Technology US

Apple doesn’t make a MagSafe car charger — here are your options

Getting a MagSafe car charger for your iPhone seems like a simple process, but the current landscape is one of trade-offs: there are no all-in-one solutions that will wirelessly hold and charge your phone and are MagSafe certified to provide up to 15W of power. However, manufactures have been finding workarounds.

First, there’s Belkin’s Car Vent Mount Pro, which is the only MagSafe Certified car mount, and it sells for $39.99. Being certified doesn’t mean it provides power, though. You’ll have to plug your phone in with a Lightning cable (which you’d have to do anyway for wired CarPlay compatibility). This does technically let you charge your phone faster than regular wireless charging, but it leaves you messing around with a cable.

Then there’s the Scosche MagicMount, which provides a 20W car adapter but nothing to plug into it. You have to provide your own MagSafe puck, which adds $39 to the MagicMount’s $29.99 to $39.99 price tag (which varies by model). While it does technically get you MagSafe-certified mounting and charging, that’s only because you’re using Apple’s own puck.

If you’re fine with just using an official MagSafe puck, you will be spoiled for choice.

Just providing the plastic to put around Apple’s charger is a common approach. Amazon is full of the BYOP (bring your own puck) car mounts, and we’ve also seen it with Apple Watch charger accessories. It’s a quick and easy way to get users the fully certified experience without having to wait for certification (and without Apple’s Made For iPhone program fees). The downside is that users have to buy two different things.

Finally, there’s the ESR HaloLock, which seems to have it all. It’s one piece, magnetically holds your iPhone, and provides wireless charging. The only thing missing is MagSafe certification, meaning Apple will only let your phone charge at 7.5W. You’ll again see a lot of similar products on Amazon, where the manufacturer has copied MagSafe’s magnets but used a standard Qi charger for power. Like the puck holders, you’ll get most of the functionality without actually having to be certified, and the product will be fine for people who aren’t worried about fast charging.

This isn’t to say that third-party, fully certified MagSafe car mounts won’t show up at some point, just that it may take a little while. And given the other routes get you pretty close to the real deal, you can expect to see a lot of those in the meantime.

Technology US

Samsung put the final nail in the box that used to contain a charger

There was a time I would have railed against a gadget maker for daring to ship a phone without a charger.

That time was yesterday. Then, Apple was the poster boy for the idea — Apple with its goody-two-shoes rhetoric about saving the environment while continuing to produce an array of proprietary cables and wireless chargers, one of which requires you to buy a new power brick anyhow.

Samsung doesn’t have those problems. It’s been all-in on USB-C and the Qi wireless standard for years, and you can use any such cable and any charger from any reputable manufacturer to top up your Samsung phone. Heck, those same universal cables and chargers work with laptops and tablets, too: you can use a MacBook or iPad charger to juice up a new Samsung phone, as long as it’s recent enough to use the universal port.

Even if you do want a new charger, you might not buy it from Samsung these days; while it’s nice that it dropped the price of its standalone USB-C charger from $35 to $20 to mark this occasion, companies like Anker and HyperJuice / Sanho produce tiny yet potent gallium nitride (GaN) chargers you can toss into any bag, not to mention playing card-deck sized ones with enough power and ports to charge a laptop, phone, and tablet simultaneously.

Left: old and busted. Right: new hotness.
Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

I bought a couple of those, and I’m good on chargers for the foreseeable future. For now, most any power brick that comes with a gadget is just a piece of waste, something I’ll need to recycle or attempt to pawn off on a friend.

It wasn’t always this way. I remember being grateful for the Samsung chargers that came bundled with my Galaxy S6 and S7 because they were the best on the market — remember these tapered right-angle wall warts that stuck out so ridiculously far?

They also happened to be powerful adaptive fast chargers that worked perfectly for lots of devices, whether they needed fast charging or not. Motorola’s TurboPower charger was also pretty good as I recall, but it only came with the company’s most expensive phones, and the early USB-C versions had a fixed (not detachable) cable.

There are still some arguments why smartphone companies should keep bundling power bricks with their new devices, like how there will always be some people who’ve never owned a phone before and won’t have a charger. Many will also point out that these companies are doing it for selfish reasons — still charging you the same amount or more for a phone while giving you less value in the box. (It’s fun to rag on these companies’ duplicity, too.) But like my colleague Dieter said succinctly last June, I don’t care: let’s get rid of 300,000 tons of e-waste and help the world’s remaining brand-new USB-C smartphone buyers get their chargers elsewhere.

