Just last month, ESR announced and quickly began shipping one of the very first Qi2 car mounts. The company was quick to send one over to me, and I’ve been using it for the past few weeks. At just $36, the spoiler of this review is that Qi2 is finally getting to shine as the perfect merger of affordable pricing and high-end features.
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Hands-on with ESR’s new Qi2 MagSafe car mount
ESR is first to the market with a MagSafe car mount that uses the new Qi2 standard. We’ve been seeing accessories based around that new version of wireless charging slowly roll out since the start of the year. But amongst other brands like Anker and Belkin, the focus has largely been for the nightstand, desk, or backpack – not the car.
ESR’s new accessory is not only the first of its kind to begin shipping, it’s also the company’s first piece of tech to adopt the Qi2 standard. We’ll be seeing some other iPhone 15 chargers and accessories roll out in the coming months with much of the same 15W speeds. But for now, ESR is putting the spotlight on a new car mount that comes equipped with all the perks of an official MagSafe car mount, just with a far more affordable price tag.
Here’s a closer look at the spec sheet:
- Officially Qi2-certified 15W MagSafe iPhone charging gives you safer, more reliable charging at faster speeds.
- Powerful ring of magnets with 1,600 g of holding force keeps your phone securely in place, even on bumpy roads.
- Choose to mount on your car’s air vent or dashboard
- Switch between portrait and landscape for easy navigation
- Includes MagSafe Car Mount Charger, air vent clip, dashboard anchor, and 3.3-foot USB-A to USB-C cable.
Even if this is really the one and only Qi2 MagSafe car mount right now, I’ll be trying not to have too much tunnel vision about that. Other brands will likely be releasing their own takes on the form-factor in short order. So while it is the first of its kind right now, it shouldn’t be for all too much longer.
But at just $36, I’m not so sure that others will be able to offer a better value than the ESR Qi2 Car Mount does. I’ve been using the company’s car mounts for years now, and the same quality I’ve written about before remains. That’s largely just because it’s nearly the same release that the company has been shipping for quite some time – just updated with some new internal tech.
The car mount comes with two different mounting options in the box. There’s an adhesive pad that can stick to the top of your dashboard, as well as a pretty typical air vent mounting system. Both of them have ball mounts on the end that clip into the actual charging part of the design. This is what houses the magnets that holds your iPhone in place during rides and provides the 15W of power.
Like many other New Yorkers, I don’t actually own a car. Thankfully, my wonderful girlfriend was more than kind enough to not only let me clip the ESR Qi2 Car Mount into your ride, but also to help me test it out. I won’t name any names as far as brands are concerned, but I’ve given her quite a few other car mounts over the years to use once I finished my reviews, almost all of which prompted the same feedback: My phone gets too hot and it doesn’t actually charge very fast.
That wasn’t the response I got this time, though.
ESR’s latest makes good use of the Qi2 tech in order to step up to 15W charging speeds to actually make a dent in topping off your iPhone on the road, without overheating. That was my experience this past weekend when the two of us trekked out to Long Island and I had to charge up my iPhone 15. It worked just like the MagSafe pads I had at home – which is to say far different than the usual magnetic air vent mount I am used to having affected next to the steering wheel.
I also have to hand it to the company for using a strong ring of magnets. The MagSafe holding power was very solid with and without a case and was far more reliable than some other mounts I’ve used.
Some of the best praise I can give to the ESR Qi2 Car Mount is that it makes the entirety of MagSafe car mounts obsolete. I really can’t recommend buying any of those older releases now when ESR sells something this good for just $36 – or less thanks to frequent discounts.
All of the other Qi2 chargers I’ve reviewed so far have still been on the more premium side as far as price goes. And as much as I can recommend them as more cost effective solutions to official MagSafe counterparts, the whole point of the new standard is to save you more than just a few bucks. That was the case with Anker’s 3-in-1 charging stand, which wasn’t much more affordable than discounted 15W MagSafe alternatives.
ESR is finally giving us a first taste of what’s in store for the future of Qi2. The $36 price tag is far below what you’ll find from car mounts using the official Apple standard. Even the brand’s own MagSafe mount sells for just shy of $100 right now. Sure, the design is a little different, and it does include the USB-C car socket – something the Qi2 model doesn’t – those adjustments are hardly worth a $60 difference.
At the end of the day, other companies really don’t even need to come out with their own Qi2 car mount when I am this satisfied with ESR’s version. I’m sure that the likes of Anker, Belkin, and iOttie will have some different form-factors to check out in the near future, but I wouldn’t wait on them. ESR knocked this one out of the park, especially with how balanced the price tag is with its features.
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