Could you imagine writing a review on a lamp? Or perhaps the lightbulb within the lamp? It would be tricky, to say the least—not because it’s not easy to assess whether or not the thing is doing its job, rather, because the job itself is a simple one that doesn’t come with a lot of excitement. So this review will be a little different—it will be a little less about the function, and more about the form.
Phone accessories are a dime a dozen. Big box stores lose business regularly to online retailers offering similar, less expensive (but non-name brand) products. And although it’s still relatively new (when compared to the iPhone, nearing it’s tenth year since release), the Apple Watch also has a fair share of third-party accessories that are becoming less and less expensive.
So why spend the extra money on the Belkin PowerHouse? Well, I stand by the brand…Belkin has been around for awhile, I’ve not had major issues with any of their stuff, and they tend to have a good selection of products. For instance, Belkin offers iPhone-only and Watch-only charging docks if you decide the full functionality of the PowerHouse is more than you need.
But other than that, the brand-name experience and the price tag of the Belkin PowerHouse may be hard to justify. There are certainly less-expensive options out there, and if you like how they look, save yourself the money, because again, if you’re buying a lamp, the physical appearance is the more important deciding factor given identical function.
So let’s talk about the function of the Belkin PowerHouse briefly; there are a couple of nice touches that increase the value of this product:
For starters, it has a tilting iPhone charging interface. I’ve had a handful of iPhone charging docks over the years, and invariably there is damage done to your iPhone connector or the charging connector because your two-year-old decided to see how far it can bend. On the Belkin PowerHouse, there is a tilting connector that helps to minimize the damage done there. This may have become standard fare for iPhone docks, but it’s been a few years since I’ve owned one.
Its iPhone charging interface is also height-adjustable. There is a small wheel on the back of the dock that allows you to adjust the height of the connector that interfaces with your phone—so provided the connector’s casing is not too large for your phone case, you can increase the “reach” of the connector to allow for iPhone cases with thicker bottoms.
On the flip side, though, there is at least one place where this product could be improved. For the amount of detail and attention given to the functionality of the iPhone connection, I’m surprised to see the sort of “dangling watch” setup that the Belkin PowerHouse uses. One of my absolute favorite non-major features of the Apple Watch is night-charging it on its side reveals a nightstand-esque display of the time. The “dangling watch” setup doesn’t allow for this feature to be used, and so the charging area for the Apple Watch is very much a uni-tasker. This is certainly not a deal breaker, but it would have been nice to not exclude one of Apple Watch’s features in the deployment of this product.
Other than that, it is a very tidy and nice-looking, minimalist stand. It has a single power adapter, so it allows you to free up an outlet in your home, as well as use your existing iPhone and Apple Watch charging cables for spares—we all know how valuable those cables can be.
This is definitely something you’ll want to pass on if you don’t own an Apple Watch or don’t think you’ll ever get one…that would be an incredible waste of your money. But, if you are an iPhone user and have an Apple Watch, this is a relatively pricey but well-presented product. If you are an Apple fan, you’re used to paying top dollar for your toys. If you are an Apple Watch owner, you have given up hope entirely of an inexpensive product. So, why not add $100 to those already insane iPhone and Apple Watch price tags and get something that looks good on your nightstand or dresser?
It’s also mostly white, which I prefer, but the color may be a deal breaker for some. Color options would also be a nice thing for Belkin to offer.
As they say, the time is nigh. Apple’s lightning connector likely isn’t going anywhere, and although we’re potentially a couple weeks away from the next release of iPhone and Watch, the Belkin PowerHouse should serve you well for many years. I would be shocked to see Apple change the charging mechanism on their second generation Watch.
If the price tag isn’t an issue, I would recommend the Belkin PowerHouse—but it doesn’t give you something you don’t already have when you buy an iPhone and Apple Watch…it just packages things you already have nicely, while allowing you some spare cables for backup or travel.
But let’s be honest…you’ve justified the price tag of everything else, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.