Apple Watch stands are multiplying like rabbits and getting more useful. Today, I get to tell you all about the HiRise for Apple Watch.
This is one of the first stands for Apple’s wearable device and the very first watch stand from Twelve South, a company based in Charleston, South Carolina which has been designing premium accessories exclusively for use with Apple devices.
Like their popular HiRise stand for iPhone and iPad, the Apple Watch edition helps protect your device while it’s charging. And like other Twelve South products, it looks gorgeous and was designed to support all Apple Watch sizes, models and bands.
But is it worth your attention? Read on for all the details.
The accessory comes in two colors.
It’s compatible with the aluminum, stainless steel and gold editions of the Apple Watch, regardless of their size (38mm or 42mm). And it works with any Apple-designed band material.
The gizmo is made from metal but uses soft silicone to protect the areas where your Apple Watch and its band touch the HiRise. It hides the charging cable from sight, which helps declutter your desktop. And it’s perfect for both using the Apple Watch while it’s charging and keeping it at your bedside during overnight charging.
As is Twelve South’s wont, the HiRise for Apple Watch ships in a nicely designed box. The beauty of this particular box is even more pronounced given Apple’s own stylish product packaging for the Apple Watch. The box contains the HiRise for Apple Watch in several pieces that must be assembled, accompanied by the quick instruction manual.
The HiRise for Apple Watch is made from brushed metal and available in silver and black. Silver is the perfect match for the baseline aluminum Apple Watch while the black may look better with Space Gray watches. Although Twelve South’s HiRise for iPhone and iPad also comes in gold, this option is not available for the Apple Watch edition of the stand.
The accessory’s base is made from metal and has a non-slip rubber base to keep your HiRise in place. The use of metal gives the HiRise just enough weight and sturdiness so you won’t accidentally send the whole thing flying off your nightstand when you hit snooze in the morning.
A soft, leather landing pad behind the support post protects your band and buckle.
And thanks to silicone accents, at no time will your wearable gizmo and its band make contact with the HiRise’s metal parts—a particular concern for owners of the easily-scratched stainless steel Apple Watch models.
Like the previous HiRise accessories, the Apple Watch edition of the HiRise comes in pieces that must be assembled yourself: the base, the support bar that fits angled onto the base and actually holds your watch and a leather-coated cover.
But don’t worry, the four-step assembly process is anything but intimidating and only takes only a minute or two. You will basically use the included Allen wrench and the screw to optionally secure the support bar at 73 degrees to the base of the HiRise.
You will next run the cord for Apple Watch’s inductive charging puck down the back of the support pad using the pre-cut groove and route it tightly through the base pad, before it exits at the back.
Now cover the base’s embedded cable management with the included part that also acts as a leather landing pad that cradles your Apple Watch band.
Lastly, put the magnetic charging puck into the cutout of the support pad and your HiRise is ready to go. I was pleasantly surprised with the simplicity of the assembly process. Everything worked out nicely for me, even the charging puck snapped smoothly into a silicone-lined cutout (its concave side must face outwards).
Removing the charging cable from the HiRise is a simple matter of popping the charging disk out and releasing the cord.
Twelve South provides a charming little walkthrough tutorial of the assembly process so anyone can do it, really. Aside from the included Allen wrench and the screw, no other tool is required to assemble your HiRise.
The HiRise’s mount suspenses your wearable device in portrait mode at 73 degrees, making it appear as if it’s floating in mid-air and at just the right height for you to be able to interact safely with the device while it’s charging.
The tilted angle lets you easily check the time at a glance while lying in bed, see alerts while glancing over at a countertop, showcase the device to friends when you aren’t wearing it and more.
There’s a rectangular cutout on the support bar which lets you place your watch on the HiRise with the band fastened or with it flat and open, depending on your preference.
The charging disk pops out in an instant and its cord removes literally in seconds. And it only takes a minute or two to unscrew the HiRise’s support bar, making the HiRise a friendly travel companion.