With Samsung, Xiaomi, and Apple all ditching the charger, it’s effectively over regardless of how you feel. By market share, they’re the number 1, 3, and 4 brands, respectively, accounting for nearly half of all smartphone shipments in the world, and in the United States, it’s been a Samsung and Apple duopoly for years. But more importantly, the smartphone world has long gone where Apple and Samsung lead. The bundled phone power brick is dead.

Technology US

Belkin wireless charger sold by Apple is being recalled for fire hazards

Belkin is voluntarily recalling its Portable Wireless Charger + Stand Special Edition that was sold in Apple retail stores and online on Apple and Belkin’s sites because of fire and shock safety hazards. No incidents or injuries have been connected to the charger, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the malfunction should only affect chargers sold between July 2020 and October 2020.

The wireless charging stand has a 10,000mAh power capacity and can charge at 10W speed for phones that support it, but an issue with the “power supply unit” could cause the device to overheat and leave it vulnerable to catching fire or shocking people. Belkin is advising anyone who’s purchased the device to stop using it and unplug it from power. The company will also issue refunds to anyone who owns an affected charger.

In the grand scheme of Apple’s iPhones, wireless charging has only been available since the 2017 launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Apple announced AirPower at the same event, a wireless charging mat that was supposed to charge multiple devices at once, but it was ultimately canceled because it didn’t meet Apple’s “high standards.” Rumors later pointed to issues with the device’s charging coils overheating as part of the motivation for Apple canceling. All of this to say, wireless charging is harder than it looks, and Belkin’s recall is yet another example of issues that can arise in a deceptively simple product.

If you own a charger affected by the recall, you can submit a form to request a refund on Belkin’s support site.

Technology US

Here’s why Anker’s MagSafe-style charger has a gigantic USB-C plug

Apple’s MagSafe charging system offers a whole new way to charge iPhones, and third-party companies like Anker are jumping at the chance to make their own magnetic chargers — both official ones that work with Apple’s system and unofficial ones that just take advantage of the magnetic setup.

Anker’s $22 charger falls into the second category: it’s not an official MagSafe charger, meaning it doesn’t offer the faster 15W charging speed or the fancy NFC tricks as “official” MagSafe products. But even with that 7.5W charging limit, Anker’s charger does look a lot like Apple’s, at least at first glance. Look closer at the other end of the plug, though, and there’s an obvious difference: the Anker model has a weirdly oversized USB-C plug.

That’s because the Anker charger is effectively just a regular Qi charger in a different shape, one that moves the wiring and chips to the plug in order to slim down on the actual charging pad. The design also helps reduce heat, according to the company. It may look strange, but if you think of it less as a charging cable and more as a miniaturized Qi charger, it’s actually quite impressive to see what Anker has pulled off here.

The new charger is also just the first effort from Anker. The company says that stock will be limited, but it’s already working on upgraded magnetic charger models that should be out in about a month.

On the one hand, the Anker charger is a clear indication of the limits of Apple’s MagSafe program. Third-party companies that aren’t able to create official products have to find creative workarounds, like Anker’s gigantic plug. On the other hand, Anker’s charger is a first-generation product, so these alternatives will likely get better over time. And at $22 — roughly half of what Apple charges for an official MagSafe charger, the slower charging speed might a worthwhile trade-off for the lower price, especially as the designs continue to get more and more refined.

Tech News

Mi 11 to Get Fix for Charging Issue With 65W Charger Soon, Xiaomi Confirms

Mi 11 was launched a few days ago and Xiaomi is shipping units without the charger this time around. Early adopters are therefore now buying separate chargers or using pre-purchased units for charging the Xiaomi Mi 11. A few early buyers are now reporting of an issue when they plug their Xiaomi Mi 11 to charge using a 65W GaN charger. Apparently, the phone goes into an automatic continuous reboot when plugged into the 65W GaN charger. Xiaomi has acknowledged the issue and says that a fix is around the corner.

