I’m not a fan of hyperbole, nor am I the type of reviewer who long ago ran out of new synonyms for the word “great.” In fact, I could count the number of truly stellar products I’ve tested in the past year on one or two hands. So when I say that Enblue Technology’s new Premium One W3 ($135, also sold in $65 W1 and $115 W2 forms) is the best stand I’ve yet seen for the Apple Watch, and quite possibly the best multi-Apple device stand I’ve ever tested, that isn’t idle gushing. Yes, the Premium One stands are expensive. No, they are not perfect. But having seen a lot of companies try and fail to do what this German developer has accomplished, I’m certainly very impressed.
Each Premium One stand uses nicely machined aluminum dotted with small plastic pads to hold and charge your Apple Watch. The entry-level W1 model is Watch-only, while the mid-range W2 holds a Watch and iPhone, and the top-of-line W3 is a Watch, iPhone, and iPad charging station — the most elegant multi-device charger I’ve seen since Apple introduced Lightning connectors. It’s ideal for minimalists, and amazingly, completely case-compatible. If the price doesn’t bother you, and you want to charge your Apple Watch along with other devices, this should be at or near the top of your shopping list…
As noted above, Enblue sells three main models of Premium One that increase in functionality and device support. The basic W1 model is a more metallic competitor to Mophie’s Watch Stand at a slightly higher price, sold in either all silver or all black. Like almost every other Apple Watch stand on the market, it doesn’t include a wall charger or the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable, which you supply yourself. But W2 adds a powered iPhone dock to W1, and includes both the Lightning connector and wall adapter you need. The top-of-line W3 shown above adds both iPhone and iPad docks, plus a four-port wall adapter with enough juice for all the devices. (Enblue also sells mahogany-accented versions of the silver W2 and W3 at $10-$20 premiums.) I was pleased to find that the W3 I tested was every bit as nice in person as the official photography: smooth edges, quality padding, a clean finish on the metal, and substantial in weight.
W3 measures roughly 5.9″ wide by 3.9″ deep by 3.8″ tall at its largest points — an elongated rounded rectangle with the Apple Watch dock on the right, iPhone dock on the left, and iPad dock in the back. It arrives mostly assembled, with Lightning plugs on top, cables dangling behind, and its four-port power supply ready to attach. Enblue’s supply promises 4.8A of total power, with any port capable of delivering up to 2.4A if the attached device demands it. Realistically, an iPad Air or mini, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch will collectively draw around 4.2A, making the supply more than sufficient for current-generation Apple devices.
The only area in which W3 fell short of perfection during my testing turned out to be a point of confusion caused by something unusual — there’s no instruction manual in the package to aid with installation of the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable. Initially, I thought I needed to detach the Apple Watch holder to install the Charging Cable, which would require a 3/32″ hex wrench that isn’t included in the package. But the holder’s left side hides a magnetically-sealed cable compartment, which has been designed to let you feed the entire cable (including the USB plug) directly through W3’s base. Enblue suggests that users should watch an online video before beginning the installation process; I personally think this wouldn’t be necessary if a tip card with two sentences on setup was included in the box. (Note: I updated this section shortly after the review was posted to include Enblue’s suggested installation and video-watching steps for the cable.)
W3 does include a 1/16″ hex wrench, which works solely to adjust the height of the Lightning plugs on the iPhone and iPad docks. They’re accessed by pulling out W3’s metal back-of-device supports, then loosening and tightening hex screws as you move each Lightning connector to the correct height. It’s hard to overstate the value of this particular feature, which differentiates the Premium One W2 and W3 from almost every other iPhone and iPad dock on the market. Adjustable Lightning connectors let you use pretty much any cases you want with these docks, so I was able to easily place thick and thin cases on W3. Flexibility and padding on each dock hit the right combination of support and tension, with pivoting bases adding the ability to tilt each iOS device forward for easy removal.
Enblue’s Apple Watch portion of the dock works perfectly, too. It can accommodate both plastic Sport and metal regular Charging Cables, and has a thin rubber ring around the charging puck to prevent metal-on-metal contact. For now, W3 works perfectly with Apple’s existing cables, though it isn’t designed to store any of the cables’ additional length in its base. The company also notes that W3 has been designed to work with the standalone Apple Watch charging pucks Apple will offer to developers in the near future.
To secure W3 to your nightstand or desk, Enblue uses two strips of microsuction padding on the bottom, which you can expose by pulling off clear plastic tabs. The weight of the base is substantial enough that W3 doesn’t move around much even if you leave the pads covered, but if you attach them to a flat surface, you can pull one of your devices off without even slightly disturbing the others. Functionally, the charging works just as expected, too: removing or adding one device doesn’t interrupt the flow of power to the others.
From my perspective, W3’s single biggest benefit is its elegance — it manages to charge and hold an iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch within a footprint that’s only slightly larger than the iPhone 6 Plus alone. That sort of space savings is rare, and unless you have a need to use your iPad in landscape mode while it’s charging, pretty close to ideal. Apple Watch users without iPads will find that the W2 achieves the same efficient two-device charging functionality at a lower price. Regardless of the model you prefer, if you’ve been wasting or cluttering up space with separate Apple Watch, iPhone, and/or iPad docks, and looking for a way to manage them all, the Premium One solutions are excellent options. I’m genuinely thrilled that Enblue figured out how to include so many user-requested features in such nice packages.
|Manufacturer: Enblue||Prices: $65 / $115 / $135||Compatibility: Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, iPod|