First look: Antsy Labs' Duet Apple Watch and iPhone charging dock

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited May 2015
With no Apple branded Apple Watch charging dock available at launch, third-party accessory makers have stepped in to produce a sea of products ranging from integrated Watch/iPhone stands to standalone pedestals. Antsy Labs' Duet splits the difference, offering owners a solution for charging their devices devices side-by-side or separately.




After spending a few days with a prototype Duet, which as of press time has nearly reached its $25,000 Kickstarter funding goal, we came away impressed with the design's concept and, more importantly, execution.

As its name implies, Duet serves as a stand and charging station for Apple Watch and its partner iPhone. Unlike other attempts, however, Antsy's design comes with two discrete stands -- one for Watch and another for iPhone -- capable of attaching via magnet to form a single unit. Users can charge both devices at once, for example on a nightstand, or relocate one section for use at a desk or another area of the house.




The iPhone dock is a simple, sturdy cradle crafted from solid aluminum, affording a heft that allows for one-handed device removal. While Apple's proprietary Lightning connector is not as troublesome to disengage as the old 30-pin design, docks still need bit of weight if users want a grab-and-go solution. A generous cutout fits the latest iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and iPhone 5 series handsets, with room to spare for most protective cases.




Duet's Apple Watch pedestal is also made of aluminum, but comes in much lighter than its iPhone counterpart due in part to cable routing channels cut into the frame. The lightweight design is not a serious issue since Watch's inductive charger employs a relatively weak magnetic attachment mechanism, but there is a question of stability. Owners of stainless steel Apple Watch models should be careful when the pedestal is not paired with its accompanying iPhone dock, as the stand can become top heavy.




To minimize accidental falls, Duet comes with nano suction pads installed on the bottom of both dock sections. In our tests the sticky material held up well to small tugs, though use in areas with heavy foot traffic is not recommended as passersby can easily get tripped up in the long charging cable. As with other Watch docks, users have to supply their own Watch charger.

Duet's coupling system works as advertised, with embedded magnets directing the pedestal to mount at a specific position on the iPhone dock.

We did notice during testing that Duet's Apple Watch pedestal forces the power cable to bend at extreme angles, leaving minor dents in its rubberized sheathing. Antsy Labs informed us that production versions will come with wider diameter cable channel cutouts that should solve this issue and make for easier installation of the inductive head unit.




Assuming a successful Kickstarter campaign, Duet will cost $79 and come in silver, Space Gray or gold finishes to match Apple's hardware color schemes. Pricing tiers are also available for multi-unit and bulk purchases. Duet is expected to ship out in July.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    vfx2k4vfx2k4 Posts: 43member
    People still don't give enough credit to Apple for their design taste. This is precisely the opposite...
  • Reply 2 of 18
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    I understand why the watch stand is shaped like a C versus a ]. Most people grab the watch with their right hand to strap it on their left wrist. But shouldn't the watch stand then go to the right of the dock, so your phone doesn't get in the way of your grabbing hand?
  • Reply 3 of 18
    konqerror wrote: »
    I understand why the watch stand is shaped like a C versus a ]. Most people grab the watch with their right hand to strap it on their left wrist. But shouldn't the watch stand then go to the right of the dock, so your phone doesn't get in the way of your grabbing hand?

    That's something Jobs would point out to Jony in the first five seconds of seeing this. :D

    Also, I had no issues with the Dock Connector. The newer plugs were a bit cheaper but it still worked fine, and removing it one handed was easy...
  • Reply 4 of 18
    I've put my 80 bucks in!
  • Reply 5 of 18
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,159member
    Suction pads? Thanks but I'll stick with NOMAD and Twelve South when it comes to charging stands for my Apple Watch
  • Reply 6 of 18
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member
    Seriously, what the **** is this crap? $79 for a piece of metal and crappy plastic? The design appeared to be done by the 3 years old...damn! In order to get the watch only, you need to move the phone out of the way first....Fail.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    That's ugly and not very practical... Not to mention quite expensive for what you get.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    peejaybeepeejaybee Posts: 52member
    It's amazing how 'designers' don't understand the basics of Apple's design language. Straight lines with radius corners - never arcs and sweeps like the lines all over the iPhone bit - really annoying!
  • Reply 9 of 18
    With no Apple branded Apple Watch charging dock available at launch, third-party accessory makers have stepped in to produce a sea of products ranging from integrated Watch/iPhone stands to standalone pedestals. Antsy Labs' Duet splits the difference, offering owners a solution for charging their devices devices side-by-side or separately.

    Is there a charging dock for iPhone 6 plus that is wireless ? Anyone know of any. If so please post link ????
  • Reply 10 of 18
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,005member
    There will not be a clean design until Apple allows the magsafe connector for the watch to be license. It make no sense to have two cable for charging. It would be nice to have one power cable that will charge both the phone and the watch at the same time.
  • Reply 11 of 18
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,397member

    80 Bucks for an impractical charger, no thanks. This was designed more for display and showing off the products, not being a usable item.

  • Reply 12 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by vfx2k4 View Post



    People still don't give enough credit to Apple for their design taste. This is precisely the opposite...

    I hate to sound like I'm piling on, but I agree with VF. Rarely do I buy a non-apple accessory. The design is never as good as Apple. They're usually clunky, too many wires, the aluminum doesn't match Apple's shades, etc., etc.

     

    Best. :)

  • Reply 13 of 18
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,225member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post



    Seriously, what the **** is this crap? $79 for a piece of metal and crappy plastic? The design appeared to be done by the 3 years old...damn! In order to get the watch only, you need to move the phone out of the way first....Fail.



    WTF??? Move the phone out of the way? Maybe you should have another look at the graphics... The ?WATCH has inductive MagSafe charging, so it just pops off without any fuss. Even for those ?WATCH owners who have link bracelets or the Milanese loop, there's still sufficient room between the two devices to allow removal of the watch without moving the iPhone.

     

    I ordered one of these on Kickstarter already, and can't wait to get it, and my ?WATCH finally!

  • Reply 14 of 18
    I think it looks like the cordless phone base of a house phone. The Apple Watch Cradle is half that price and looks much nicer. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/watchcradle-for-apple-watch-by-zhboston
  • Reply 15 of 18
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    was thinking about the Duet, but went w/ the ElevationLabs item instead:

    http://www.elevationlab.com/products/night-stand

    ...mostly because its less annoying to see, can attach it to my bedside, and i usually charge my phone docked at work anyway.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    cconwaycconway Posts: 1member
    I agree, they had the right idea for a combo. but not very functional. There's one out there by Zurske. On the high end at $120 especially as it's only for the watch but it has nice lines and not top-heavy like a handful that I've seen.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member
    magman1979 wrote: »

    WTF??? Move the phone out of the way? Maybe you should have another look at the graphics... The ?WATCH has inductive MagSafe charging, so it just pops off without any fuss. Even for those ?WATCH owners who have link bracelets or the Milanese loop, there's still sufficient room between the two devices to allow removal of the watch without moving the iPhone.

    I ordered one of these on Kickstarter already, and can't wait to get it, and my ?WATCH finally!
    link won't work well or work in ridiculous way. Maybe some people will buy it but damn, it's a dumb design.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,225member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post





    link won't work well or work in ridiculous way. Maybe some people will buy it but damn, it's a dumb design.



    I'm sorry, but how can you make that determination? Are you part of the engineering team??? That's an extremely presumptuous statement based solely on the videos we've been shown! I personally think the magnetic interlock concept between the two bases is genius!

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