Compact wireless charger juices all your Apple devices at once [Review]
Anyone packing iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods doesn’t have to deal with charging them separately. The Native Union Drop XL Wireless Charger (Watch Edition) can handle all three of these at once. And it won‘t take up much room on your nightstand.
I tested this multidevice wireless charger from a top-notch brand in my daily use to see if it lived up to its promises.
Native Union Drop XL Wireless Charger (Watch Edition) review
The Native Union Drop XL wirelessly charges a pair of Apple devices. Then the company added a removable Apple Watch charger to the mix, creating the Watch Edition.
iPhone charging mat
The base of this accessory is a mat that measures 5.77 inches by 3.5 inches oval. This can send power to two iPhones, or other gadgets that support wireless charging. Just drop an iPhone 8 or newer, or other compatible device, on one side of the mat and power will start flowing with no need to plug in a cable.
Despite its name, the Drop XL is small for what it does — put a pair of iPhones on it and you can‘t see the mat at all. That’s a nice feature on a crowded nightstand.
The top is covered with a silicone material in a crosshatch pattern that works well at preventing an iPhone from sliding around.
Native Union makes high-quality products, and the aluminum casing for this charger is solid enough to completely resist my efforts to bend or twist it.
Apple Watch charger
The Apple Watch charger Native Union added to this product plugs into a USB-A port that’s on the back right edge of the Drop XL. This holds the Apple Watch upright so it’s easier to see when you want to know what time it is in the middle of the night.
The downside of this Watch charger is it prevents a second iPhone from being charged on the mat at the same time. There’s just not space. There is, however, room for the AirPods wireless charging case.
Remove the Apple Watch charger and its USB-A port can be used to plug in the cable from another gadget. Or this Watch charger works fine on its own. Plug it onto any USB-A port to top off your wearable.
The Drop XL Wireless Charger (Watch Edition) gets its power through a cable that plugs into the rear. It uses a single DC prong, not USB. The cable is over 8 feet long, letting you put the charger a long distance from a wall plug. And the cable itself is cloth-wrapped, not cheap plastic.
The power converter on the far end of the cable is large enough that you might not want to travel with this charger. But if you do, Native Union includes plugs for the U.S., Europe and Great Britain in the box.
The Native Union Drop XL by itself has plenty of room for two iPhones, but the Apple Watch charger leaves room for only one.
Native Union Drop XL Wireless Charger (Watch Edition) performance
The charging mat can transfer up to 10 watts of power. iPhones top out at 7.5 watts, however. In my tests, the Drop XL Wireless Charger was able to give a 6.1-inch iPhone 11 a 31% charge in an hour. That’s typical — based on previous tests with a range of other chargers, a 1% increase in this handset’s battery level every two minutes is standard.
That’s not very fast when compared to high-wattage non-wireless chargers on the market. But you won‘t find a wireless charger that replenishes your iPhone any faster.
Native Union’s Apple Watch charger add-on powers up the smartwatch at the same rates as the charger Apple supplies. I tested it with an Apple Watch Series 2 to confirm this.
Native Union Drop XL Wireless Charger (Watch Edition) final thoughts
Don’t fool around with wires to recharge your iPhone every night. Just drop it on a charging mat and it’ll be ready for you in the morning.
And you can replenish your Apple Watch at the same time. That frees up the charger that came with the wearable to be used in your office. Or maybe put it in your suitcase so it’s ready for your next trip.
The only downside is it powers iPhones kind of slowly. But the same is true of all wireless chargers.
The suggested retail price of Native Union Drop XL Wireless Charger (Watch Edition) is $149.99.
Buy from: Amazon
Alternatively, the Drop XL is available on its own, without the Apple Watch charger. The suggested price for this version is $129.99. It’s also available on Amazon.
One of the best direct competitors for this multidevice charger is the Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad. It also can handle an iPhone and Apple Watch, but is limited to the original AirPods. It costs $139.95.
Or there’s the Zens Dual+Watch. It can replenish two iPhones and an Apple Watch. The price is $116.
Families that have a wide array of devices can turn to the Scosche BaseLynx Modular Charging System. Chargers for iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Macs are sold separately, but then combine into a single unit. Prices range from $39.95 to $69.95.
Native Union provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.