You’re reading Tested with 9to5Toys, where we explore everyday tech essentials that make life a bit easier. Browse through our entire guide for all of the latest reviews, and sound off in the comments below if there’s something you’d like to see featured.
Amongst all of the iPhone 12’s new features, MagSafe has easily emerged as one of the most defining characteristics of this generation of Apple’s handset. While there are plenty of alternatives to the official MagSafe charging cable, more affordable stands aren’t quite as prevalent yet. So today, we’re taking a look at two different models from ESR’s HaloLock series, which bring magnetic wireless charging to your desk or car’s dashboard. Our latest Tested with 9to5Toys explores just how good these budget-friendly ESR MagSafe Charging Stands can be.
Hands-on with ESR’s MagSafe Charging Stands
ESR’s HaloLock series delivers a collection of iPhone 12 cases and charging stands, but today we’re focusing on a pair of its latest additions to the lineup. Sporting similar designs, both of the ESR MagSafe Charging Stands arrive to keep your handset in view, be it at the desk or while on the go.
While each one features a tailored design to fit in where ESR intends you to place them, both of the magnetic wireless chargers work with Apple’s MagSafe standard. Starting at $23, these are certainly some of the more affordable options on the market, and they achieve that by stepping down from the official MagSafe certification that offerings from Belkin have opted for. That brings with it support for only 7.5W charging speeds, but all of the same magnetic functionality.
Here’s a look at the spec sheet:
- No attachments are needed, thanks to a powerful built-in HaloLock magnetic ring that locks on to your phone magnetically. An official Magnetic case or ESR HaloLock case is recommended for rough terrain.
- Supports 7.5W fast wireless charging compatible with iPhone 12. Requires a car charger or USB-A port that supports 18W QC fast charging.
- Mounts securely to your dashboard or windshield with a powerful and reusable suction cup. Freely adjustable to make finding your most comfortable angle easy.
ESR’s latest HaloLock charging stands enter with budget-friendly designs, as evident by the more affordable price tags. But are they actually worth picking up rather than just saving up some extra cash for more premium models? It depends on which model you’re looking at.
Both of the units we’re taking a look at today share many of the same features. There’s the same 7.5W magnetic wireless charger that supports Apple’s MagSafe standard, as well as a USB-C input for charging. Each of the ESR MagSafe charging stands have adjustable designs, but just how much you can tweak the viewing angle is up to whether you score the car or desk models.
The desktop-friendly model features four points of articulation which ensures that you can get pretty much the perfect angle. Each of the joints is quite stiff, which means you won’t have to worry about adjusting things over and over. The dashboard version steps down to three different locations where you can change the angle and delivers much of the same sturdy design.
But arguably, the most important thing that ESR does right with its MagSafe charging stands is the actual magnetic connection. Oftentimes with third-party MagSafe-compatible accessories, the actual grip isn’t quite as strong as their official Apple counterparts. While that’s slightly true here, both models are quite stronger than that of the Aukey charger I recently checked out.
It’s particularly relevant with the in-car version, as it has to handle keeping your iPhone 12 in place while traversing rougher roads. And after putting that to the test earlier in the week as I braved my way through what seemed like an un-ending stretch of under-construction highway, the mount held up quite well to potholes, bumps, and various other perils.
In terms of downsides, there are really only two that come to mind. The first one is an issue that plagues every third-party MagSafe accessory: support for only 7.5W charging speeds. That might be a dealbreaker for some, but in the car, relying on the slower output isn’t as big of a deal as at-home chargers from my usage.
The only other drawback is that the actual MagSafe pad is pretty large. Those with an iPhone 12 mini may find this to be a little too unsightly of an option, but it’s not too bad on the iPhone 12/Pro. Either way, this certainly isn’t as sleek as some of the more premium options out there.
So at the end of the day, both are certainly worth considering for your charging setup, but the ESR Car MagSafe Stand is clearly more of a must-have in my book. There really aren’t too many dashboard mounts out there yet compatible with the magnetic standard, and ESR’s delivers just about everything I could want. Sure it could be made of slightly more premium plastics, but it certainly gets the job done.
One of my favorite things about the car model is that MagSafe works passively, so I can still stick my iPhone to the mount and still plug in a Lightning cable for CarPlay. It might defeat the purpose of this being a charging mount, but for someone as ingrained in the MagSafe ecosystem as I am, the effortlessness is definitely appreciated.
Buy the ESR MagSafe Car Mount for $30 or the Desk Stand for $23
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.