Review: The AirUnleashed Wireless Charger Charges iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods All at Once

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple wanted to make a wireless charger, the AirPower, that could charge the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at once no matter where the devices were placed on the charger, but ultimately, the idea didn't work out and the AirPower was shelved.

That's led multiple companies to come out with AirPower-style charging accessories that are able to provide power to multiple devices at once, and the AirUnleashed is one such product.


Priced at $99, the AirUnleashed promises to charge the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at the same time with a single oval-shaped wireless charging mat. The catch is that the devices need to be placed in specific spots on the charger rather than anywhere.


Design wise, the AirUnleashed is a simple flat wireless charging mat with a suede-like microfiber coating. Two "+" icons let you know where to place the iPhone and the AirPods, while the indentation at towards the middle right lets you know where the watch needs to go.


The Apple Watch needs to be specifically placed in this spot because the Apple Watch uses a magnetic inductive charger (underneath the mat's surface) and is not able to charge via Qi wireless charging. The larger charging spot on the left side of the mat is designed for the iPhone, and the smaller charging spot is meant for AirPods.

The AirUnleashed has a design that's reminiscent of the AirPower. In fact, it straight up copies the AirPower's design, which would have been an issue had the AirPower ever launched. It's a fine design -- Apple came up with it after all -- and it doesn't take up too much room on a desk.

Flat charging like this is fine for the AirPods and the iPhone, but when it comes to the Apple Watch, it's not great with the loop-style bands. With my Sport Loop, for example, I can't use this charger without taking the band off or twisting it out of the way, which is a hassle compared to other watch charging options better suited to loop bands.


I didn't have issues getting any of my devices to charge, but aligning everything properly sometimes required more attention than I generally prefer to give to a wireless charger. I also imagine it could be finicky to use in the dark.

The charging coil on the on the left of the device is 7.5W, so it can charge your iPhone at full speeds, and the charging coil on the right is 5W, so it can charge the AirPods at full speed or an iPhone at a slower speed. The Apple Watch charger is 2W.

You'd probably expect the AirUnleashed to be able to charge all three devices at their maximum charging speeds at one time given that it's meant to be a three device charger, but there's a catch. The maximum wireless output of the AirUnleashed is 11.27W because of a 75 percent conversion rate, so with three devices on the charger, it's not going to charge them at the full power they're capable of receiving.


My iPhone X charged from 0 to 41 percent over the course of an hour when it was the only device on the charger, but with AirPods and an Apple Watch also charging at the same time, that dropped down to 37 percent over the course of an hour. It's not a huge difference, but this isn't going to be a charger you'll want to grab when in a time crunch.

The slower charging speed is fine over the course of a day if you've got it on your desk, or at night. If you have a Samsung phone or another device that can charge at 10W, the AirUnleashed's right side charger does support 10W charging, though the same caveats with charging speed and multiple devices apply. The AirUnleashed is unfortunately not great for charging two smartphones at once because of space constraints when the Apple Watch is charging and because of the speed limitations.


It's worth noting that the AirUnleashed needs to be powered with a QC 2.0 or higher charger with an output of 10W, which it does not ship with, so that's something you'll need to buy if you don't have one already.

Bottom Line

Despite the name, the AirUnleashed is no true AirPower alternative given the fact that devices need to be placed in specific spots for charging, but this kind of solution is the best multi-device charging option we're going to get since the AirPower failed.

I think $99 is a lot to pay for a 7.5W charger, a 5W charger, and an Apple Watch charger in a device that doesn't have the capabilities to charge all three products at maximum speeds at once, but for those who don't mind slightly slower charging, like the now-defunct AirPower's design, and want the convenience of having an all-in-one charging setup, the AirUnleashed may be an appealing wireless charging option.

How to Buy

The AirUnleashed can be purchased from the AirUnleashed website for $99.

Note: AirUnleashed provided MacRumors with an AirUnleashed Charger for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Article Link: Review: The AirUnleashed Wireless Charger Charges iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods All at Once
 

riverfreak

macrumors 65816
Jan 10, 2005
1,315
1,409
Thonglor, Bangkok
This is so purpose driven, why not just make small indentations for the Airpods too? Then you’d have a very positive confirmation that you knew you had them in the right place on the mat.

Still boggles the mind that Apple doesn’t offer any sort of wireless charger.
 
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bigjnyc

macrumors 603
Apr 10, 2008
6,339
3,419
I guess this is why Apple was being stubborn about releasing the Airpower as a device where you can place things anywhere or no device at all.... they didn't want something that would be cumbersome, I can dig it.
 

