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Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

Apples had some unfortunate iPhone missteps over the years3D Touch and the U2 debacle are just a few that come to mindbut MagSafe is shaping up to be one of the most useful upgrades the smartphone has seen in a while. Apples new charging technology made possible some pretty great third-party accessories, like Ankers new magnetic portable charger, which is so simple and convenient it really should be included with every iPhone.

MagSafe may have been pitched as a way to improve wireless charging, ensuring that an iPhone and charging pad are always perfectly aligned for optimal power transfer, but even Apple saw its potential as a better way to attach accessories to the smartphone, including magnetic wallets and cases.

Bloomberg even reported that anonymous sources claimed Apple was working on a magnetic upgrade to its Smart Battery Case, but its still nowhere to be seen. Now Anker has beaten Apple to the punch with its new PowerCore Magnetic 5K wireless charger, and as long as you dont mind sacrificing the pocketability of your iPhone 12, its the perfect solution to battery anxiety.

Ankers PowerCore Magnetic 5K isnt the first portable wireless charger to hit the market. Ive reviewed several already, including one from Satechi that can wirelessly charge an iPhone and an Apple Watch at the same time. The lack of wires is convenient, but portable wireless chargers are hard to use on the go given how precisely the charging coils have to be aligned for charging to actually happened. Theyre also all kind of beefy, whereas Ankers new solution is much smaller.

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Theres no getting around it: Ankers MagSafe-compatible portable wireless charger will add some bulk to your iPhone 12.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

However, just because Ankers PowerCore Magnetic 5K is the smallest portable wireless charger weve tested to date, doesnt mean its small. In reality it adds quite a bit of junk to the iPhone 12’s trunk while its attached, so dont expect to effortlessly slip the two into a pocket while theyre magnetically embraced.

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An included USB-C port is the only way to charge Ankers PowerCore Magnetic 5K, but it can also be used to charge other devices with a cable.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

On one end of the PowerCore Magnetic 5K youll find a power buttonthe charger wont automatically start transferring power when connected to an iPhone. Youll also see a breathing blue LED indicating when a device is charging, and a series of white LEDs indicating its remaining battery level. Theres also a USB-C port which is used to charge the PowerCore Magnetic 5K itself (it cant be wirelessly charged) and used to charge other devices through a cable connection.

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The PowerCore Magnetic 5K can be used to wirelessly charge other devices too, but with just 5W of power transfer its by no means a fast charging solution.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

You can also wirelessly charge non-MagSafe iPhones and devices using the PowerCore Magnetic 5K, so Anker has included an illustration on the underside showing exactly where its induction coil is located for proper alignment.

That being said, while testing has found that officially certified MagSafe charging accessories top out at around 15W of wireless power transfer, Ankers unofficial accessory (you wont find the term MagSafe mentioned anywhere on Ankers website) delivers just 5W of power, meaning its much slower. So if youre not slapping it on the back of an iPhone 12 model, youre probably better off charging other devices with a USB-C cable.

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For added peace of mind, pairing the PowerCore Magnetic 5K with a MagSafe compatible iPhone 12 case is not a bad idea, as it provides a stronger magnetic connection between the two.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

One other thing Ive discovered when testing MagSafe accessories is that the magnetic connection on the back of the iPhones 12 (Im using an iPhone 12 Pro) isnt all that strong. Its strong enough to stay aligned to a charging pad, but Im less confident about it being strong enough to prevent heavier accessories from falling off when the two are being carried around. For a stronger connection, I recommend pairing Ankers PowerCore Magnetic 5K with a MagSafe-compatible case like Moments iPhone 12 Thin case or Nomads Rugged Folio MagSafe case, for added peace of mind.

If youre not an iPhone 12 user, you can probably skip the PowerCore Magnetic 5K. Ankers got cheaper compact portable chargers that boast far more capacity. If you are using one of Apples latest and greatest iPhones, for $40 the PowerCore Magnetic 5K is a no-brainer accessory. Even if Apple does release a thinner MagSafe charging solution of its own that offers faster charging times and a more svelte design, it will undoubtedly be considerably more expensive than what Ankers already got available.



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