a significant improvement over standard charging speeds. Combine those features with a charging surface for AirPods, and you’ve got all of your device charging needs covered with the highest possible specs.
Anker has also included some innovations on the design front with the 3-in-1 Cube, as the whole thing collapses down to a roughly 2.5-inch cube, which is great for a smaller nightstand or desk area and for portability. This is a significant improvement over some other options like Belkin’s 3-in-1 stand with fixed arms that make it quite bulky for shipping and everyday use, never mind trying to travel with it.
At around 14.5 ounces, Anker’s Cube is fairly weighty, which does hamper portability a bit if you’re looking to toss it in a travel bag, but that tradeoff is necessary to provide stability in counterbalancing a phone stuck to the MagSafe charging surface.
The MagSafe phone charging surface on Anker’s Cube is a platform hinged on the front, and it swings up with enough resistance that you can position it across a range of angles for maximum convenience while also revealing the AirPods charging surface beneath.
This is also the first third-party MagSafe charger I’ve seen that doesn’t use the traditional Apple-style white charging surface, instead using a dark gray surface that blends in with the rest of the Cube’s body while including a stylized charging symbol and a ring of markings to provide a subtle visual representation of the MagSafe magnets. I quite like the contrast to the Apple’s bold white MagSafe surfaces, and hopefully this is a sign of more visually unique designs for MagSafe-certified products going forward.
In my testing with the phone charger, I found solid charging speeds on par with other third-party MagSafe-certified chargers. For some reason, none of the third-party 15-watt chargers I’ve tried are able to charge quite as quickly as Apple’s own MagSafe Charger, but they come reasonably close and are definitely faster than you can get with an unofficial “MagSafe-compatible” charger that Apple limits to 7.5 watts.
The Apple Watch charging puck on the Cube also features a clever design that can retract into the body of the Cube, which is useful while traveling or when it’s otherwise not needed. A quick press on the spring-loaded charger pops it in or out, though my unit tends to need an additional tug after deploying it in order to ensure it’s fully extended.
As I noted above, the Apple Watch charger supports fast charging, which is really a must-have for people like me who like to wear their Apple Watch as much as possible. Anker says it can charge an Apple Watch Series 7 or 8 from empty to 75% in just 45 minutes, and my experience has been in line with those numbers. In fact, my testing showed it charging my Apple Watch Ultra even slightly faster than Apple’s own fast charging Apple Watch USB-C cable.
One potential downside of the compact design of the Cube and its Apple Watch charger crops up if you’re a fan of bulky Apple Watch bands. I use the Apple Watch Ultra’s Ocean Band as my everyday band and I do have to be a little bit careful with how I set the watch on the charger to ensure the band doesn’t interfere with the positioning as it droops down onto the table or desk below. It’s certainly not a deal-breaker and it works just fine, but thinner, more flexible bands are less likely to be finicky.
Another consideration is that the Apple Watch charging surface is oriented horizontally, so it’s not particularly convenient to use with Nightstand mode on the Apple Watch compared to some other solutions with angled charging pucks. As a multi-device charger, however, you’re probably going to also have your iPhone sitting on the angled MagSafe charger which you can use to check the time during the night if needed.
The AirPods charging surface is just a simple platform with the same stylized charging symbol as on the MagSafe charger, and it’s quite hidden behind the phone charger. The AirPods charger isn’t really usable unless the MagSafe charging surface has been rotated as far upright as possible, but that’s not a significant issue for me as I prefer my phone in that orientation anyway.
As for the rest of the design of Anker’s Cube, I like the uniform dark gray plastic that helps it blend in to most environments, and the only visible branding is a slightly debossed Anker logo on the front in the same dark gray color, so it’s quite subtle. The one thing I’m not a huge fan of is that the hinge is a shiny, almost mirrored material that readily shows fingerprints. The back side of the MagSafe charging surface is made of the same material, but it’s not very visible given its location and the maximum angle of the charging surface.
The bottom of the Cube includes a rubber-like material that helps ensure it doesn’t slide around or damage the desk or table it’s sitting on, and there’s a small white power LED on the rear of the Cube. It briefly comes on when you plug it in and otherwise shines only while AirPods are charging, and its location means it doesn’t shine disruptively at you during the night.
In addition to the Cube itself, Anker includes a basic 30-watt USB-C power adapter with folding prongs, as well as a 1.5-meter (5-foot) USB-C to USB-C cable that I’ve found to be long enough for the several locations where I’ve tested the Cube.
Likely the biggest drawback to the Anker 3-in-1 Cube is its price tag, coming in at $149.95. That’s in line with other premium officially-certified 3-in-1 chargers like Belkin’s, but definitely a bit of sticker shock for customers used to Anker’s products being of excellent quality but at good value. The high price tag on the Cube can almost certainly be attributed to the MagSafe and Apple Watch fast charging support, with Anker needing to work directly with Apple to obtain premium-priced components and certification for the product.
The 3-in-1 Cube with MagSafe definitely appears to be proving popular with customers, and unfortunately it may already be too late to order if you’re looking to give one as a holiday gift. Apple is currently quoting a delivery estimate of December 13 to December 28 even with expedited shipping, while Anker itself is saying new orders won’t ship until at least Christmas and maybe not until early January.
Note: Anker provided MacRumors with the 3-in-1 Cube for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Anker. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.