Tidying up the charging experience and taking advantage of Apple’s improved high-speed charging is something that could eliminate untidy cable areas and clean up bedside tables and kit bags, so there is a growing market for 3-in-1 charging options. Not all, however, are neat enough to be easily portable, nor sport an official Apple ‘Made For MagSafe’ approval. Anker has done both here, so the question is whether it’s up to the task (and where it’s worth the price).
Anker 3-in-1 Cube: Specifications
|Max iPhone charging (MagSafe)
|1.5 m / 4.9 ft
|6.34 x 6 x 6 cm / 2.49 x 2.3 x 2.3 in
|410 g / 14.46 oz
Anker 3-in-1 Cube: Build & Handling
There is no doubting the elegance of Anker’s design, and you feel a robust heft as soon as you pick it up. This weight supports a big iPhone in a case even when viewed at 60˚ away from the level – we tested with the 240g (8.5oz) iPhone 14 Pro Max.
I’m not going to argue the design isn’t more on the unusual side, and there will be plenty of people who prefer a more traditional flat charging pad or stand. In its space grey color, the Cube looks a little like a prop from a sci-fi film, but it doesn’t look out of place on a desk or side table, the footprint this cube takes up when not in use is tiny, and when it is collapsed, it is barely unnoticeable. When laden with Apple products the tiny Cube is just substantial enough to not look overwhelmed, the Cube is also nicely weighted without being heavy, but it meant that I wasn’t concerned about the Cube just tipping over.
The mechanism for lifting the top up and down is really smooth but robust feeling, the slant is held in place strongly, and won’t immediately start folding under the weight of your phone, although I am not sure how long this tensile strength will last over time and continuous folds. I did manage to pinch my finger once or twice when collapsing the Cube, so just something to watch out for.
The little pop-out shelf for charging your Apple Watch doesn’t quite match the same quality, the shelf rattles and moves about quite a bit, although it doesn’t feel like it would fall out or break off, it would just be nicer for it to feel a little tighter connected to the main Cube. The slide-in drawer needs to be pushed a good 3 mm back into the cube to reliably ‘click’ back.
I think where the Anker Cube wins out is in just how easy it is to grab the charger, collapse it, and throw it into a bag to go to work or go traveling. The entire cube is no less bulky than a normal MacBook Pro charger. The charger is entirely powered by a USB-C port on the back, and the cube comes with a USB-C mains plug that has US, UK, and EU-style interchangeable plugs. Or you can just plug that same USB-C directly into your device for faster wired charging for a single device if you are in a hurry.
Anker 3-in-1 Cube: Performance
There isn’t really much to say on the Anker Cube except it does exactly what it claims. I managed to charge my iPhone 14 Pro via the MagSafe wireless charger on the front, AirPods on the wireless charging pad under the top, and Apple Watch on the pop-out charger all at the same time with no issue.
We had no trouble charging an iPhone 14, and you’ll get the advantage of 15W fast charge from iPhones in series 12 and up. Similarly, the watch charging tray can provide fast-charging to Series 7 and up, though will handle any other Apple watch too. In fact the only thing we weren’t convinced was charging was a knock-off AirPods case, but it turned out to work too.
The strength of the magnetic lid made for a good viewing stand too; there is something a bit odd about the phone seeming to hover like a tiny TV but it’s useful, and even solid screen pressing didn’t tip it. Admittedly it might occasionally by handy to be able to open the lid beyond 60˚ (if the cube were on a bedside table and you were trying to watch streaming video from the pillow). Presumably, however, that’d require more counterweight which we wouldn’t appreciate.
(Given weight is an inevitable aspect of the design, we found ourselves wondering if it might be possible to fill it with batteries, so the cube could also function as a power brick.)
The included power adapter has regional adapters and a single 30W USB-C connection which, when not charging the cube, can be redirected to keep a laptop going.
Anker 3-in-1 Cube: Verdict
This is a love-it-or-hate-it solution to a problem a lot of us have; annoying trailing cables on the bedside table or, worse, crammed into that shameful pocket of your travel bag. It comes at a price though. Two actually; one metaphorical and the other actual. The former is the weight which, including its neat power brick, is a noticeable addition to a rucksack.
It does look gorgeous though, and we’d speculate that anyone with three Apple devices recent enough to benefit from the cube might be able to stretch a few extra dollars for an elegant piece of design. The heaviness issue might actually be counterbalanced if it became your traveling laptop charger too – at which point you’d have just one compact power brick, one USB-C lead, and a very neat cube. We find it hard to believe an Apple fan would be disappointed by this device – and it’s a great gift for the Apple fan who has everything!