Evaluation: Native Union’s Drop XL Gives Elegant Wi-fi Charging for iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch
With Apple’s AirPower off the table for now, three-in-one charging solutions have become popular, and multiple companies are now introducing multi-device charging options.
Native Union recently released the Apple Watch Edition of its Drop XL Wireless Charger, which is a three-in-one charger able to charge an iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch all at once.
At $150, the Drop XL Wireless Charger is one of the pricier options on the market, but it’s also one of more attractive solutions when it comes to design, and it has a unique perk that most other charging stations don’t offer.
The main wireless charging base is oval in shape like many other multi-device wireless charging options on the market, but the variation in the fabric design on top gives it an edge when it comes to design. I like the different directions of the gray textile top, which provides grip, and the dark aluminum base is complementary.
There are two wireless charging spots included in the base, one where the circle design is located and another to the other side of it with the striped fabric design. Because this is a small, flat charger, you do need to charge your iPhone in a portrait mode orientation, which requires a bit more desk space at the top and bottom than an upright charger might need.
I much prefer upright charging options to flat charging options for this reason, and it’s something to keep in mind. You can kind of place the phone a bit diagonally to save some space, but it needs a good inch and half of clearance at the top at bottom to accommodate Apple’s larger phones.
The neat part about the Drop XL Wireless Charger is the detachable Apple Watch charging puck, which plugs into the USB-A port on the back. You can plug it in if it’s needed, or pull it out if you want to travel with the dock or if you need both of the main wireless charging spots free. It’s not an entirely unique feature, but it’s one that few wireless chargers offer.
With the watch add-on plugged in, the available space is only suitable for the AirPods and it doesn’t quite fit a phone, but with the Apple Watch charging puck unplugged, there’s space for multiple smartphones.
Each of the two wireless charging spots offers a maximum of 10W of charging, or 7.5W for the iPhone, which is the fastest charging speed available. The Apple Watch charger is a 5W charger, while the USB-A port offers 12W of power. During testing, everything charged as it should.
I will say that with most of the flat chargers on the market, you do need to sometimes make sure the charger is in the correct position to make sure the iPhone is actually charging, and that was a problem that I ran into on the Drop XL. If it’s not positioned right, it’s not going to charge, and that can lead to some nasty surprises if you position the phone in the wrong way.
I also ran into some problems with the iPhone X and XS where the Drop XL said that it was charging but the phone received no power, but this only happened twice in weeks of testing and it was not an issue I saw with the newer iPhone 11 Pro. I suspect this was a self-caused positioning problem, but it’s something to keep an eye out for if you get this charger.
There’s a single charging cable and power adapter for the Drop XL, and it comes with different detachable plugs for different countries, so this is an ideal charger to pick up if you do a lot of traveling. The charging cable is a nice, high-quality braided cable, and it’s clear that no expense was spared when making the Drop XL.
If you’re more concerned about the look of a wireless charger than the price, the Drop XL Wireless Charger with Apple Watch charging puck is a charger option worth checking out.
It’s elegant and has a design that looks great in an upscale office or home environment, but it is expensive at $150 and it’s not going to be for everyone as there are other more affordable options on the market.
How to Buy
The Drop XL Wireless Charger Watch Edition can be purchased from the Native Union website for $150.
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