Wednesday, January 3, 2024

3-in-1 Charging Stations

Fernando Silva:

I have been on the lookout for a 3-in-1 charging station for my Apple products that doesn’t break the bank. Don’t get me wrong – there are many options for 3-in-1 chargers, but it seems you have to spend upward of $100 or even $200 for a high-quality Apple 3-in-1 charger. But I think I finally found one that cuts that $100 price point in half while still keeping it high quality. Let’s check out the X23 Pro Charger.


In typical 3-in-1 charging station fashion, you get three different spots to charge the big three Apple devices: iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. The AirPods charging pad supports up to 2.5W of wireless charging, and you can technically charge anything, so if you have a secondary phone, you could charge it there! The Apple Watch charger supports 5W charging. Then, you have the MagSafe compatible charging stand for your iPhone. It technically supports up to 15W for non-iPhone devices and then charges your iPhone at 7.5W.

This charger stands out with its compatibility with iOS 17 StandBy mode and 5W Apple Watch fast charging.

I have not used the KUXIU X23 (Amazon), but I really like the KUXIU X55 (Amazon), which is currently $39.99. It has a smaller footprint than the X23 and folds up for travel. I think it’s far superior to the seemingly more popular UCOMX Nano (Amazon) and Anker 3-in-1 Cube (Amazon). The UCOMX lies flatter, but it’s larger, less sturdy, and when folded it can only charge two devices and can’t hold the iPhone vertically. The Anker is wider and more than three times the price. The main thing I don’t like about the X55 is that the cable attaches on the side rather than the back, so it gets in the way a bit more.

This is a tough product category to figure out because there are a zillion similar looking chargers on Amazon. Most of the less expensive ones have high ratings but some reviews saying that they either don’t work reliably (particularly for watch charging) or that they start off fine but don’t last very long. It’s not clear whether there’s any advantage, in either reliability or design, to the $100+ ones.


Update (2024-01-04): D. Griffin Jones:

I tested both the Kuxiu X55 and the Kuxiu X40, and the latter is so much better. It’s more expensive at $65 – 70, but the build quality is a vast improvement. It makes the X55 look like cheap plastic garbage in comparison. (And the cable comes out the back!)

The X40 (Amazon) is also a 7.5W phone charger vs. 5–15W for the X55.


What are the differences between X40 and X55?

1. Different main body materials and processes for the stands:
- X40 uses aluminum alloy as the main body, crafted through CNC technology, providing an excellent texture with a complex manufacturing process.
- X55 has a plastic main body produced through mold injection.

2. Weight and dimensions:
- X40 weighs 195g and has dimensions of 68mm*68mm*23.3mm (smaller and thinner).
- X55 weighs 135g and has dimensions of 68mm*68mm*30mm (lighter and more cost-effective).

3. X40 and X55 have the same functions and wireless charging capabilities, with identical packaging accessories.

There’s also an X55 Plus (Amazon) that looks like the X40, except it has white charging disks and a side USB-C port. It’s unclear to me why this is the most expensive one at $69.99.

Update (2024-05-07): See also: Adam Engst.

15 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

I took a chance on this ( 3-in-1 charger that has a detachable battery pack. It folds, uses usb-c for the base and the battery pack, and allows for horizontal phone orientation. The only downside is that you get maybe one full iPhone charge out of the battery pack but it's pretty good in a pinch.

@Jacob It looks like the watch charger is part of the battery pack? And the (front of the) dock only charges the phone when the battery pack is inserted?

Will need to check these out.

I finally sprang for the Belkin 3 in 1 when it was $80 at Costco. For that price, I'm pretty happy with it, though I would prefer it to be USV-C instead of its own brick.

Was also here to chime in that Costco has the Belkin one for $80. I think I paid $129 or $150 for one a while back and while costly, was really worth the peace of mind so if I didn't have one now would definitely scoop the Costco one.

Kevin Schumacher

I have and love the Anker Cube. Expensive, yes, but worth every penny for me. I also much prefer the design of it to the X23, especially for travel.

The X55 looks interesting as far as form factor, but I agree the charging port location is problematic. It also doesn't support 15W charging for iPhone.

And it can't charge everything at full speed with a 20W brick, so that is one thing you're actually sacrificing (or buying a brick, which adds to its cost). That said, it only supports up to 7.5W for iPhone anyway, whereas the Anker Cube supports 15W.

"This charger stands out with its compatibility with iOS 17 StandBy mode..."

? That isn't compatibility, that's how the phone works when you have it plugged in and in landscape. Makes me question the rest of the review if they are using that marketing copy without actually thinking about it.

(Also, KUXIU changing the browser tab title to "Come back" when it loses focus is beyond annoying. Not like I recognize the KUXIU favicon, having never been there before today, so amongst many tabs, it is no longer useful to know what it is. Plus, if you sit on the page, even if that window isn't focused, the "Add To Cart" button starts wiggling, not to mention the aggressively fast carousel of text ads at the top of the page... And while I'm pointing out flaws, this is yet another company that is taking advantage of the Amazon trademark thing while having a meaningless name, which makes me trust them basically not at all. It's impossible to tell the difference between good and bad companies in that model.)

