Iâ€™ve tried a couple of Grovemade products before, and they tend to have three things in common: they use natural materials like wood and leather; they are beautiful; and they are expensive. The Grovemade MagSafe Stand ticks all three boxes â€“ though the â€˜expensiveâ€™ element is partly Appleâ€™s fault this time.
Iâ€™ve said in the past that I prefer charging stands to charging pads. Whether itâ€™s on my desk, beside the sofa or beside the bed, it makes more sense for me to have my phone upright, where I can see the screen, rather than flat on the surface, where I canâ€™t. For that reason, Appleâ€™s MagSafe charger didnâ€™t interest me â€“ until now â€¦
The Grovemade MagSafe Stand is rather carefully named. Youâ€™ll note that it doesnâ€™t claim to be a charging stand, and thatâ€™s because it isnâ€™t, until you insert Appleâ€™s MagSafe charger.
I normally discuss price and value at the end, but in this case I think we have to do so up-front.
The photos in the middle, above, show you what you get for your $120: a very heavy chunk of solid steel as the base, to stop it moving when you attach and detach your phone, and an upright piece made of a mix of wood, leather and stainless steel.
To use it, you need to buy Appleâ€™s MagSafe charger, for another $39. And, of course, you canâ€™t use that without a suitable power brick. Stick to Apple for that, and youâ€™re looking at another $19.
All-in, then, this is going to cost you $178, which is one heck of a price for a charging stand, considering that the charging stands Iâ€™ve been using so far come in at $15 each.
Is it worth it? Well, letâ€™s look at what you get â€¦
Look and feel
The stand is a little over 5 inches high by 4 inches wide by 4 inches deep. It weighs a very hefty 2.9 pounds.
Itâ€™s available in two versions: dark and light. The dark version is made from American Black Walnut, black leather and black steel. The light version is Eastern Hard Rock Maple, tan leather and silver steel. I tested the dark model.
Itâ€™s beautifully made. The wood is gorgeous, and it is perfectly finished: Silky smooth to the touch.
The base is super heavy. There is not the slightest change this thing is going to move unless you want it to. The base also has built-in cable management, so the cable emerges neatly from the rear. (In my case, my desk has a hole for a charging cable, so it disappears immediately out of sight.)
This thing looks and feels expensive, and looks great on my desk.
The MagSafe charger fits perfectly into the slot on the front of the stand, and attaches to a micro-suction pad. That holds it very securely, but does allow for removal and replacement: you just dampen the pad to make it sticky again, and thereâ€™s no residue left on the charging pad itself.
I have the largest iPhone 12, the Pro Max, and it too is rock-solid when you place it on the stand. You can lift if off one-handed without the stand moving a millimetre.
Oh, and you can position the phone in landscape orientation if you want to â€“ though that doesnâ€™t look as neat.
Is it worth it?
This is the million dollar question â€“ or the $178 one, anyway.
I mean, I love it. When my phone isnâ€™t sitting on it, it looks infinitely better than the plastic stand I was using before. I would love to have another couple of them to replace my other stands.
But â€¦ the charging stand is only empty when Iâ€™m not sat at my desk. And thatâ€™s true of all my charging stands: what I see when Iâ€™m looking at them is my phone.
Much as itâ€™s a beautiful piece of work, and I donâ€™t think what Grovemade is charging is unreasonable given the cost of the materials and the craftsmanship, the overall cost for one charging stand is a very tough sell. Most of us have more than one: I have three, so the all-in cost would be more than $500! Thatâ€™s just insane.
If you have an iPhone 12 owner who you love a lot, and who loves wood and beautiful things, then it would make an amazing gift. But I donâ€™t see too many iPhone owners laying out the cash for a set of these.
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