Ampere’s Apple Watch Charging Cable is a lot more portable than Apple’s. With its short cable, it fits easily in a purse or gear bag. As a bonus, it’s partially made from recycled ocean plastic.
I put the MFi-certified Apple Watch travel charger through its paces. Here’s how it did in real-world testing.
Ampere Apple Watch Charging Cable review
The Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable does a fine job of keeping the wearable powered at your home or office. But it’s not very portable, due to its 1-meter cable.
The Ampere Apple Watch Charging Cable is made to be used on the go. It’s a lot smaller because the cable is so much shorter. It’s designed to be plugged into your MacBook or even many iPad models to replenish your Apple Watch.
Hardware and design
The function of this accessory sets its basic design. Apple Watch can only get power through a smaller-than-usual wireless charging mat, so that’s what Ampere used. The housing around the mat is 1.4 inches across and 0.4 inches thick. The whole union weighs a mere 1.2 ounces.
The Ampere Apple Watch Charging Cable has a zinc-alloy shell, intended to provide cooler and faster charging. That’s important because if the Apple Watch or accessory get too warm, they’ll stop charging.
The accessory is compatible with every model, from the Apple Watch Series 1 to the latest model.
Where the Ampere version really differers from the standard charger is on the length of the connecting cable. It’s just 3 inches long, instead of the 3.3 feet of cable Apple put in. With less cable, you can easily plug the third-party accessory into your computer to juice up the wearable. When you’re done, you can simply drop the charger in your backpack or purse. It’s also easily pocketable.
I’m not knocking the design of the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable — its 1-meter cable makes it well-suited for use on a nightstand. But that’s a lot of cable to bundle up and take on a business trip.
As noted, the Ampere Apple Watch charger’s braided cable is made from recycled ocean plastic.
Many older Apple Watch models came with a charger with a USB-A connector. Which was fine in its day, but nearly all Apple accessories now use USB-C. The Ampere Apple Watch Charging Cable has a USB-C connector so you can plug it into your MacBook wherever you happen to be.
Or you can use the MacBook’s wall charger with the accessory.
Ampere Apple Watch Charging Cable performance
Ampere’s charger is MFi-certified, which means it’s not a cheap knockoff that’s been reverse-engineered. It should offer approximately the same performance as an Apple product.
To test this, I used an Apple Watch Series 3 to do real-world testing of Ampere’s charging cable. Most of the time, it raised the battery level about 1% per minute.
I did a comparison with the charger that came with the Apple Watch. It charges at approximately the same rate.
I also used the Plugable USBC-VAmeter to get a reading on the watts flowing to Ampere’s and Apple’s accessories. They both drew power in a very similar way. Generally, they draw about 2 watts, though there’s a lot of variation — sometimes above that level, more often below.
One of the reasons the charging rate varies is heat. Quickly recharging a battery can make it warm up, which can damage it. If an Apple Watch detects that it’s getting too warm, it’ll slow down or even stop drawing power. I saw this happen with both Apple’s and the third-party charger.
Ampere Apple Watch Charging Cable final thoughts
Ampere’s Apple Watch charger makes an excellent travel option for your wearable. It’s more portable than Apple’s while offering essentially the same performance.
If you travel even semi-frequently, I recommend that you have chargers/cables for your Apple Watch, iPhone and MacBook that you store in your luggage. If you don’t, eventually you’re going to arrive at your destination and realize you forgot to pack one and have no way to juice up your wearable, phone, etc. Ampere’s charging cable is an excellent option for this,
The Ampere Apple Watch Charging Cable costs $29.
Buy from: Ampere
For comparison, the USB-C version of the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable is also $29.
But the best competition I’ve seen for Ampere’s is the Satechi USB-C Magnetic Charging Dock ($39.99). It has no cable at all. Instead, its USB-C connector plugs directly into your Mac, iPad or wall charger.
Ampere provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.