Director of Xiaomi Mobile, Zhang Guoquan has taken to Weibo to announce that a fix for this 65W charging issue will be rolled out soon. He explained the issue saying that after a Xiaomi Mi 11 user connects to a specific 65W charger, the phone restarts. Xiaomi was able to find out the source of this issue, and the engineers have even released a patch to fix it. In its stress test, Xiaomi found no problems with the patch and it plans to release it for all users soon. There is no clarity on when this update will be rolled out though. This development was first spotted by GizmoChina.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 was launched in China recently, and its global launch is also teased to happen soon. Its price starts at CNY 3,999 (roughly Rs. 45,000), identical to the launch price of Mi 10. There is a standard version of the Mi 11 in China that doesn’t come with an in-box charger, while its bundle version will include with a separate 55W GaN charger. Both versions are notably available at the same price.

Key specifications of the Xiaomi Mi 11 include Snapdragon 888 SoC, 6.81-inch 2K WQHD display, up to 12GB of RAM, triple rear camera setup that houses the 108-megapixel primary sensor, and a 4,600mAh battery that supports Mi TurboCharge 55W wired and 50W wireless charging.

Is Mi QLED TV 4K the best affordable smart TV for enthusiasts? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Technology US

Xiaomi Mi 11 won’t come with charger after it mocked Apple for not including a charger

Lei Jun, the CEO of Chinese phone maker Xiaomi, has confirmed that its upcoming Mi 11 phone will not come with a charger, citing environmental concerns. While that’s a legitimate argument against providing yet another hunk of plastic that resembles all the other chargers people already have, Xiaomi joined other phone makers who poked fun at Apple a few short months ago for not including chargers with the iPhone 12.

Jun made the remarks on Chinese social media site Weibo, saying people have many chargers which creates an environmental burden, and therefore the company was canceling the charger for the Mi 11.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun said on Weibo the Mi 11 would come without a charger

Apple’s decision not to include chargers with the iPhone 12 was met with some derision, and competitors like Samsung reminded customers in an ad that charging bricks were “included with your Galaxy.” That Galaxy ad has apparently been deleted, however, as rumors continue to build that Samsung won’t include a charger with its upcoming Galaxy S21 phones.

Shortly after the iPhone 12 launch, Xiaomi tweeted that it “didn’t leave anything out of the box” for its Mi 10T Pro, adding a short video clip that shows a Mi 10T box with a charger inside. Perhaps the takeaway here is that companies should keep the marketing team in the loop about future product decisions?

There is, in fact, a strong environmental case for not including superfluous chargers with new phones, especially if the chargers are identical to the dozens of others most people already have. But it seems like as phone makers continue raising the price tags on their new devices, they’re somehow finding ways to give customers less — no headphone jacks, no charging bricks— than they did in the past.

Is the next step to just do away with the box and hand over new phones to customers in bubble wrap, or maybe in paper bags? I guess we’ll find out.

Tech News

Mi 11 Will Not Be Shipped With Charger, Confirms CEO Lei Jun

Mi 11 is all set to launch on Monday, December 28 and Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun has now confirmed that the flagship phone’s retail box will not bundle a charger inside. Jun says that this move has been adopted to reach its environmental goals. While reducing the carbon footprint is a wise goal to have, users who don’t have an old charger at home will have to buy a new charger separately at an additional cost. Xiaomi has mimicked Apple’s strategies with this move after the latter shipped its iPhone 12 series phones without earphones and charger. Samsung is also expected to not ship a charger with its upcoming Galaxy S21 series smartphones.

Jun took to Weibo to confirm that the upcoming Mi 11 flagship will not bundle a charger inside. He added that the charger has been left out to protect the environment. Jun also contemplated on whether there is a solution that better meets industry practices and environment protection. The executive shared a photo of the retail box that has a thin minimalistic design with the numbers ‘11′ written in front.

The Mi 11 past leaks suggest a triple camera setup at the back with a 108-megapixel main sensor. The phone is said to come in four colour finishes and is confirmed to be powered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC. Leaks also indicate that the phone may pack 12GB of RAM and run on Android 11-based MIUI 12. Also, the flagship could include a QHD+ resolution along with up to 120Hz refresh rate.

Xiaomi has already confirmed an advanced display technology on the Mi 11 along with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection. The pricing of the Xiaomi Mi 11 is reported to begin at CNY 4,500 (roughly Rs. 50,700) for the base 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant, while its 8GB RAM + 256GB model could be priced at CNY 4,800 (roughly Rs. 54,000), and the top-end model with 12GB RAM + 256GB storage at CNY 5,200 (roughly Rs. 58,600).

