Review: VOLTME MagPak 5K magnetic charger

You'll have seen my previous review of the rather wonderful 140W GaN charger from VOLTME? This is from the same people but rather than mains-driven, this is a totally mobile, and wireless-focussed solution for iPhones (and Android phones that are, perhaps with case help, MagSafe-compatible).

The idea of a MagSafe power bank isn't new, of course. I also have the Apple version, pictured below with the MagPak 5K - the Apple one is very slightly smaller and lighter, but has significantly less capacity (2920mAh at 3.8V compared with 5000mAh, etc.) and features. 

Now, this VOLTME accessory doesn't have the Apple magic in terms of inserting its charge status into your iPhone widgets, but aside from this, there's no reason not to consider this a direct replacement for the Apple version. 

It's finished in a lovely soft touch plastic, in a variety of colours (I was sent purple because it was the first one off the production line, apparently!) The styling matches the MagSafe standard in terms of size of ring of magnets and alignment tab (the VOLTME name, above). 

The MagPak 5k is thinner than you might think for a 5000mAh power bank. On the 'control' end are the usual 4 segment LEDs for power bank charge state, plus one extra to indicate that the Qi wireless charging is in use. The button is to initiate charging if you want to use this to charge something else via USB Type C. The port for this is on the side, as shown below, and this is also used to charge the MagPak 5K itself:

Albeit... slowly. Or relatively slowly by current tech standards. The specs are laid out in a panel on the box:

So filling this 5000mAh will take an hour or so, which I think it fine - though 15W, both in and out (max) are a long way short of the bleeding edge in fast charging phones. But this is a slim accessory and with minimal chippery. Having extra fast charging electronics would add weight and cost. So it's fine.

The 7.5W output via MagSafe/Qi seems low but it's standard according to Apple itself. Possibly because higher Qi power equates to more heat and heat is bad for batteries, full stop. 15W for wired output is adequate, if not stellar. Again, this is a tiny, lightweight solution and when you're out of power in the middle of a day trip then 15W at your disposal with 5000mAh capacity will certainly get you out of trouble.

An extra trick is a low power Qi charging mode, designed for headsets and smart watches - double press the power button to get into this mode (indicated by animated LEDs) and then align your accessory carefully on the Qi coil - there's obviously no MagSafe alignment help with a small accessory, so care is needed - I took a moment to check this on my Marshall Major IV headphones and charging worked happily. In this mode, the MagPak 5K knows that current draw will be low and it doesn't shut off automatically as it would with higher currents for phones.

The biggest Unique Selling Point here is probably the kickstand though. A simple angled flap on the rear of the unit, it works surprisingly well and feels solidly made. The angle is such that you can use the MagPak 5K as a portrait stand for your phone while charging:

Or, by rotating the phone, it becomes a landscape phone kickstand too. Really clever, and perfect for watching media (YouTube etc) on your phone, again while Qi charging and with magnets keeping the alignment:

True, there's only one stand angle in either orientation, but it's way better than propping your phone up on nearby fruit or books, two things I've had to resort to in lunchtimes past!

Most of us keep our phones in TPU cases and it's worth noting that, as with other MagSafe accessories, the magnetic attraction weakens with distance, so for a really secure magnetic latch it's recommended that you use a TPU case that has the same MagSafe magnets built-in. I use the Ringke Fusion MagSafe range, for example. A few extra quid but well worth it. 

(I tried the MagPak 5K with various iPhones with vanilla, i.e. non-MagSafe TPU cases and there was still alignment and charging still worked, but the slightest jolt would knock the accessory off. So not ideal.)

At £46 or so on Amazon UK, this is good value, I suggest. The Apple MagSafe power bank is still £100, over twice the price, after all, and other third party alternatives are up in the £40-£60 region. It's also future proof in that it's Type C-based, which will stand you in good stead when Apple switches from Lightning to Type C later in 2023!

PS. Original link to the manufacturer's info page on this.

PPS. If you like this feature and want to support my work then please do so here via PayPal. Thanks.


Popular posts from this blog

Wavelet - and better sounding speakers (and headphones) on Android...

Bluetooth keyboard incorrect PIN or password - SOLVED

How to fix Blink XT2 Camera 'Thumbnail failed' error!