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Apple keeps selling out of this 3-in-1 charging cube. I tested one to see if it's worth the wait

Anker's 3-in-1 MagSafe charging cube eliminates the need for multiple power cords, but the highly prized accessory has some notable drawbacks.
Written by Christina Darby, Associate Editor
Anker 3-in-1 charging cube next to computer.
Christina Darby/ZDNET

I rely on my electronics for everything, from productivity to entertainment. But between an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods, something -- if not everything -- in my ecosystem is always in need of a charge. That said, my desk often looks more like a cable salad than an organized and clean workspace.

That's why I was very eager to try Anker's 3-in-1 charging cube with MagSafe, an accessory that has been out of stock in the Apple Store for months after its initial launch.

View at Anker

Straight out of the box, the unit looks more or less like a mini, monotone Rubik's cube, with the top surface decorated with the signature MagSafe placement circle. The cube weighs a little more than 14 oz and was made specifically for those invested in Apple's ecosystem, employing MagSafe for the main wireless charging base. 

Once you flip the jewelry-box style top open, however, there's another charging surface for AirPods And upon pushing the divot on the side, the third charging dock for an Apple Watch reveals itself. Basically, it's a pocketable transformer. 

Also: The best MagSafe accessories for your iPhone (and how MagSafe works)

My one gripe with the design of the cube is that I can't go completely wireless. Not to be mistaken with a wireless MagSafe charger, the Anker 3-in-1 cube requires one USB-C cord to power the three charging bases. But, hey, I'll take that over constantly getting three different wires crossed. 

While not as slim as other portable charging devices I've tested, such as the Satechi Duo Wireless Charger Stand, the block does fit nicely in my bag without adding any noticeable weight. The cube design makes it more suited to slip into a backpack than a work tote, which is fine since I'm planning on giving it a permanent home on my desk. 

Review: This foldable wireless charging stand is a multitasker's dream accessory

As far as charging goes, there are two major benefits the block brings, the first being how reliable the speed is even with one single USB-C cord. Anker advertises 15W "High Speed" charging for iPhones that support MagSafe. While what technically qualifies as "fast charging" remains up in the air, it took an hour and 22 minutes for my iPhone 12 Pro alone to reach 85% battery from a 45% starting point when using the cube with a 20W Apple adapter A similar test but with a 30W Anker adapter only shaved off seven minutes.

It took a similar amount of time for my Apple Watch to creep from 50% to 95% with only my AirPods sitting on the pad. While the brick may not be the fastest charger in the world, it undoubtedly trickle-charges my devices at a steady rate, promising consistent battery at the very least. 

Christina Darby/ZDNET

This brings me to what I believe is the cube's ultimate standout feature: the adjustable MagSafe base. Through magnets, I was able to snap my iPhone in either vertical or landscape mode to FaceTime, stream, and easily view notifications while it was charging. 

The Anker 3-in-1 charging cube has given me my desk back while preventing me from doing the unthinkable: commuting home with dead AirPods. Whether this convenience is worth the steep $150 price tag is dependent on whether you have a considerable amount of space -- or devices -- worth saving.

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