Griffin WatchStand hands-on: Low price Apple Watch charging dock heavy enough to stay in place

Like other Apple products before it, there is a growing accessory market for the Apple Watch. The new Griffin WatchStand is half the price of competing charging docks.

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I continue to enjoy using my Apple Watch as my primary smartwatch and just like other Apple mobile products the accessory market is taking off.

You can pick up screen protectors, protective covers, new bands, and much more. Griffin sent along its new WatchStand charging dock and after testing it out and looking around I see there are already several competing products.

WatchStand components and setup

The Griffin WatchStand package includes four pieces to put together the system. The pieces include a heavy molded plastic base, inner post with rubber grooved stem, outer plastic post, and small rubber adapter. There is no Apple Watch Magnetic Charging cable included with this accessory so you need to use the one that was sent with your Apple Watch or one you purchased later.

The rubber adapter piece is only needed if you have a stainless steel Apple Watch charger. I have the Apple Watch Sport with plastic charger so did not need to use this adapter piece and set it aside.

Simply insert the cable, with USB end, down into the inner post piece first. Press your Apple Watch magnetic dock into the seat at the top of the inner post. Mine fit in nice and snug with perfect alignment.

If you want to reduce the length of cable coming out of the charging stand, then you can run the USB end out through the front opening and wind the cable into the rubber grooves of the inner post piece. I shortened my cable up about a foot by using this method.

You then run the USB end down into the outer post piece and slide the outer post over the inner post. The USB end is then fed into the hole in the center of the base as you place the combined post piece over the center mount.

The USB cable is then run to your outlet and the large rubber feet of the base let you pass the cable between them. It only takes a few minutes to setup.

Using the WatchStand

Now that the WatchStand is assembled with your Apple Watch Magnetic Charging cable mounted and plugged in you are ready to use the stand. I positioned mine on the end table next to my bed so I can rest my Apple Watch there and charge it up while I sleep.

You can actually rotate the post through each of four sides if you want to change the orientation of your Apple Watch on the stand. Simply place your Apple Watch down on the magnetic face of the charging cable to charge it up. Bands with closed loops need to be placed sideways on the stand while my Sport bands can be opened and let me place the Apple Watch right side up.

The upcoming Apple watchOS 2 update will support nightstand mode where our Apple Watch can serve as an alarm clock with a face that lights up. The Griffin WatchStand will be an even better accessory with this software update.

The heavy base also has a lip on the front so you can position your iPhone on the stand with your Apple Watch. There is no direct means to charge up your iPhone, but you can always plug in a Lightning cable if you need to top it off. This would be a perfect application for wireless charging of the iPhone, just like the Apple Watch.

I love that the base is heavy and has large rubber feet on the base as it keeps the WatchStand steady and in position. The total weight of the WatchStand is 18 ounces.

The WatchStand is also pretty high, but if you mount your Apple Watch with an open band then it's perfect for providing room to rest your iPhone.

Price, availability, and conclusions

Many Apple accessories are pricey so I was pleasantly surprised to see the Griffin WatchStand priced at a reasonable $30. Other charging stands for the Apple Watch tend to run in the $60 range, double the price of the WatchStand.

You can buy it now directly from Griffin Technology or via the Griffin Amazon store front.

I was worried about placing my Apple Watch up so high on the stand and relying on the magnet in the charger to keep it in place. Thankfully, Griffin provides a rubber top around the charger that helps to keep your Apple Watch secure while preventing any scratches or other damage.

If you own a heavier Apple Watch and band with closed loop I'm not quite sure how it will rest on the stand. It's perfect for the Sport band so I am pleased I went with a black Sport band instead of a Milanese Loop for now.

I also like that I now have a place to set my iPhone 6 Plus at night rather than just down flat somewhere on a table. It's convenient to have both devices in on central location. I wish there was some way to easily integrate the charging cable for the iPhone, but then again my iPhone 6 Plus only drains a couple percent at night.

Related ZDNet Apple Watch coverage

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