For several years now, my preferred method of car-mounting my iPhones has been via a magnetic mount. However, if (like me) you’d like to take advantage of the latest generation of iPhones’ Qi wireless charging capabilities, this presents a problem. Well, that is until now.
I have long-enjoyed both the ease and convenience of magnetic car mounts, which allow for speedy access to my phone when jumping in and out of my car; Only periodically being slowed down by a lightning cable when I needed some external power source while using Waze or some other battery-intensive app.
Unfortunately, when Apple introduced support for Qi wireless charging in their iPhone 8 and iPhone X lineup, I wasn’t able to immediately jump on the wireless charging bandwagon, for at the time, there was no good solution that allowed me to keep using a magnetic mount AND take advantage of wire-free charging while in my car. To make matters worse, the metal plate I had so deftly hidden inside my existing iPhone case would undoubtedly interfere with using even a desktop Qi charger as well.
Pitaka MagCase – $49.99
Pitaka’s unbelievably thin (0.65mm), light (14g) and minimalistic MagCase has come to my rescue, solving this problem with both style and grace.
I’ve been using Pitaka’s MagCase along with its companion MagMount Qi charger for about a week now and I’m ready to share my thoughts. Pitaka’s offering will actually be the first of two magnetic case and Qi charging mount pairings that I will be reviewing on this site in the coming weeks.
At first glance, the Pitaka MagCase could easily be mistaken for carbon fiber, but instead it is crafted from Aramid, a class of man-made synthetic fibers originally developed for both aerospace and military applications, which Pitaka asserts is “five times stronger than steel, but just as light”. The benefits of Aramid is that it’s not as brittle as carbon fiber, nor does it conduct electricity like carbon fiber, meaning that it wont cause any interruptions to any of your iPhone’s signals, making it a superior case material for a mobile phones.
Soft and smooth, almost like a supple leather, the MagCase feels absolutely fantastic in your hand. It slides effortlessly in and out of your pocket, but is not slippery and offers just the right amount of grip. Also included in the package with the case is hands down, one of the best quality glass screen protectors I’ve ever used. It too is quite smooth, allowing my fingers to easily glide across my screen.
The MagCase sports generous cutouts on the top, sides and bottom to allow access to all of the iPhone X’s speakers, ports and buttons and a nice raised cutout for the rear camera to help protect it. It is available in 7 different color options to meet your personal style.
Embedded within the case are a couple of strategically placed metal plates which do not interfere with wireless charging. This means you can safely use any third-party Qi wireless charger that you’d like. In fact, I had no issues using my Anker desktop Qi charger with this case and was able to use a (non-powered) magnetic vent mount as a stand for my phone on my night-table as well.
MagMount Qi – $24.99
The MagMount Qi offers the best of both worlds, all the convenience a magnetic vehicle mount as well as wireless Qi charging of your iPhone X.
The MagMount Qi comes individually in three separate flavors, a Car Vent, Suction Cup and CD Slot. All three versions feature the same magnetic mount and 360 degree socket joint, they just use a different, location-specific base. Seeing as a hardly ever use my vehicle’s CD slot anymore, the CD Slot version is the one that I tested, plus I just prefer this phone location the best compared to the vent and suction cup options.
It was easy to install the MagMount Qi, first by screwing the generously sized magnetic mount to the base and then inserting (and tightening) the base into the CD slot of my car.
At first the ball joint felt a bit loose, but then I realized I hadn’t fully tightened the connection between the ball joint and mount. I plugged a micro USB cable into the bottom of the mount and into a DC power outlet in my car. It’s worth noting that Pitaka does NOT include either the micro USB cable or a DC plug. As an iPhone owner, I don’t tend to have a big supply of spare micro USB cables around, so I would have preferred that they had included these with the mount. This would also guarantee that the cable/plug are specced such that they would allow for the maximum charging capabilities of this device. I think this was a small oversight and only a minor annoyance, but worth mentioning.
The MagMount Qi features “10 x N52 grade super powerful magnets built into the mount and a Non-slip grip edge” which did a great job of holding my iPhone X securely in place with no noticeable vibration while driving. Though I did have to re-tighten the CD Mount in the slot once during the week.
The magnets were powerful enough to hold my phone, but not so powerful that it was tough to remove my phone from the mount when needed. Every time I place my iPhone on the mount I got a proper connection and I immediately saw my phone start charging. While the MagCase is compatible with third-party Qi chargers, we’ve been told by Pitaka that the MagMount Qi is ONLY compatible with their line of MagCases.
All in all, everything just seems to work like it is supposed to which is a very good thing when the whole point of a magnetic wireless charger is simplify things.
I generally prefer lighter, thinner cases as I am mostly interested in their ability to add grip (vs. a naked iPhone), add very little bulk and help prevent my iPhone from getting scratched and thus maintaining the resale value of my device.
Under the risk of jinxing myself, as I am very careful with my iPhones, I am willing to sacrifice some drop protection in favor of bulkiness reduction and convenience. Despite the strength of the Aramid fibers, I’m not so sure I would trust the MagCase to provide much in the way of protection from a direct fall of any significant height. That being said, Pitaka has just recently released their MagCase Pro which is a little bulkier, but has better shock-absorption and has been drop-tested to 13 feet by Pitaka (and 50 feet by a third-party). So if my combo sounds good to you, but you prefer a little more drop-centric peace of mind, then the ‘Pro’ version of the case is also available for $49.99 as well. Pitaka offers free shipping on orders of $30 or more and a $5 off coupon for first-time buyers. Pitaka cases are also available on Amazon as well.