It’s been a good amount of time since Apple unleashed the iPhone 12 series of phones to the world, and with them, the MagSafe in the iPhone ecosystem. As expected, a slew of third-party MagSafe accessories and chargers have come to market. Today, we’re looking at the 15W Aircore Wireless Charger by Aukey.
While it might be designed for the iPhone 12 line of devices, the Aircore can only output 7.5W of power to all iPhones with wireless charging, versus 15W with the official MagSafe Charger from Apple. Ironically, it will charge compatible Android handsets at up to 15W. Although, there are much better options out there for non-iPhone users becaise the magnetic properties of the Aircore are designed specifically for the iPhone 12.
So the million-dollar question would be, “Is the first-party MagSafe charger from Apple worth the extra coin over the Aircore charger?” And for the most part, yes. Apple’s offering is built with higher quality materials, has a stronger magnet, and charges your iPhone twice as fast as Aukey’s offering. On top of that, the Aircore has some potentially deal-breaking flaws that might make it a pass for you.
Note: As we’ve previously reported, Aukey has been disallowed from selling on Amazon for effectively buying reviews. This removal in no way affects the quality of this review, as you can still purchase directly from Aukey.
As with Apple’s first-party MagSafe charger, the Aukey Aircore Wireless Charger uses USB-C, which plugs into any USB-C power adapter or computer port. Though, plugging into your computer’s port will see reduced charging speeds. Aukey recommends an 18W or higher power adapter to get the full 15W charging speeds (again, just 7.5W on iPhones).
My favorite thing about the Aircore charger is its magnetic strength. Unlike the official Apple MagSafe charger, Aukey’s offering works similarly to the old MagSafe chargers that came with MacBooks. It’s strong enough to stay attached to your phone, but if someone trips over the cord, it’ll detach from your iPhone, preventing a nasty fall.
Apple’s own charger is so strong that you could hold the phone with the charger attached by the cable and it won’t detach. It’s a neat party trick but your phone will go flying if anyone trips over that cord. Needless to say, I vastly prefer Aukey’s implementation here.
Oh, and did I mention you get the cool MagSafe animation and vibration when you attach the charger to your phone? Not all MagSafe-compatible accessories do, so it’s nice to see Aukey take the extra step here.
The charger isn’t the prettiest thing on the block. It’s a black plastic puck and is thicker than Apple’s first-party offering. The magnetic side (the side that magnetically attaches to your phone) has all of your input/output information, and FCC branding engraved into it. While that might be offputting to some, it’s not that big a deal as you won’t see that at all when attached to your phone.
However, Aukey missed an opportunity to make a charger with a longer cable. Apple currently only sells a one meter variation of its charger. The Aircore is only one meter as well, and it would’ve been nice to see Aukey step in and make a charger with a longer cord. That definitely would’ve attracted me and many others looking for a MagSafe-like charger for their nightstand.
One issue I ran into with the charger is it would sporadically stop charging accessories such as AirPods, requiring me to do the “unplug and plug” dance to get it to start charging again. Fortunately, it never happened when charging my iPhone 12 mini or my wife’s iPhone 12 Pro, but happened semi-frequently when trying to charge non-MagSafe devices such as an older iPhone 11 and AirPods Pro.
And as mentioned earlier, the Aircore doesn’t charge as fast as Apple’s offering. Is it a big deal? It depends. If you’re looking to buy a charger primarily used for overnight charging, both the Aircore and MagSafe chargers will bring your phone to 100% by morning. But for practically any other use case, Apple’s MagSafe charger is a much better charger due to the faster 15W charging versus 7.5W from the Aircore.
How big is the difference in charging speed you might ask? In my experience, the Aircore charged my iPhone 12 mini about 35% in one hour, while the MagSafe charger got me up to nearly 60% in that same one-hour window.
For a magnetic charger designed for the iPhone 12 series of devices, the Aukey Aircore Wireless Charger works fine. It attaches to the back of both my iPhone 12 mini and my wife’s iPhone 12 Pro without issue. The magnet is strong so it won’t accidentally come off, but gives you enough leeway to save your phone from slingshotting to the floor when someone trips over the cord.
With the issue I ran into with charging non-iPhone 12 devices, it’s hard to recommend the Aircore even if you have an iPhone 12. Yes, the Apple MagSafe charger is double the price, but it also gets you a much more sleek, premium design, double the charging speeds, and has no issues with non-MagSafe devices. Sure, $39 is a lot of money for a charger. But I’d much rather spend the extra cash and have a reliable charger that charges all of my Qi-enabled devices versus one that works great on my iPhone 12 and is unreliable with everything else.
Here’s What We Like
- USB-C out
- Secure fit
And What We Don't
- Wish the cable was longer
- Doesn't charge as fast as first-party MagSafe charger
- Not the most elegant design
- Issues charging non-iPhone 12 devices