Another day, another Apple Watch accessory. This time it's the Kosta charging coaster from Bluelounge. The Kosta is a minimalist Nightstand dock that looks a lot like something Apple would have designed for the stainless steel Apple Watch if it ever decided to make a docking accessory for the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport. And it even comes inside Apple-esque packaging, which is bound to make it to an Apple Store near you. Bluelounge just released it today, but we've already had plenty of time to play around with the Kosta to see if it's really worth your $15. So be sure to catch our full review down below!
The Kosta – which is available in light gray, dark gray and green – is a very lightweight dock made out of silicone with a magnetic disc embedded in the middle, hidden underneath the matte rubbery surface. In a nutshell it can be used in two ways: with the magnetic charging puck facing up and magnetically attached to the Kosta's round magnetized surface for charging the Apple Watch flat on its back with the band hanging off the base itself. Or, with the magnetic charging puck on its side facing forward for charging the Apple Watch on its side to not only take advantage of the Nightstand feature, but to also allow for compatibility with the Link and Milanese Loop bracelets and other bands that cannot be separated.
The problem with charging the Apple Watch on its back is that it hangs over the coaster and thus requiring more space for the band to spread apart, not to mention any metal hardware isn't being protected effectively by the Kosta. And although the embedded magnet inside the Kosta keeps the charging puck relatively secured in place, you still need to pry your Apple Watch off of it using your fingers to hold the dock down as you pull away. If only the Kosta had a heavier base to keep it planted when undocking, the user experience would have been a lot better.
There's nothing to keep that Kosta firmly adhered to a desk or nightstand, no sticky nano suction padded bottom like the Spigen S350 and Elevation Lab Nightstand docks - apart from the silicone rubber material that the Kosta is made of, which only provides minimal slip resistance and nothing more. Alas, that's not all that's wrong with the Kosta.
You could try to undock your Apple Watch one-handed by holding down the top part of the magnetic charger using your index finger as you grab the watch with your middle finger and thumb. However, it still feels like a convoluted makeshift work around. But then again, docking isn't always met with automatic and instantaneous magnetic connection due to the wonky nature of how the charging puck is left to its own devices.
Now at first glance Bluelounge would have you believe that the Kosta is specifically designed to be used for docking the Apple Watch on its side, while it perfectly fits entirely inside the circular perimeter of its caring, soft silicone surface. But unfortunately this secondary type of docking scenario wasn't carefully thought through. Instead of using the embedded magnetic feature in the Kosta's base, you simply need to rest the magnetic charging puck freely on its side without anything holding it in place. No special secondary magnetic mounting or a clasp to hold it down.
While using this method will allow you to dock any 38mm or 42mm Apple Watch model with any band attached, the fact that the charging puck is left loosely like that is just incredibly sloppy. It's more difficult to undock because the charger has so much room to move around and wants to stays attached to your Apple Watch as you try to detach it from the Kosta. That being said, when it works, this is definitely the preferred way of charging and docking your Apple Watch on the Kosta. I just wish it was designed in a more substantial manner.
As you can tell from our hands-on video above, the Kosta requires a special technique if you want a relatively seamless docking and undocking experience. Notice that the magnetic charging adapter always moves around and keeps changing its angle, which sometimes makes a simple docking somewhat more frustrating than needed. We see no reason why you should buy this even if it's affordably priced at $15. The Kosta is unfortunately one of Bluelounge's worst accessories.
The Kosta started off as a great idea with potential to be a solid choice for docking any and all Apple Watch models, alas, it lacked some very basic design details that turned it into a mediocre product unworthy of our recommendation. We appreciate the Kosta's silicone rubber coaster design that serves as a comfortable resting place for the Apple Watch to rest on without the fear of it scratching, but it isn't very well made and we dislike the sloppy way it handles how the magnetic charger is incorporated into the dock in what is seemingly a lazy, cheap way of ensuring broader compatibility with the various sizes of the Apple Watch.
For all intents and purposes, we cannot deny the fact that once your Apple Watch is docked on its side, it fits perfectly within the Kosta's extremely minimalist coaster-sized rubbery base –which offers unhindered usability of all Nightstand mode features during charging. It's otherwise a neat bedside companion. Trouble is, we don't think it's as good as it should have been. This is one Apple Watch accessory you're better off avoiding.