Slip an Apple MagSafe puck into the Elago Charging Tray to create an iPhone 12 charger with a built-in tray. The combination quickly powers up your handset while also helping to organize your desk or nightstand.
The accessory has been beside my bed for several weeks. Here’s why I like it.
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Elago Charging Tray for MagSafe review
There’s a limited selection of accessories that use Apple’s speedy new MagSafe iPhone charging system. But Elago quickly came up with an answer. Its Charging Tray wraps around Apple’s own charger and improves on it.
The standard puck works well, providing twice as much power as standard wireless ones. And the magnets in the accessory connect to ones in an iPhone 12 so their charging coils line up and stay that way. But the design is basic in the extreme.
Elago adds onto the base hardware with its tray. It’s like Apple made the chocolate and the Elago made it into a chocolate cake. With the tray, the charger is more stable and it includes a recessed area for holding small objects.
Hardware and design
The Elago Charging Tray for MagSafe is 9.5 inches wide, 3.7 inches deep and 0.6 inches thick. I like this accessory, but it definitely takes up significant space on my small nightstand.
Much of the space is occupied by a recessed area to hold other items, whether that be rings, paper clips or AirPods. The area is 5.5 inches by 2.2 inches, so there’s plenty of capacity. The front, back and sides are smooth curves, making it easy to pick up small items.
Apple’s charger is round and white with a ring of aluminum around it. Which is fine, if that’s your style. If it’s not, Elago’s tray lets you change it to black, jean indigo, sand pink or stone.
The tray weighs 0.6 pounds with Apple’s charger installed. And that is, to me, one of its primary benefits. By design, the MagSafe charger sticks tightly to the iPhone 12. When used without the tray, I have to manually remove the MagSafe charger whenever I pick up the handset. With the Elago Charging Tray, I can simply pick up the device and the charger stays put.
The case is made from silicone, so it’s mostly rigid with a bit of flex. It’s supposed to be scratch-free, and I’ve been using my review unit for weeks and it still looks brand new.
Just so there’s no confusion, Elago’s tray isn’t a charger and doesn’t come with one. It’s a tray that holds an iPhone MagSafe charger purchased separately. MagSafe is new, and Apple didn’t give many companies advance notice that it was coming. This is a good intermediate step.
The charger is completely hidden within the Charging Tray. But my tests with an iPhone 12 show that this doesn’t interfere with 15 watts of wireless power transfer. All I need to do is put my handset in the right general area and the magnets in the iPhone and the charger take care of the rest.
Installing Apple’s accessory Is easy. Flip the tray over, insert the charger into the slot, then feed the wire through the channel.
Elago Charging Tray for MagSafe final thoughts
Elago’s strategy of building onto Apple’s own MagSafe charger is brilliant. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. If Elago had gone a different route and its Charging Tray had a built-in charger it would look and perform exactly the same.
The closest I can get to criticizing this accessory is that it’s wider than is really ideal. It would fit better on my desk and nightstand if the recessed area wasn’t so big.
The Elago Charging Tray Duo is available in the Cult of Mac store for $29.
Please note that you’ll need an Apple MagSafe Charger ($34) to plug into this accessory. If you decide to buy tray and charger, the total would be $63.
If you also have an Apple Watch, you should consider the Elago Charging Tray Duo ($29). It has slots for both a MagSafe puck and the standard charger for Apple’s wearable.
If you use AirPods, take a look at the Belkin Boost↑Charge Pro 2-in-1 Wireless Charger Stand ($99.95), which can power an iPhone 12 as well as AirPods cases that support wireless charging.