'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
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.
This compact cube is tailored to Apple users, employing MagSafe to wirelessly charge up to three devices at the same time.
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.
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.