I'm sort of echoing Jeff B in that I picked up the Belkin model when it was on sale for the holidays at $80. It's currently $110 or $150 on Amazon.

I simply had no interest in risking wireless charging to a brand I'd never heard of. What I *have* heard of is poor quality Chinese devices that result in everything from simply not working, to actually heating up and causing irreparable damage.

I also chalked up that if you want 15W fast charging, you're probably not going to find much that's under $100. I felt quite lucky to have snagged the Belkin charger at such a great sale.

In my search for a charging stand my goal was to find a stand that would tilt negative to the horizon, so the phone in standby mode/lanscape would be visible, as my bed is lower than my nightstand. I also wanted a charger that would work with any sized power adapter, to allow me to better control the charge rate while sleeping. I settled on the older Anker Wireless Charging stand from Amazon ( and the old 5W original Apple power supply cube.

It takes about 6-7 hours to fully charge from around 10%-17% to reach 100%. Nice and slow and better IMO than a fast charge and then left on the charger.

When using a USB C iPad adapter to charge the phone, it is fast charging at 15W. But for now, it's a cheap alternative, as I wear my watch to bed so have no need for a 2 in 1 charger, and same for headphones, so no use for a 3 in 1 charger. And at $23.99 CDN, its a steal and comes with a 5 foot USB C cable to boot - just had to add a USB C to USB A adapter for the 5W cube (or longer USB A to USB C if you need longer).

I just received the KUXIU X23 today after a positive review at 9to5mac (I should have known better) and am frustrated with an issue related to charging the AirPods Pro 2 case on the charging pad: The AirPods Pro 2 case beeps every few minutes at an irregular interval, its charging light lights up orange for a few seconds, at the same time the display of the iPhone attached to the magnetic stand of the X23 activates. It seems like the X23 briefly stops charging and then restarts charging the devices, therefore causing them to light up or beep every few minutes. Try sleeping next to devices beeping and blinking every few minutes.

As my order was directly through the KUXIU website and was shipped from China to Europe with two different parcel services, there's no easy way of returning the item. A firmware upgrade might solve the issue, but I doubt KUXIU will ever provice such a firmware update.

One other factor that seems to not get discussed much, in shopping for a charging stand, an absolute dealbreaker was for it to support landscape orientation so the nightstand widgets would appear. On several occasions, I got excited to find a fast charging stand from a company I recognize at a great price, only to discover the design would not accommodate charging the phone and landscape orientation.

@Lee Yeah, that’s why, contra Kevin, I don’t take StandBy support for granted. It’s good to see it called out as supported. (But even then I guess you would need confirmation from a reviewer, e.g. the UCOMX Nano says it supports vertical orientation, and has photos showing that, but it doesn’t actually work with current iPhones.)

Kevin Schumacher

Regarding compatibility, I was thinking about it from the perspective of e.g. iPhone 15W charging, which requires specific hardware to make it work. (I assume? At the very least it has to be licensed for Made for Magsafe.) As opposed to being able to orient the phone in either direction, which I guess I take for granted since I've used stands like this for forever. But you are correct that supporting horizontal orientation is technically compatibility with StandBy.

Christina Warren

I recently went through this dance for myself and my parents. I got the 15w Belkin 3-in-1 a few months ago on sale (tho not as good as the $80 Costco promo — sad I missed that, I could use a second one) because I wanted the fastest charging possible and the TwelveSouth option didn’t offer 15w. However, when traveling, 7.5w might be fine so I’ll look at getting the KUXIU X55, so thanks for that!

For my parents, because only mom needs to charge multiple things (she’s obsessed with AirPods and a two of her pairs, the Pros and the new Pro 2s, support wireless charging), so I got them the Belkin MagSafe pucks that are an alternative to the Apple unit but it includes a kickstand and was $8 cheaper last week. This way, they can just drop their phones on the disk or prop it up. I thought about stands but they were all so pricey or from vendors I’d never heard of. Maybe I’ll get them some of the alternatives listed here.

I wish this category wasn’t so split between no-name Asian companies (who I honestly bet make very good products for the most part, given where all of this is sourced) and stuff that costs $150 or more. As you say, it’s a tough one. Thanks for adding these links.

Kevin Schumacher

> no-name Asian companies (who I honestly bet make very good products for the most part, given where all of this is sourced)

I wouldn't make that bet. Yes, most of the components are sourced from Asia and often assembly is done there, too, but that doesn't mean all (or even a majority) of these no-name companies are actually interested in using those components to make a quality product. Part of the benefit (to them) of these junk names is they can drop one and resurface under another very quickly if something goes wrong.

A few months ago I found the Belkin 3-in-1 charger at a thrift store for $8. Blew my mind when I looked it up and saw it originally sold for over $100! It works fine, but now I’ll always wonder why someone gave it away.

FWIW: I'd never had a 3-in-1 charger before and just bought this $25 no-name one (Pexxus - from Amazon recently.

I like it, but wish the base was a bit heavier (not a deal breaker). There are lot in the $20-$30 price range. I will probably upgrade to a more solid one in the future, but for now I'm happy I have a 3-in-1 charger on my nightstand.

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