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Intelli StepUp Charging Station review: Retractable charging gimmick spoils a good charger

48008 93846 Intelli StepUp desk xl


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The Intelli StepUp Charging Station tries to stand out from the multitude of 3-in-1 chargers with impractical charging pads.

There are a few aspects to love about the Intelli StepUp, from its dark aluminum finish to its 15W MagSafe charging. However, the 3-in-1 charger has a convertible gimmick that introduces more problems than it does. solves it.

The MagSafe charger is front and center, with a dedicated AirPods Qi charger and an Apple Watch charger built into the base. When everything is set to charge, it displays your products smartly, with screens displaying charging information and notifications at a good viewing angle.

Design of the Intelli StepUp charging station

The mount has a soft brushed aluminum outer shell with plastic parts around the chargers and a rubber base. It’s incredibly light, but maybe too light considering it uses magnets to hold the iPhone in place.

Glossy plastic lid on top isn't ideal

Glossy plastic lid on top isn’t ideal

The MagSafe charger section is covered with a glossy plastic material that can easily collect fingerprints. When an iPhone isn’t on the charger, plastic is oddly distracting in the way it catches and reflects light.

There are two chargers hidden in the stand for AirPods and an Apple Watch.

The base has a blue LED that lights up when charging begins

The base has a blue LED that lights up when charging begins

These charging pads are hard plastic and do not fit snugly into their slots. You can easily wiggle the pads around as if they weren’t fully seated.

Overall, the build doesn’t feel as premium as other desktop chargers in its price range like those made by Satechi or Nomad. The materials, weight, and rickety design might be excusable just for the 15W MagSafe charger, but its price tag is steep considering the material design.

Specifications

  • MagSafe Charger for iPhone — 15W
  • Apple Watch Charger — 2.5W
  • AirPods Charger — 5W
    • Using the Intelli StepUp Charging Station

      We like the 40-degree angle the iPhone sits at while charging via MagSafe. It uses MagSafe’s full 15W wireless charging capability, and it even shows the charging animation played when using certified Apple MagSafe charging pucks.

      Pushing the charging pads makes the stand take up a little less space
      Pushing the charging pads makes the stand take up a little less space

      Since there is no ledge or support structure, you can rotate the iPhone freely on the MagSafe charger. So you can turn the iPhone into landscape mode to watch a video while it’s charging. The Apple Watch is also displayed on the stand at a decent angle. Tapping somewhere on the desk close enough to wake the Apple Watch gives us a clear view of the charge level and time. The way the iPhone and accessories are displayed on the charging station is nice and looks great on our desk. However, the large Intelli logo on the front might be an eyesore for some who prefer not to see heavy branding on their accessories. If it were a more competitively priced stationary charger for its build, it would make a great desktop charger. However, a few general usability issues make it a worse overall experience.

      iPhone sits at a 40 degree angle
      iPhone sits at a 40 degree angle

      The charging station is too light. You will get the entire charger back if you try to remove your iPhone from the MagSafe charger without applying pressure to the base. However, there is a trick in that the iPhone can just slip if you pull it a certain way, but it’s not ideal. Pop-out chargers for the AirPods and Apple Watch also pop out of the charger in several ways. We’ve already mentioned that the construction isn’t great around the pads, but the experience of using the release mechanisms is also lacking. Pressing on one of the charging pads to release it from the mount detaches from a spring mechanism that holds it. You then need to grab the block and pull it out until it locks in the open position. However, the tampon barely pops out in the first place, requiring you to pinch a tiny bit of plastic to begin removing the tampon. While we wouldn’t expect the pad to pop out into a fully locked and open position, we would like it to at least pop out enough that there’s something to grab onto. Again, the lightweight base means the entire stand moves as you press and pull the pad.

      Should you buy the Intelli StepUp charging station?


      We don't know what problem retractable loaders are trying to solve
      We don’t know what problem retractable loaders are trying to solve

      There are many 3-in-1 charging stations with built-in magnetic iPhone charger, Apple Watch charger and AirPods charger. The Intelli StepUp’s only redeeming factor is that it has 15W MagSafe charging, while other chargers in its price range often only have 7.5W. We’re not sure exactly which problem Intelli is trying to solve with hidden charging pads sticking out of the base. It’s not exactly a travel-friendly charger, and it doesn’t save much desk space with the hidden pads. Maybe if the charging station was made of solid aluminum, with aluminum charging pads that do not move, and the whole thing was much heavier, we would be more interested in this charger. However, we cannot recommend the Intelli StepUp Charging Station to anyone unless they find it the cheapest way to get a 15W MagSafe 3-in-1 charger.

      Advantages


      • 15W MagSafe charging
      • Good viewing angle
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The inconvenients

  • Too light
  • The construction does not seem solid
  • Glossy iPhone Charging Pad with Fingerprint Magnet
  • The sliding skate gadget seems to be useless

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Or buy

Buy the Intelli StepUp Charging Station from Intelli’s website for $119.99.

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