There is now a pretty good selection of charging docks for the Apple Watch. Some provide a place on the base plate to rest a charging iPhone, but the Belkin Charge Dock for Apple Watch + iPhone, hereafter called the Belkin Charge Dock, goes one step farther and provides a vertical support and Lightning connector for the iPhone in addition to a pre-installed Apple Watch charge disk. The design introduces compromises which I'll explain.
Belkin Charge Dock for Apple Watch + iPhone
The Basic Idea
The goal with this charge dock is to allow your Apple Watch and iPhone to charge, side by side, at the same time. In addition to a vertical support and an adjustable height Lightning connector, there is a built-in magnetic charger disk. It complies with the "Made for Apple Watch" certification. Also, it's all pre-assembled out of the box.
The Lightning connector's vertical height is adjustable with a knurled knob in the back so that no matter which case you have on your iPhone, it will rest properly and make a good electrical connection.
The fact that the magnetic charger disk preinstalled solves a major problem associated with most charging docks, namely, removing the disk and cable for travel. Many competing products require the cable to make sharp, stressful turns as it winds through an arm or gutter.
The power cable that terminates in a black power brick is a pleasing 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) long. It is permanently affixed to the base unit. The power brick weighs 4.1 ounces (117 grams) is is about 3 inches (76 mm) long. The bottom of the base has a soft, non-scratch pad. Included is a plastic support that snaps on to the disk section and allows one to wap the watch's wrist band about it in a tidy way.
With this product, you have a permanent, good looking charge dock that can stay at home and charge both devices overnight. The magnetic charge disk that came with the Apple Watch is now freed up for travel. However, because the Belkin's charger disk is fixed in place and the cable runs inside the chrome support arm down to the base, all internally, your two charger disks are not interchangeable in the event of a failure of one.
All this seems rather nifty. On the surface.
While this charge dock is handsome (aluminum and chrome) and pleasingly hefty at 17.6 ounces (498 grams), it also entails some compromises.
1. This charge dock is not designed for watchOS 2.x Nightstand Mode. However, I found that one can still cast the Watch into Night Stand mode by leaving the strap unbuckled as shown below. However, this gets in the way of the iPhone.
2. The presentation angle is fixed.
3. If the charger disk or internal wiring or Lightning connector fails, a total unit replacement is required. The good news is that Belkin's warranty on this product is two years (not stated on the website), and there's a 90 day return policy.
4. The design assumption seems to be that the place where you want to charge your iPhone is the same as where you want to charge your Apple Watch. That may not always be the case.
5. The initial outlay is a hefty US$130 which means that the user should have a specific need for all the hardware included.
This dock solves several problems, but also introduces limits in terms of the fixed presentation angle, fixed charge disk and non-accessible internal cable, and awkwardness when using Nightstand mode.
On the plus side, it is a well engineered, handsome dock with pleasing heft. It's the only Apple Watch charge dock that carries the "Made for Apple Watch" certification. It includes a lot of hardware that one would ordinarily have to purchase separately. As such, it's very suitable for the traveler who tends to keep a USB power brick, USB to Lightning cable and Apple Watch charger disk in a go bag and wants a permanent set up at home with a pleasant presentation.
Here's a summary of all the other Apple Watch charging docks we've reviewed.