Spigen already created one of the most minimal and affordable Apple Watch charging stands with the Apple Watch Stand S330 — a design that fits right in next to an iMac, and works with both open and closed bands. But then Apple announced watchOS 2 and Nightstand Mode, which will will turn the Apple Watch into a proper alarm clock during charging, but only when it’s positioned on its side with the Digital Crown and side button facing up. Spigen’s new Apple Watch Night Stand S350 ($20) offers an even more minimal design with Nightstand Mode support, and an especially budget-friendly price. Check out my impressions below…
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Spigen’s Apple Watch Night Stand S350 ships in a very small 7mm tall by 6mm wide by 6mm deep package, containing both the dock and a silicone pad for added compatibility with smaller watches. The whole dock is really a small nub of plastic, shaped only to hold Apple Watch and its charging cable without attempting to make any strong design statements. Although it doesn’t collapse from its “L” shape like Pad & Quill’s Apple Watch stands (review), S350 can be carried in large pockets or easily tossed in small bags.
Measuring 4.5cm wide by 5.5cm deep and 5cm tall on its own, S350 is rather unnoticeable when presented without Apple Watch — save for the lack of cable management — which may be appealing to anyone who finds larger docks like Twelve South’s HiRise charging stand (review) too stubby on its own.
Personally, I appreciate how generally compact S350 is versus other solutions. I tested S350 with both Apple’s open Sport band and closed Milanese Loop, finding that the stand was raised enough to keep both bands from rubbing the surface of a table. Spigen supplies the optional silicone pad to line the groove where Apple Watch rests for better compatibility with 38mm Apple Watches. The extra padding is also compatible with the larger 42mm models if you want to put a layer between the plastic stand and your metal watch, although Spigen warns against using both a case and the silicone insert.
Beneath S350 is a rubbery footing that Spigen calls a Nanotec pad. While it’s not completely sticky or covered by messy adhesive, it does offer friction and even attaches like a suction cup to the surface underneath, similar in grip to a car GPS suction mount. This effectively keeps the stand from moving when you place or remove Apple Watch.
Just like every Apple Watch charging stand we’ve seen so far, S350 requires you to supply your own Magnetic Charging Cable. I tested it with the metal cable that Apple sells separately and supplies with stainless steel Apple Watches and found no issues. With its compact and basic design, S350 doesn’t attempt to tackle any sort of cable management, however, so you’re left to your own devices if you want to hide the lengthy cable that runs from the back side of the stand.
For my own daily use, I’m quite satisfied by what Spigen is able to offer at a budget-friendly price. Apple Watch docks that offer impressive cable management and look like fine objects on their own are available at higher price points, but Spigen’s Apple Watch Night Stand S350 offers Nightstand Mode support in a simple and compact dock.
You are restricted to this alarm clock mode when charging with S350, so vertical options such as Spigen’s S330 may be more ideal if you plan on using Apple Watch apps while it’s charging, so long as you don’t care about Nightstand Mode. In my own use, I’ve found the convenience of using a dock more valuable than using Nightstand Mode without a dock; it’s simply easier for me to drop and charge the Watch than it is to connect the cable each time. S350 offers the best of both worlds.
S350 doesn’t offer much in terms of looks or cable management as it’s less focused on displaying your Watch and more on utility. For $19.99 ($11.99 street price) it’s an easy recommendation for satisfying dock + Nightstand Mode fans. For Apple Watch case fans, Spigen’s Rugged Armor case ships with S350 for $22 via 9to5Toys.
|Manufacturer: Spigen||MSRP/Sale Prices: $19.99 / $11.99 (Amazon)||Compatibility: Apple Watch|