Is Mi QLED TV 4K the best affordable smart TV for enthusiasts? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Technology US

Samsung’s deleting ads that mocked Apple for not including a charger in the box

Samsung has been caught deleting an ad that makes fun of Apple for not including a charging brick with the iPhone 12 — the same thing it’s rumored to be doing with its Galaxy S21 phones. The Facebook post was made by Samsung Caribbean back in October, and it had a picture of a charging brick with the caption “Included with your Galaxy” (via 9to5Google).

The Facebook post that has now been deleted, adding even more fuel to the rumors that Samsung won’t be including a charger with its upcoming phones.
Photo: Samsung (via 9to5Google)

This isn’t the first time Samsung has deleted ads after adopting the same practice it previously mocked Apple for. Back when the Galaxy Note 10 launched without a headphone jack, Samsung deleted ads making fun of the iPhone X for not having a similar plug (ads that were made even more awkward by the fact that the iPhone in the ad was just referred to as the “ten”).

None of this is to say that doing the same thing as Apple is necessarily a bad thing. Samsung had an explanation as to why it removed the headphone jack, and not including the charger could very well be good for the environment. It’s just not a great look when Samsung is posting ads about including a charger only a few months before it’s expected to remove it.

Despite the awkwardness that the marketing could cause, Samsung could handle this better than Apple did. When Apple removed the charging brick, they also changed the cable that came with the phone: almost every previous iPhone came with a USB-A brick, and the cable included in the iPhone 12’s box was USB-C to Lightning. So the argument of “everyone has a charging brick” fell flat because almost any previous iPhone bricks weren’t compatible with the included cable (though Apple would happily sell customers one for $20).

Samsung’s phones, however, use standard USB-C cables for charging, as opposed to Apple’s proprietary Lighting. This means that the cable that comes with Samsung’s new phone will work with the charging brick that came with last year’s model (though it won’t help people who don’t buy new phones every year, as the Galaxy S10 from two years ago came with a USB-A charging brick).

Technology US

Apple’s $129 MagSafe Duo charger is now available

Apple’s MagSafe Duo charger is now on sale online, after initially having been announced without a release date as part of this year’s iPhone launch. The $129 folding accessory includes a magnetic wireless charging puck for the iPhone 12 as well as an Apple Watch charger.

It’s pretty expensive for what you get, especially when you consider that it doesn’t include a charging brick. You’ll need to use at least a 20W USB-C adapter, like Apple’s own $19 option, in order to get the faster charging speeds — and even then it won’t be as fast as the regular 15W MagSafe charger. 20W adapters will charge at 11W, while you’ll get up to 14W from 27W adapters and above.

That said, I can see the appeal as someone who would rather not carry two separate power bricks and cables to charge my watch and phone when traveling. Is that worth $129-plus to you? If so, right now Apple says the MagSafe Duo will ship within one business day.

Tech News

OnePlus 65W Fast Charger for Nord SE Receives TUV Certification: Report

OnePlus Nord SE could be getting a new 65W fast charger, as per a report. A OnePlus 65W fast charger reportedly appeared on a TUV certification and this is speculated to be for the OnePlus Nord SE, which is expected to launch in Q1 2021. The listing doesn’t seem to reveal any other key specifications. A report earlier this month had also said that the upcoming smartphone will feature Warp Charge 65, like the OnePlus 8T.

According to a report by RootMyGalaxy, a new OnePlus 65W fast charger appeared on a TUV certification site, which could be for the upcoming OnePlus Nord SE. According to the listing, the charger outputs multiple charging rates; 5.0V/3.0A (15W), and 10.0V/6.5A (65W). Gadgets 360 was not able to independently confirm the listing.

A report by Android Central earlier this month had stated that OnePlus Nord SE will be the next phone in the Nord series, citing insider sources. The report had said that the smartphone will come with a 4,500mAh battery that supports 65W fast charging. Warp Charge 65 was introduced by OnePlus with the OnePlus 8T, an expensive phone compared to the budget-friendly Nord series. OnePlus Nord SE will reportedly be sold in India and Europe only.

As per the report, OnePlus Nord SE will be the next addition to the OnePlus Nord lineup that includes the OnePlus Nord, the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, and the OnePlus Nord N100. The phone is allegedly codenamed ‘Ebba’, and expected to release in the first quarter of 2021 – this could be soon after OnePlus unveils the OnePlus 9 series.

OnePlus has so far not shared any information about the OnePlus Nord SE.

Is OnePlus 8T the best ‘value flagship’ of 2020? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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