I have a love-hate relationship with Anker. I think their charging accessories are solid, but I find the rest of their products to be mediocre. I’m also not at all fond of their aesthetic choices. Why they insist on covering everything with shiny black plastic is baffling. Guys, it’s going to scratch 5 seconds out of the box. Still, some of their stuff is good, and I think I may have found another gem. Before we continue, I should add that this station does not have Magsafe charging. If you want to take advantage of that on your iPhone 12, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Unboxing, Setup, and Physical Description
The PowerWave comes in Anker’s typical packaging. Once the factory seal is removed, an inner tray slides out and reveals a manual wrapped in a plastic pouch, the PowerWave charger, a plastic ring for the watch charger, the bottom plate for the station, and a non-braided (but still very nice) USB type C to USB type A cable. There is no charging brick to be found.
The unit must be assembled before use, but it’s not at all difficult. First, take your Watch charging cable, and fish it through the hole in the top of the base. Then push the puck into the plastic ring, and insert the ring into the base. On the underside of the unit, you must now wind the cable in the molded grooves and plug it into the internal USB type A port. It takes one or two tight bends, but the cable does not kink, as far as I can tell. Once installed and connected, simply snap on the bottom plate. Lastly, connect the type C cable and add your own charger. Anker recommends a QuickCharge 2.0 or 3.0 adapter that can deliver 2 amps at 9 volts.
The PowerWave charger is rectangular in shape and covered in textured rubber. The weighted base measures 6.5 inches wide, 3.75 inches deep, and the phone charger sticks up a good 4 inches. Said phone charger is an angled stand on the left side of the base. It is also covered in textured rubber on the top. The sides have a glossy finish (but are very thin), and the back is matte. Directly to the right is a circle for placing your AirPods. It can be felt out by a very small ridge molded into the base. Directly behind that is where you will find the watch charger. The plastic hoop is at an angle and holds the charging puck inside. There is an empty spot on the base behind the phone charger. I like to put my AirPods here when they’re not charging. The type C connector is located at the back towards the left side. The walls of the base also have a glossy finish, but they are also very thin. As someone who is disproportionately angered by glossy black plastic, I can say that Anker have used it sparingly and in a tasteful manner.
Using The Thing
There’s not very much to say here. It’s a wireless charging station. I’ll start with the phone stand. I set my iPhone 11 on it, and it charges. The only aspect I dislike is that the pad at the bottom covers the microphone grill. This makes it harder for Siri to hear voice requests. She’s not rendered completely deaf, but she can’t hear me from across the room when charging here. When it’s just my phone, it charges about as quickly as any other wireless charger, but it will slow down if you add on your other accessories. iPhones with built-in wireless charging will charge at 7.5 watts. Anker says many Android phones can go up to 10, and older Android handsets will charge at a mere 5. Yes, it’s slow, no matter what. That’s assuming it’s not bogged down with everything else.
Charging the AirPods takes a little practice. A shallow ridge makes finding the location easy, but aligning it takes a few tries. After a little practice, I can do it with a reasonable degree of confidence. The coil whine, when paired with my particular QC 3.0 charger, also changes. That makes it a little easier to know when they’re getting juice.
Charging your watch is as easy as setting it into its puck. There is enough clearance between my Watch SE and AirPods Pro, but I wish they were just a tiny bit further apart. Then again, I’m one of those freaks who puts a case on my AirPods Case. It’s fine, really.
Why Wireless Charging?
Yes, yes, yes. Wireless charging isn’t actually wireless. You have to put it on a stand. I said myself that it’s slower than its fully wired counterpart, and it’s also less efficient even if the coils are aligned. I was a skeptic too, but then I actually tried it. Its advantage comes in the form of convenience. Obviously, if you’re in a hurry, you should plug in, but when you’re sitting down at your desk to crack out a story, or if you’re going to bed (and don’t partake in the unhealthy habit of watching videos for several hours like me), setting your phone in a nice stand and feeling it buzz is one of the coolest feelings. Want to check your notifications? Just pull it off the stand. Yes, it stops charging, but you simply place it back on to continue. There’s no faffing about with cables that teasingly dance around the port. You don’t have to worry about wearing anything out. You just set your stuff down, and it charges. If you like setting your watch on its charging puck and forgetting about it, you’ll love doing the same for your phone. Unless you have a monster case or something with metal, you won’t even have to remove it.
If you’re looking for an elegant and compact charging solution for your trifecta of Apple products, the Anker PowerWave 3-in-1 charging station is an excellent choice.
My Own Disclaimer
I purchased the Anker PowerWave from Amazon for $39.99US with my own money. No third parties have received early viewing or editing rights. I wrote it up and posted it here. I am not a journalist or part of the editorial team. I’m just some idiot on the internet who likes tech and wanted to review a thing.
Watch Charging Issues
I have an Apple Watch Series 6, and it simply refuses to charge on the base. I have plugged the watch cable into the USB port, but the connector does not appear to go in all the way.