As technology continues to evolve, we’re seeing wireless charging becoming more and more of a norm. While speeds are usually slower than wired fast-charging standards, the act of setting your phone down on a nearby charging pad, and having it charge throughout the day, is always going to be a winner in the convenience department.
Most devices, however, don’t come with a wireless charger out of the box. Instead, there’s a vast variety of 3rd party charging pads out there, with prices that can vary pretty wildly.
Towards the higher end of that spectrum is Belkin, a brand that many Apple device owners should be well acquainted with. The company has a number of wireless charging products available in Malaysia—including the Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Stand.
Belkin’s charging stand doesn’t come cheap, however. At a retail price of RM389, it’s certainly one of the more expensive wireless chargers currently available in the market. There are an abundance of wireless chargers out there today—is the Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Stand worth the extra moolah?
First up: What devices can I charge?
While the device is marketed as a wireless charging stand for “Apple, Samsung, LG and Sony”, the truth is that all Qi-enabled devices should be compatible. Wireless charging is supported at up to 10W, although iPhone users should note that the the latest range of iPhones only support a maximum speed of 7.5W.
This, of course, means that you should expect a full charge to take all night, with charging taking an extensive amount of time (compared to wired fast-charging). For example, fully charging the iPhone X takes almost 6 hours, with around 30 minutes of charging only juicing the battery up from 0–12%.
I also tested the charging stand with Huawei’s latest P40 Pro—but of course, the max charging speed of the charger doesn’t even come close to the phone’s fastest supported wireless charging speed: 27W. Instead, wirelessly charging at 10W from 0–100% took me around 3 hours and 45 minutes, with 30 minutes of charging giving me 15%.
I will say that there weren’t any issues with charging, and you won’t really miss the “sweet spot” that charges the phone thanks to the plastic frame that holds the device in place. Plus, the Boost Up Charging Stand doesn’t have any problems with smartphones in cases—or at least, the standard cases I used.
However, I’m not a fan of the 22.5W AC adapter that the Boost Up Charging Stand utilises. This is fairly dated in 2020, and it basically means that you’ll need to bring an extra cable around with you if you do intend to use the charging stand while travelling. Similar options from other brands, such as Samsung’s charging pad, are powered via USB-C.
However, the “Stand” design limits compatibility
The most unique thing about the Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Stand is probably its “stand” design. While most other wireless chargers usually resemble hockey pucks, Belkin’s charger props your smartphone up at an angle so you can have your phone’s display facing you at your workdesk, or on your bedside table.
While I do enjoy the convenience of having a convenient spot to dock—and charge—my smartphone, the design offers pros and cons in equal measure. For one thing, the form-factor of the stand means that your smartphone can sit in horizontal or vertical orientations—but if your device doesn’t fit within the frame of the stand, you’re out of luck.
Consequently, the variety of devices that you can charge is limited by the form-factor of the stand, despite support for the widely-used Qi wireless charging standard.
For example, charging AirPods is pretty inconvenient. The AirPods charging case is pretty small in comparison to a phone (obviously), so it doesn’t quite sit on the part of the stand that actually charges your device. Instead, the only way I managed to get the AirPods charging was to prop it up with something else—like another pair of AirPods.
And no, the stand doesn’t have any sort of mechanism to convert it to a different form-factor, or even to disassemble it.
As for build quality, Belkin’s charging stand is okay. Materials used mostly appear to be made from plastic, and construction looks like it’s fairly sturdy. Personally, I’ve used it regularly over the past couple of months without any hitches.
Still, at least you get some peace of mind
Over the years, Belkin has become a brand that is synonymous with Apple accessories, and for good reason.
For one, Belkin says that the Boost Up Charging Stand, just like most of their products, meets Apple’s “required and preferred” standards. You get a two-year warranty by default, and an additional year of coverage is granted when you register the product at Belkin.
I recently spoke to a company representative about their efforts to offer customers “added peace of mind”, and they explained that the Connected Equipment Warranty is a big part of that.
Basically, the warranty covers any equipment that is connected to the Belkin charging accessory. If your equipment—in this case, my iPhone—is damaged through any fault of Belkin’s charger, you’ll be able to claim repair costs or a replacment at up to US$2,500 (~RM10,800).
On the official product page, the Connected Equipment Warranty statements appear to only apply to American and Australian markets. However, we have confirmed that the warranty applies to the APAC region; you can read the full details here.
Bottom line: Overpriced for what it offers
In 2020, Belkin’s Boost Up Charging Stand doesn’t really cut it for what it’s priced at—a premium figure of RM389, as listed on Belkin’s official Lazada Store. Something like Samsung‘s wireless charging pad offers roughly the same speeds and Qi-standard compatiblity, at less than half of the price; plus, it’s powered via USB-C.
In fact, there are plenty of options in the OEM market, with brands such as Aukey and Anker offering similar products at significantly cheaper prices. Arguably, these offer a lot more value compared to Belkin’s Boost Up Charging Stand, so long as you stick to brands that are reputable with a reliable track record.
Belkin’s extensive warranty coverage and reputation for Apple accessories could count in favour for certain users, although I’d argue that the premium you’re paying for that “peace of mind” is a little on the high side.
And while the design of the stand does have its perks, such as ease of use and aesthetic appeal, I’d argue that the fixed nature of the stand is fairly limiting. Most smartphones should fit within the frame well enough, but you’ll probably run into problems if you’re trying to charge a smaller device (like the AirPods charging case).
If this was a feedback letter to Belkin, I’d say this:
It’s an interesting idea, and the design certainly has its strengths. Add some moving parts or even a hinge mechanism, switch to USB-C power, and we might just have a winner.
Oh, and it needs to be priced more competitively.