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Finally, a 2-in-1 wireless charger that lets you use every Apple device feature

There's more to Twelve South's ButterFly charger than meets the eye. All it takes is a flip and a fold.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Describe what's shown in the image.
June Wan/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • Twelve South, the makers behind some of the most premium Apple accessories, is back with a 2-in-1 charging pad.
  • The aptly named ButterFly expands so that you can charge two Qi/MagSafe-compatible devices at once, at up to 15W.
  • For a MagSafe charging pad, the ButterFly's $130 listing price ain't cheap. But I still think it's worth it.

It's holiday travel season, which, to a tech journalist, means it's time to start gearing up for the lovely, relaxing, totally not chaotic CES week. While the biggest trade show in tech is still a month away, I've been testing a gadget that may just be the perfect appetizer for your vaporware cravings in January.

Also: Why Apple is halting sales of its Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models (and where to buy them now)

It's called the ButterFly by Twelve South, and it's one of the most travel-friendly, finely-crafted, and clever mobile accessories I've tested of late. Here's why the 2-in-1 MagSafe charger has quickly crept into my starting lineup of travel gadgets this holiday season.

View at Apple

The naming scheme of the latest Twelve South accessory, "ButterFly," comes naturally; when you separate the magnetic, all-aluminum pucks, they spread open to unveil a symmetrical design, bridged by a rather durable strip of vegan leather. When collapsed, I've tossed the macaroon-shaped charger in a backpack full of camera equipment and other trinkets, scurried through the New York City streets, and even dropped it accidentally when first unboxing it, and it's withstood the test of time. A week, to be exact.

Also: The best travel gadgets to bring with you this holiday season

For the record, I expect the ButterFly to hold its ground for a much longer time. The aluminum build material is that sturdy. The coating also feels grippy. Uncomfortably grippy, dare I say. It reminds me of that tingly "touch current" sensation when you glide your hand across a charging MacBook. Too specific?

The real test will come when I'm on the CES show floor, as I fight over outlets, seats in conference rooms, and Wi-Fi connection with other members of the press. This thing will certainly come in handy when I inevitably have to surrender a port or two to fellow journalists.

Twelve South Butterfly MagSafe Charger

When opened, the left side is a MagSafe charging pad and the right can be used with an Apple Watch or AirPods.

June Wan/ZDNET

The ButterFly pulls power via USB-C (capped at 15W output), unlike Apple's MagSafe Duo Charger which uses Lightning. That's a big win for me, as both my daily drivers at the moment -- the OnePlus Open and iPhone 15 Pro -- use the same cable standard, and the accessory can fast charge my Apple Watch Series 8. So it wouldn't be the craziest thing if I only packed one cable when I'm out and about. 

Also: The best USB-C cables for the iPhone 15: What the experts recommend

I also tip my hat to Twelve South for not only bundling a woven USB-C cable in the box but also a carrying pouch, a 30W charging brick, and four international plug adapters. You won't find that level of service with competing wireless chargers.

Twelve South Butterfly MagSafe Charger International Plugs
June Wan/ZDNET

Where things get more interesting with the ButterFly is when you fold it reversly. Snap the back sides of both charging pads together, set your iPhone down horizontally, and you've got a portable StandBy mode dock. Flick out the Apple Watch disc and you've got a Nightstand mode dock. Pretty cool, right?

Well, there is a slight catch. The magnet on the Apple Watch disc is barely strong enough to keep the wearable mounted upright, so I wish it was stronger. Still, my Watch Series 8 goes from zero to full battery with a little more than an hour of charging. The iPhone takes a little longer, but this is most certainly a "set it and forget it" type accessory.

Also: The best MagSafe battery packs: Expert researched and reviewed

Keep in my that I'm testing this with a 45mm Watch Series 8. I'd imagine that a heavier, thicker Watch Ultra (or Watch Ultra 2) would easily slip off the charger. Sure, you can always retract the charging disc and lay your watch down flat, but when you're paying $130 for a mobile accessory, you want to be able to take advantage of all the design party tricks.

ZDNET's buying advice

Perspective makes all the difference when deciding whether or not you should buy Twelve South's new ButterFly charger. On one hand, I know several power users who would scream "Take my money!" the moment they see how compact and capable this wireless charging pad is. On the other hand, the price can be too much to ask for, especially when similar-looking accessories can be found with a quick, generic Amazon search.

Here's the thing: Most of the alternatives are either not certified for Apple's fast charging tech, not built with durable materials, or both. So if you want a multi-device charging pad that's nearly as slim as an AirPods Pro case and "just works," this is the one I'd recommend.

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