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Twelve South ButterFly - Perhaps the Best-Designed Charger Yet

Glenn Hart,
Publish Date
Tue, 11 Jun 2024, 11:08am

Twelve South ButterFly - Perhaps the Best-Designed Charger Yet

Glenn Hart,
Publish Date
Tue, 11 Jun 2024, 11:08am

There's a trap tech reviewers like me get caught in every now and again - it's just a hazard of the job.

Sometimes I fall in love with a product that's been sent to me, before I've taken the time to find out how much it actually costs. Reviewing gadgets is the ultimate try-before-you-buy scenario. Ideally, I like to use something for at least two weeks in my real, everyday life before passing judgement on it and writing up my thoughts.

That's not something most "normal" customers get to do. You can't just roll on into your local store and say, "Hey, do you mind if I take this home for a fortnight before I decide to buy it? If it's good, I definitely (probably) will purchase it but if it's not really my thing, I'll try and shove it back in the box (more or less the way I found it) and you can sell it to someone else. Okay?"

Which means that if something seems a lot more expensive than it should be, it probably won't even get a second look. Not online and definitely not in a shop.

And so it goes I often get quite a long way down the track with my review before I discover what people (normal people) are expected to shell out for the device I now can't do without.

On the other hand, if the device is really that good, isn't it worth paying a premium?

The Twelve South ButterFly is worth its over-the-top price tag. It'll cost you around NZ$240.00 or thereabouts which is obviously kind of insane for a travel charger and I get that.

Except...what if it's the best charger you've ever used?

It's certainly the smallest - when the two are halves magnetise closed together the whole thing isn't much larger than an Oreo cookie - if that Oreo was made of anodised aluminium layered with vegan leather. Yes, despite its small size, the ButterFly - like all Twelve South accessories - certainly looks and feels like the premium product it is.

Oh sorry; did you want to know what it actually does? Fair enough - it's a 2-in-1 MagSafe charger - specifically designed for charging an iPhone with one half and an Apple Watch with the other. That being said, it will also charge your AirPods case too, or in fact any other phone or pair of earbuds that charges wirelessly. It's just better with MagSafe and only Apple products have that magic magnetic ring built in.

That's an oversimplification though, because this charger does more than just charge.

It's also a stand. In fact, it's two stands.

The first is the most obvious; the Apple Watch charger hinges up out of its half of the ButterFly to present your Watch (or Watch Ultra) in nightstand mode. What's more, because you can also magnetise the two halves together back-to-back, you can stack everything up to take up less space on your bedside table; place your iPhone face down, the charger sits on its back, then the Watch charger sits on top of both and you can then place your Apple Watch on top of everything else.

If you have no idea what I'm on about (and who could blame you?) just watch the video below and let me demonstrate.

The other way to use the ButterFly as a stand is to stack it back-to-back once more then simply lean your iPhone against it as pictured here. This lets you view your phone at an appropriate angle if you're in a video call or streaming something and it will also activate the relatively recent Standby-Mode when not in use - displaying a bedside clock, calendar, photo slideshow or whatever else you've set up.

Of course, whichever way you stack it, the main thing the ButterFly does is charge. And it does this at high capacity (well, high capacity for iPhone and Apple Watch anyway) thanks to the 30W charging brick which is included in the box. Yes, you read that right - unlike Apple's own MagSafe Duo travel charger, TwelveSouth not only throws in the power supply but also four easily swapped-out plug adapters for anywhere in the world you might be heading to. The power adapter is very compact - it'll nestle in beside any other plugs on a multiboard, no problem. And it can't be overstated how crucial it is to have the right power source to plug your charger into. Many USB adapters only supply 5W or 9W which simply isn't enough to juice a double charger like this.

There's even a little drawstring travel bag to pop it all into.

So, as always, Twelve South has pushed the design curve to its extreme. This is the most compact dual-charger I've ever come across. It looks fantastic, feels very durable and as I've outlined, it's amazingly versatile given its small form factor. Is it worth almost two-hundred and forty bucks? If it's the best there is... maybe so.





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