Inductive charging is a fast growing technology which conveniently solves a gearhead's most critical problem in life, low battery syndrome. Today, we'll be taking another look into wireless charging made possible by a Swiss company called Mobee. The name should sound familiar if you're a Mac user. And although Apple has its own respectable rechargeable battery solution using the old fashioned plug n' charge method to keep its line of wireless input devices up to snuff, it has yet to make the leap forwards with wireless inductive charging like HTC, Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and LG have. For a while now, Mobee has been there to fill that void of inductive charging withdrawals with its series of modern wireless inductive chargers.
The latest offering to come out of the land that brought us triangular chocolates, is the Magic Feet. It's Mobee's all-in-one inductive charging station to feature the company's magical Magic Charger and Magic Bar all bundled into one platform of wireless charging goodness, made exclusively for Mac users. How does it all pan out? Find out in our full review after the jump!
Mobee's Magic Feet combines both the $40 Magic Bar (a wireless charger for the Apple Wireless Keyboard), and the $40 Magic Charger (a Magic Mouse wireless charger) - into one unit that's essentially one wide aluminum and plastic constructed charging station with a large white induction charging surface at the top which can accommodate two Magic Mice simultaneously for $150. The Magic Feet is designed for Mac users with a desk setup using either an iMac or an any Apple Display.
But the question is why anyone would need room to charge two Magic Mice? Not even Mobee knows what that extra room is good for. That bit of extra space could have been utilized for charging other gadgets like inductive charging-supported smartphones like the Google Nexus 4, HTC 8X or Nokia Lumia devices for example. But unfortunately, Mobee does not use the standard Qi technology for wireless charging. The Magic Feet's inductive charging platform can only be used with Mobee's products as it is exclusively designed to work with Apple peripherals.
Combining three inductive chargers into one device while also throwing in a 4-port USB hub to sweeten the deal as one of the most useful gadget charging bays a Mac user can ever wish for, has resulted in it being quite a significant space consumer. Because the Magic Feet isn't as compact as Mobee's standalone chargers, it sits underneath the display partially covering up the pedestal base where it adds a complimentary dosage of matching aesthetics and bizarre future-y feeling.
Mobee's Magic Feet kit includes the "universal" charging station, two rechargeable battery packs, a wall adapter and a USB cable. The same kind used for both the Magic Charger and Magic Bar. The plan is simple, replace your existing individual batteries in your Magic Mouse with the included Mobee rechargeable inductive battery pack, and do the same with your Apple Wireless Keyboard using the included rechargeable battery rod that simply replaces the metal screw cap of the keyboard by adding an inductive charger nob which slightly sticks out the side.
Optionally, you could also use the same battery rod with a Magic Trackpad. Unfortunately, the Magic Feet only comes with one battery pack and rod to use with two devices at a time. You could purchase more batteries from Mobee, but for the $150 price, I'd expect at least three inductive batteries to be included. Especially when there's room to wirelessly charge up to three devices at a time. It's also worth mentioning that unlike the Magic Charger and Magic Bar which both grab their power directly from USB, the Magic Feet requires to be used with a wall power adapter.
Charging your Magic Mouse is as easy as setting it on top of the Magic Feet's white inductive surface, and sliding your Apple Wireless Keyboard or Magic Trackpad into the small dock port. A solid red LED light will start to blink green indicating the device is being recharged. It'll turn solid green once charging is complete. There are three LEDs which are set to change status depending on where you place your Apple device to charge. Charging begins instantly upon contact and works as it should without any hiccups apart from the arguable sluggish recharge times.
While the Magic Feet works as advertised, it isn't perfect and does have some drawbacks to it. More notably is the fact that it takes roughly 8-10 hours to completely charge up an Apple peripheral, while the internal batteries don't hold a charge quite as well as Apple's rechargeable batteries. Compare that against the 5 hour recharge time it takes to recharge two AA batteries using Apple's $29 Battery Charger (includes 6 rechargeable batteries), and the result fares significantly in favor of non-inductive charging. With that being said however, this won't become much of an issue if you maintain a strict regiment of setting your devices to charge each day overnight. This is a good way to avoid waiting for a depleted battery to recharge. Mobee's innovative wireless chargers were designed to eliminate the need of having to replace or dispose batteries, and in that regard the Magic Feet definitely serves its purpose.
Another annoyance worth mentioning are the red LEDs which always remain lit even though their purpose is not at all helpful only distracting. A simple charging status indicator would suffice.
Flip the Magic Feet around and you will see the bottom opening which lets it partially cover the base of your iMac or Apple Display's pedestal. The power and the optional USB cables connect to the unit via the bottom side opening which conceals the connection nicely.
The Magic Feet also features a useful array of four powered USB ports (two side and two back facing ports), which can quickly recharge multiple devices - or can serve as a direct inputs when connecting the Magic Feet platform to your iMac or MacBook Pro/Air using the supplied USB cable connector. You'll then be able to sync your iPhone, iPad, iPod and even connect external hard drives thru the use of these four powered USB ports.
If you don't already own a rechargeable set of batteries and got the routine down with a good fast charger to feed your devices, then having something like Mobee's Magic Feet is the next best thing. Having a platform such as this will also rid you of having to keep track of your batteries. It is simply an alternative to using individual rechargeable batteries in a more convenient package with the added benefit of a powered 4-port USB hub. At $150, Mobee's hybrid wireless charging station is priced a bit too high for us to give it our general recommendation.
We still think it performs well given its proclaimed purpose, but the odd combination of charging surfaces doesn't make full sense to us; nor is it universally practical in terms of utilizing the Qi standard for inductive charging. We think Mobee's Magic Feet will appeal more to a niche market compared to the Magic Charger and Magic Bar, which are both solid performers that we'd happily recommend at an affordable price.