I don’t have any major gripes with this accessory, but I nonetheless feel like mentioning a few pain points of sorts that I think should need addressing.
For starters—and this is probably a biggie—the HiRise for Apple Watch isn’t compatible with the upcoming Nightstand mode, a feature of watchOS 2 that lets you use the device as an alarm clock in landscape while it’s charging on its side.
Like many stands that had been designed before Apple announced watchOS 2, the HiRise elevates your watch in portrait mode. “We are not planning to upgrade the HiRise,” to make it compatible with watchOS 2’s Nightstand mode, Twelve South tells me via email. You can get a Nightstand mode of sorts on your watch with the HiRise now actually and Twelve South’s how-to details the process.
Another improvement I would like to see implemented in a future iteration of the HiRise is a miniature hinge inside its base. I’m not sure it’s feasible but the hinge would let the support pad collapse into a flat position.
That would mark a great feature for frequent travelers as your HiRise would be ready to go in literally just a few seconds, as opposed to having to unscrew the stand’s support bar from the base and remember to bring along the Allen wrench in the first place.
I asked the team if there are plans to implement a hinge inside the HiRise, but got a “Unfortunately, we do not discuss any potential product developments” response.
I should point out securing the support bar to the base with the included screw is optional. However, frequent travelers should also know that without the screw in place the support bar can wobble backwards a bit.
As things stand, people who travel a lot should buy a separate charging puck for travel to avoid unscrewing the HiRise’s support bar every time they hit the road. As for the lack of a gold edition, I was told that “There will not be a gold color option, because it wouldn’t necessarily match the finish”.
“The gold watches look great on the black HiRise,” Twelve South tells me.
Other then the aforementioned first-world problems, I had no major complaints about Twelve South’s HiRise for Apple Watch.
Bringing its expertise in making stands to the Apple Watch, Twelve South has managed to create a stand I feel comfortable using on a daily basis to support my watch while it’s juicing.
I know there are stands out there which cost less. I’m also aware that some of them offer additional bells and whistles. But now that you have parted with your hard earned cash to buy that pricey smartwatch of yours, you shouldn’t skimp on getting a functional charging dock that’ll last.
After using my HiRise for just a few days, I revered in disgust at the very though of going back to laying the watch on its side every time it needed charging.
It just felt awkward and not very user-friendly to charge my watch the old way, not to mention the incredibly irritating sight of the charging disk just laying there on my nightstand like it doesn’t have anything better to do.
Should you buy it?
If you’re a fan of Twelve South’s design philosophy and own an Apple Watch, then I’d say yes, go ahead and treat yourself to this nicely designed accessory. It’s durable, sturdy and versatile and I don’t think you’ll regret getting yourself one of these.
Twelve South’s accessories are generally lauded for being very durable: I know that because I’ve used quite a few of them over the past few years. In that regard, I would say that the HiRise is one of the best accessories out there to trick out your fancy new Apple Watch.
It docks and charges your Apple Watch at the same time while ensuring that it and the watch it docks are both well protected from metal-to-metal scratches. That it hides the cable from plain sight is a nice cherry of functionality on top.
I also think it’s priced reasonably.
HiRise for Apple Watch at a glance
- Unassuming—And that’s a good thing: your watch is showy, but its stand doesn’t need to be.
- Secure—It’ll keep even scratch-prone stainless steel in pristine condition thanks to soft leather and silicone accents at the right places.
- Convenient—Docks and charges your watch while letting you use it safely and routing the charging cable through the back.
- Versatile—Compatible with all Apple Watch models, sizes and bands.
- Nightstand mode incompatible—HiRise is only portrait and watchOS 2’s Nighstand mode was designed for landscape.
- Non-collapsable—Would be nice if the support pad could collapse into a compact position, but definitely not a biggie unless you travel a lot (in which case you should get a separate charging disk for travel).
The HiRise for Apple Watch is available in silver and black can be yours in exchange for $49.99 from the Twelve South webstore, Amazon.com and select retailers.