Twelve South ButterFly Test: the world’s smallest 2-in-1 MagSafe charger

Estimated read time 4 min read

Twelve South ButterFly Test: the world's smallest 2-in-1 MagSafe charger

It’s December, which, for a tech journalist, means it’s time to start preparing for CES week. While the biggest tech fair is just a few weeks away, I tested a gadget that could well be the perfect appetizer for your after-party-meal cravings.

This is the Twelve South ButterFly and it is one of the easiest to carry, best designed and smartest mobile accessories that I have tested lately. Here’s why this MagSafe 2-in-1 charger quickly slipped into my list of travel gadgets for the holidays.

Three points to remember for the Twelve South ButterFly charger

  • Twelve South, the manufacturer of Apple accessories the
    more high-end, is back with a 2-in-1 charging base.

  • The aptly named ButterFly unfolds to allow you to load
    two Qi/MagSafe compatible devices at the same time, at a power
    maximum of 15 W.

  • For a MagSafe charging pad, the price of $130 (without the fees
    of deliveries from the US) of the ButterFly is not given. But I think it
    well worth it.

The name of Twelve South’s latest accessory, “ButterFly”, is meaningless. When you separate the all-aluminum magnetic washers, they open to reveal a symmetrical design, connected by a vegetable leather band that seems durable. Once folded, I threw the macaroon-shaped charger into a backpack filled with cameras and other trinkets. I ran with it, even accidentally dropped it, and it has stood the test of time. A week, actually, to be exact.

From you to me, I expect the ButterFly to hold up for a long time to come. The aluminum manufacturing material is strong. The coating is also very adherent.

4 international plug adapters

The real test will take place when I’m at CES and I’m fighting for power outlets, seats in the conference rooms and Wi-Fi connection. This device will certainly be very useful when I inevitably have to give up one or two shots to other journalists.

Twelve South Butterfly MagSafe Charger

When opened, the left side is a MagSafe charging base and the right side can be used with an Apple Watch or AirPods. June Wan/ZDNET

The ButterFly is powered via USB-C (capped at an output power of 15 W), unlike Apple’s which uses Lightning. This is not trivial for me, because my two devices used on a daily basis at the moment are the OnePlus Open and the iPhone 15 Pro and they use the same cable standard. The Butterfly can quickly charge my Apple Watch Series 8 in addition. It would therefore be no wonder if I only carry one cable when traveling.

I also tip my hat to Twelve South for including not only a woven USB-C cable in the box, but also a carrying pouch, a 30 W charging block, and four international plug adapters. You won’t find these extras with competing wireless chargers.

Twelve South Butterfly MagSafe Charger International Plugs

June Wan/ZDNET

The butterfly effect plays thoroughly

Where the ButterFly becomes even more interesting is when you fold it upside down. Fold down and glue the two charging discs, place your iPhone horizontally and you get a portable docking station in StandBy mode (standby). Unfold the Apple Watch disc and you get a docking station in night mode. Pretty nice, isn’t it?

But there is a small catch. The magnet on the Apple Watch disc is barely strong enough to hold the device in an upright position, and I wish it had been stronger. Despite everything, my Watch Series 8 goes from zero to a full battery in just over an hour of charging. The iPhone takes a little longer, but this accessory is more of the “we put it on and forget it” type.

Don’t forget that I tested this accessory with a 45mm Watch Series 8. I imagine that a heavier and thicker Watch Ultra (or Watch Ultra 2) would easily slip out of the charger. Of course, you can always retract the charging disc and lay your watch flat, but given the price that this mobile accessory displays, you want to be able to take full advantage of all the design tricks, right?

ZDNET’s buying tips for the Twelve South ButterFly

Should you buy the Twelve South Butterfly or not? On the one hand, I know several fans who would shout “Take my money!”seeing how compact and efficient this wireless charging base is. On the other hand, the price may be too high, especially when similar accessories can be found easily on a platform such as Amazon.

But be careful, most of the alternatives are not certified for Apple’s fast charging technology and they are not made with sustainable materials, or both at the same time. If you want a multi-device charging base that is almost as thin as the AirPods Pro case and functional, this is the one I recommend.

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