Griffin WatchStand Charging Station: a solid two-in-one dock with some trade-offs

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Earlier this month I reviewed the Belkin Charge Dock, a stylish dock for your iPhone and Apple Watch. I praised it for its classy, minimalistic design and embedded chargers, but knew that its steep $130 price tag would be a turnoff for many potential buyers.

This time around I want to tell you about a more affordable option—the Griffin WatchStand Charging Station. It too offers space for your iPhone and Apple Watch to rest and recharge, at less than half the price, but that savings does come with a few tradeoffs.

First, there’s design. I don’t think the WatchStand looks bad—in fact, Sebastien called its identical smaller sibling “sleek”—but I also don’t think it looks anywhere near as good as the Belkin. Second, there are no cables included, meaning you have to supply your own.

So does the WatchStand’s price and functionality offset these shortcomings? Let’s find out.

At 18 oz., the WatchStand feels solid, like it’s not going to bounce around your desk or nightstand. The base measures 3.15″ x 7.87″ and is made mostly of polycarbonate plastic. It features a felt-covered platform, where you can lay your iPhone down without worrying about scratches, and a 5″ tall podium for charging and displaying your Apple Watch (yes, it supports the new Nightstand Mode in watchOS 2).

Underneath the base you’ll find two USB ports: a 2.5W (for Apple Watch) and a 10W (or 5V @ 2.1 A)‭, and a port for the 100–240V AC power supply.

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Griffin attempts to make up for not having embedded chargers with smart cable management. Beneath the stand, across from the USB ports, is a place for you to wrap up your USB cable, leaving just enough slack to plug the Lightning connector into your iPhone on the platform. The Apple Watch podium features a removable, ribbed center piece and a hollow body, so you can wrap up your cable and pull it through to the bottom ports. The result here is pretty clean, with little to no cables showing.

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Of course, all of this is easier said than done. While I was able to wind my iPhone cable and tuck it underneath the stand fairly quickly, hiding the Apple Watch cable was a much more tedious process. There’s not much room for error inside the podium, so if you don’t wind your cable extremely tight around the center piece, you’re going to have a hard time getting it to fit. I took a few shots at it, and I still wound up having to forcibly shove the center piece into the podium, and honestly I’m kind of worried I won’t be able to get it out. Nevertheless, once it’s done, it’s done, and I don’t imagine most folks will be moving cables back and forth with this thing.

Overall, I think Griffin has created a useful accessory for iPhone and Apple Watch owners here, but as for whether or not you should get one, I’m torn. I think I’d still recommend the aforementioned Belkin over this. It looks better and is much easier to setup, and the fact that it has built-in cables almost makes up the difference in price ($130 vs $60 + $30 for AW charger + $20 for iPhone USB cable). That being said, if you don’t mind using your own cables and are looking for a two-in-one charging station for your Apple Watch and iPhone, no one would blame you for picking this up.

If you’re interested, you can find the WatchStand Powered Charging Station on Amazon for $59.99. The box includes the WatchStand; power supply; interchangeable power adapters for the US, UK, EU and AUS; the user manual; and Griffin does offer a 1-year warranty.

Also be sure to check out these other Apple Watch dock/stand reviews: