Apple has finally launched its long-awaited £99/$99 MagSafe Battery Pack but there’s a decent alternative already on the market if that price is a little too steep.
I’ve been using the Anker Magnetic Wireless Power Bank for a while now and it seems very similar to the new accessory just released by Apple. Unlike Apple’s version though, Anker’s option costs around £40 from Amazon.
There are distinct similarities between the two products. Both attach magnetically to the back of the phone, charge the phone wirelessly and are dinky enough to keep in your pocket. I haven’t yet used Apple’s version so I can’t comment on how that works, but I have been consistently impressed with Anker’s version.
Anker’s Magnetic Battery Bank packs a 5000mAh cell, far larger than the 1460mAh offered by the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack. However as Apple has the ability to deeply integrate its product into the iOS software I’ll need to properly compare the two before seeing exactly what the charge differences are.
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What’s the Anker Magnetic Battery Bank like to use?
While Anker’s wireless pack doesn’t use MagSafe tech by name, it works in pretty much the same way. The magnetic charger attaches to the back of an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPhone 12 Mini. Once attached, the power bank will start juicing up the phone.
In terms of charge speed, you’ll get a basic 5w from both the Anker and Apple chargers – however the latter can charge a phone up to 15w if it’s plugged into a fast USB-C to Lightning charger.
There’s a button on the side that’ll light up a bunch of LEDs to show your current charge level. When the bank is depleted, it can be recharged by an included USB-C cable.
During my time with the device, I have found that it can give my iPhone 12 Pro Max a good boost in battery life. However the slow 5w charging means I have mostly been using it as a way to top my phone up in emergencies, rather than giving it a full charge.
What makes the Apple Magnetic Battery Pack different?
As it’s officially a MagSafe product it can charge an iPhone 12 series phone faster, up to 15w, when plugged into the right charger. This makes it a handy wireless charger to carry around.
Apple also has the ability to integrate its battery deeper into iOS than Anker can. You’ll see charge levels in the battery widget and you’ll be able to charge both the phone and battery pack with a single cable.
Apple has said its Battery Pack includes a charge management feature that helps maintain battery health when it’s connected for long periods of time.
I have been impressed with Anker’s handy Magnetic Power Bank 5K and while it’s far less feature-rich than Apple’s option, it is cheaper and does the same basic job.
The use of magnets is clever, it’s small enough to keep in a pocket and it’s perfect for times when you need some extra juice.