H3LL5P4WN

macrumors 68020
Jun 19, 2010
2,275
2,286
Pittsburgh PA
Despite the name, the AirUnleashed is no true AirPower alternative given the fact that devices need to be placed in specific spots for charging, but this kind of solution is the best multi-device charging option we're going to get since the AirPower failed.
Ahem, Slice Charge anyone?
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/slicecharge-the-1st-6-coils-wireless-charging-mat/x/3136770
[doublepost=1561578873][/doublepost]
I’ve purchased two of these units. They don’t really work well. I had to replace my wireless AirPod case because it caused damage to it.

I wouldn’t recommend this if you value your expensive Apple products.
Oh snap. Good to know.
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,569
14,062
Central U.S.
The Apple Watch needs to be specifically placed in this spot because the Apple Watch uses a magnetic inductive charger (underneath the mat's surface) and is not able to charge via Qi wireless charging.
I could have swore back when Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 3 that they would be compatible with Qi charging? And yet I’ve not been able to get it to work with my chargers.
 

roar08

macrumors regular
Apr 25, 2008
167
279
I have the Nomad wireless charging mat and it works great. And I can charge my Apple Watch regardless of which band I'm using. If you have a sport loop or stainless band, you're going to have to remove it to use this product -- very shortsighted.
[doublepost=1561583344][/doublepost]
You say it’s a fine design, but it won’t work with the loop watch bands - one of the default Apple bands.
This.
 
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Kabeyun

macrumors 68020
Mar 27, 2004
2,291
3,908
Eastern USA
Not satisfactory for me. First, I have the Link watch band with the butterfly closure, and my watch must be suspended to charge, can’t lay flat. Second, I use my iPhone as an alarm clock, and wireless chargers that don’t prop up the phone are useless. I can only find the right triple charger in CCC form (cheap Chinese crap). :(
 

nekonokami

macrumors member
Jan 20, 2011
51
35
That looks like someone decided to run with the AirPower design though it was dropped by Apple due to not working properly.
 

MrGuder

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2012
2,698
1,644
Apple probably has a patent on 3rd party devices being able to retain full charge rate like original OEM chargers. Why buy a power mat that charges at a less rate.
 

4k78

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2016
91
20
I have the Nomad wireless charging mat and it works great. And I can charge my Apple Watch regardless of which band I'm using. If you have a sport loop or stainless band, you're going to have to remove it to use this product -- very shortsighted.
[doublepost=1561583344][/doublepost]

This.
I have the Nomad watch edition charger as well. First wireless charging product. Works great with my S4 watch and XS Max. I can squeeze my wife’s 8 as well but it’s a little tight.
 

zzLZHzz

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2012
277
71
I would rather plug all my devices in than have to be so precise with placement, and have them charge so slowly. Not a delightful experience!
This is exactly why Apple hasn't release their version of wireless charger.
 

sidewinder3000

macrumors 6502a
Jan 29, 2010
910
981
Chicagoland
I really hope that secretly, behind closed white doors, Apple is still working to fix the problems with AirPower and that it will emerge some day fully formed, just as originally envisioned.
 

TheIntruder

macrumors 65816
Jul 2, 2008
1,012
549
It's worth noting that the AirUnleashed needs to be powered with a QC 2.0 or higher charger with an output of 10W, which it does not ship with, so that's something you'll need to buy if you don't have one already.
Jokes about hygiene products aside, aesthetic design is highly subjective; some will like a rounded white mat, some won't.

But this review alludes to the technical design failure of this product, and the value proposition is also weak as well, considering the price, and the optional QC wall adapter.

A typical wireless charger designed for a single device, typically supporting the 5W/7.5W/10W out profiles, calls for a 10-12W wall adapter minimum, to charge at the 5W profile. To support the 7.5W and 10W profiles, an 18W QC adapter is required. (contrary to the quote, QC3's claim to fame is that it's capable of >15W, with voltages greater than the USB standard 5V, with a max output of 18W)

This product, which supports charging three devices, has the same input specs (15W) as those that support only a single device. Simultaneously charging all three devices was never going to be a speedy proposition when using the same level of input power that most single device chargers employ.

The ~$100+ multiple device chargers from the Belkins and Nomads of the world don't have this compromise, and come bundled with comparatively beefy power supplies to properly handle the load that multiple devices require. The fancy Belkin Boost Up dual charger sold in Apple stores includes a 45W adapter (UL-listed at that).

The failure here isn't due to Apple knee-capping others' products in favor of its own non-existent wireless solution, nor a similar challenge Apple faced in solving the problem of managing freely-placed, multi-device charging (which nobody else has cracked at this point).

It's a basic design failure, and at the asking price, almost unforgivable, even more so given the fact that it also lacks the Qi-certification that many $15 wireless chargers on Amazon do carry.
 

danniexi

macrumors 6502
Jan 7, 2012
344
251
if anyone is actually serious about buying this, take a look at these and save some money...

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