Today was just another Thursday when my colleagues and of the verge Senior news editor Richard Lawler tagged me in a dull thread. Upon opening said thread, I screamed pterodactyl. Behold, the Belkin BoostCharge Pro — a $99.99 10,000mAh power bank with a lil Divot that lets you fast charge A compatible Apple Watch or second-gen AirPods Pro (and any device that charges at up to 20W via a USB-C cable).
Is it expensive? Yes, especially since it is not available yet and is only open for pre-orders. I won’t complain to anyone who isn’t a wearable reviewer or smartwatch devotee to scoff. It’s a sensible response, and I totally understand why you might think I’m a dingus of the highest order. This Happy about an unproven gadget. I also understand that if this power bank malfunctions I will have done the equivalent of flushing $108 (with sales tax) down the toilet.
That’s why I’m willing to take that risk.
Smartwatches have the distinction of being one of the few gadget types that still rely on proprietary chargers. I have smartwatch chargers from Apple, Samsung, Fossil, Google, Fitbit, Garmin, Mobvoi, and a dozen other miscellaneous wearable brands divided into multiple drawers and compartments. While legislators may spur phone, tablet and other gadget makers to unite around a single charging standard, powering wearable technology comes with unique challenges.
Frustrated with my “collection” a few years ago, I called on designer Gadi Amit, who founded the NewDealDesign agency that Fitbit had previously used for several products. He told me that every standardized connector, be it USB-C or something else, is essentially too big to work with a wearable that would be small enough to wear comfortably. That extends to the wireless charging coil as well.
another issue? The smartwatch places the health tracking sensors on the bottom so they sit on your skin, while the display is placed on the opposite side so you can actually see the danger display. This leaves device makers with very limited options on where they can physically place the charging mechanism. Further complicating matters, companies cannot use the same sensors or components from one device to another. Any dramatic overhaul of internal components or design change may be required brand new Charger, even though it looks almost identical to the old one.
Flagship smartwatches have a reputation for unimpressive battery life compared to more power-efficient fitness bands of yesteryear. Advanced GPS, always-on OLED display, continuous health tracking, cellular connectivity – these are all battery-zapping features. The more advanced the watch, the worse the battery life. Software innovations have improved battery life over the years, but fast charging is a quick, easy and comfortable Compromised smartwatch battery puzzle.
Fast-charging power bank doesn’t matter if I packed the right Apple Watch cable
The only issue is that fast charging has different technical requirements than regular charging. And that means – you guessed it – a brand-spanking new proprietary charger is needed to add this feature. In the case of the Apple Watch, once Apple introduced fast charging with the Series 7, it meant you needed a new USB-C Apple Watch charger And A Power brick that can deliver more than 5 watts of power. Those little cubes that used to come with Apple devices? They won’t work. And for “e-waste reasons,” the new power brick isn’t included when you upgrade to Fast Charging-compatible Apple Watches.
And that’s why it can be confusing for the average consumer to tell at a glance whether they’re using the right smartwatch charger and power brick combo to enable fast charging. As my spouse says, “It doesn’t help that the old and new chargers look pretty similar.” (Pro tip: Always check if it has a USB-C connector and silver backing on the puck.) That’s just with Apple’s own chargers, which cost an arm and a leg to replace if you lose them. . It can be a wild free for all on the third party market if you don’t do due diligence. And even if you choose to stick only to Apple chargers, they don’t always work.
Case in point: Apple’s MagSafe Duo. Although it costs an absurd $130 for the privilege of charging your iPhone and Apple Watch on the go, you can’t use it to fast charge the watch.
Those third-party 3-in-1 charging stands? Only some of them support fast charging for Apple Watch Series 7, 8 and Ultra. Even if you’re buying them from accessory makers Apple works with — like Belkin. I made the mistake of asking for a 3-in-1 Belkin charging stand for Christmas, and my relatives didn’t check to see if they supported fast charging for the watch I got. I’m stuck with it now even though it’s not in one thing i need In the morning when I get up for an hour run and my Apple Watch battery is at 10 percent. The result is that my nightstand is a spaghetti mound of cables labeled so that, even when half asleep, I can choose the right charger to charge the right device at the right speed.
Forget travel. I do my best to pack the right chargers, bricks, and power banks for three to five wearable devices whenever I’m away from home. I messed up in spite of myself. Worse, the magnetic wireless pucks and pins used by wearable chargers aren’t what I’d call secure. You can plug your phone into a regular power bank, throw it in your backpack, and rest assured that your phone will be charged. This is not true for smartwatches. It depends on whether or not the spirits of your ancestors will someday bless your magnetic charging puck and whether you wander around in transit.
It’s my problem, sure. But if you don’t review wearables and have dozens of cables to choose from, there’s always the risk of leaving a cable behind, grabbing the wrong cable when packing, and having to buy or accept a new charger. Your watch is dead until you get back home.
You can plug your phone into a regular power bank, throw it in your backpack, and rest assured that your phone will be charged. This is not true for smartwatches
I don’t know if this Belkin BoostCharge Pro will live up to its promise. I’ve been burned so many times that I’m trying to tame my expectations. But the idea that this little part in the picture, where it looks like I can securely attach my Apple Watch to And plug in my phone? And Possibly remove two or three extra cables from my bag? And Trust me if I get hold of this one thing, I will be 100 percent sure it will charge my device faster? And Maybe let me toss my smartwatch cables in exchange for an assortment of 3-5 power banks? For once, enough hope burns in my withered heart that I order the damn thing to test itself.
Bless Belkin for even trying to bring this into existence. Bless the army of copycats that will likely get on board and do it at a cheaper price. Bless the inevitable imitators who will do the same to Samsung, Google, Fossil and other smartwatches.
I’ll report back as soon as this thing ships.