Earlier this year at CES, I got the chance to stop by Bluelounge’s booth and discovered a product announced late last year that I hadn’t seen before, the Kosta Apple Watch Charging Coaster. What caught my attention is that it’s designed similarly to Apple’s Magnetic Charging Dock, but comes in three non-white colors including dark grey and costs $15 instead of $80. There are a few key differences to consider with Kosta compared to other Apple Watch docks …
The dark grey option really appeals to me and looks nice next to Apple’s charcoal gray iPad Pro Smart Cover and space gray Lightning Dock which I also keep on my bedside table. My primary dislike for Apple’s Magnetic Charging Stand is that it’s only available in white, which would stand out too much for my preferences and not fit in with my other gear. Both look similar, which a reader pointed out when Apple’s was introduced not longer after Bluelounge’s.
Kosta’s also reasonably priced at $14.95 versus Apple’s $79 Magnetic Charging Stand. Kosta is flexible silicone disc that resembles a cross between a cup coaster and a Tumbler lid while Apple’s looks a bit more like a pillow.
The biggest justification for the price difference is that Kosta requires you to bring your own Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable (the one Apple Watch comes with works) like most other third-party docks; Apple’s much pricier Magnetic Charging Stand features an integrated connector that powers over a Lightning cable, but spare Apple Watch chargers are only $30.
Setting up Kosta is super easy. Just pull the magnetic end of the charging cable through a slit on the bottom of the dock, then place it either flat or standing upright near the center which is magnetized to hold it in place. Underneath Kosta is a section to hide the cable underneath and cleanly run it away from the dock.
Similar to Apple’s official dock, Kosta docks Apple Watches with both open and closed bands so it’s not limited to supporting just certain models. It’s a mostly flat dock, however, so keep it mind that open straps will make contact with the surface under Kosta if that’s a concern.
Kosta’s centered magnet supports standing up the magnetic end of the charging cable in a way that lets you dock your Apple Watch with the strap closed as well. This is my preferred way to use it as it supports Apple Watch’s Nightstand mode that turns it into a mini-alarm clock. Kosta’s silicone material is soft, too, so there’s no concern about scuffing the watch’s side when clanking it down on a hard material.
In testing, I did find that Kosta and Nightstand mode requires a bit more effort than other solutions. For instance, I needed to adjust the connector, which does a pretty good job of staying fixed as long as it’s near the magnetic center, when I changed straps. Sport band worked well when centered, but Classic Buckle needed the connector to be moved forward a bit.
I also noticed that the connector needed to be raised just a tad on certain bands. Sport worked best, but Classic Buckle needed a little lift. I tested Kosta with the 42mm Apple Watch only, so the 38mm Apple Watch may have a slightly different experience, although there are no major issues that would rule out compatibility with any model or band.
Kosta does a great job of doing what Bluelounge does best: enhancing the cable management experience (I also use Bluelounge’s CableBox under my desk and CableDrops around the house). I prefer the color and price to Apple’s solution and find that it fits in nicely with my other bedside table accessories.
The Nightstand mode use isn’t quiet as convenient as Spigen’s similarly priced Night Stand Apple Watch dock, but Bluelounge’s Kosta looks more at home on a table which makes it a worthy contender for a low-cost solution that’s both functional and discreet. Highly recommended for $14.95 if Kosta fits your taste like it does mine.