Realme’s ‘Mag for Future’ Innovation event showcased the company’s alternative to Apple’s MagSafe standard, by way of its first concept phone – the Realme Flash – along with a host of MagDart chargers and accessories.
Realme makes a point of trying to bring desirable technologies in the smartphone space to more users and with its 3 August event, it’d set its sights on delivering a true competitor to Apple’s MagSafe magnetic wireless charging and accessories platform, for Android phones.
Realme isn’t alone in this endeavour, with third-party accessory makers like Moshi, Scosche and Mous already offering up MagSafe alternatives or equivalents for Android (and iPhone) users after a similar experience. Realme is one of the first phone makers to wade into the waters of magnetic wireless charging with Apple, however.
The Realme Flash serves as the company’s first-ever concept phone (a notion we’ve seen numerous times in the past from brands like Vivo) designed to showcase a particular feature that’s yet to make its way to the company’s mainline device portfolio.
While Realme didn’t reveal full hardware details for the Flash, or whether we’ll actually be able to buy one at some point, the company’s Product Marketing Manager, Alesso Bradde, did confirm a few key specs.
The Flash apparently runs on a top-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, sports a dual-cell 4500mAh battery and features both a dual-curved edge display and a dual-curved back cover; with textured AG matte glass that “enhances friction” to help both MagDart chargers and accessories stay firmly aligned and attached.
The phone’s party piece is, of course, the fact that it’s the first device to support MagDart charging, which it does so by pairing a large wireless charging coil with a ring of 0.3mm thin boron and cobalt magnets. Realme claims that these magnets lose only 0.01% of their magnetic attraction over the course of two years and provide up to 5N of force to keep accessories attached.
In the case of the Realme Flash, its MagDart charging system tops out at an impressive 50W, which in side-by-side tests with equivalent wired charging proved only marginally slower; reaching 20% charge in just five minutes and a full charge in less than 55 minutes.
For comparison, the highest wattage Apple’s iPhone 12 Series is able to charge at – via the official MagSafe Charger – is 15W (12W in the case of the iPhone 12 Mini).
While it’s exciting to see an Android phone debut this technology, it’s more a case of showing how it supplants existing charging methods, which Realme thinks is through its speed, convenience and the potential for a full (practically modular) ecosystem of MagDart-compatible accessories to enjoy.
50W MagDart Charger
In order to get the most out of the Realme Flash’s 50W charging, it needs a compatible 50W MagDart Charger; represented by the first accessory Realme showed off during its announcement.
The strength of the magnets means the 50W MagDart Charger can be attached to the back of the Flash in either a portrait or landscape orientation, which paired with an integrated fan to help dissipate heat, makes it a convenient gaming accessory.
With the proportions of a scaled-down Mac Mini (a ‘Mac Micro’?) however, not everyone will see the appeal of this chunky, albeit speedy, charging method.
15W MagDart Charger
At 3.9mm thick Realme’s 15W MagDart charger ditched the fan and the boxy form of the larger 50W offering in favour of a wafer-thin design made possible by its ‘coil and board’ design.
Realme has moved the charger’s control board to the power adapter end of the charger, allowing the circular charging plate to measure no thicker than four credit cards.
Realme states that a complete recharge of a 4500mAh cell using this 15W charger takes 90 minutes, while Apple’s equivalent MagSafe charger refilling the iPhone 12 Pro’s 2775mAh battery can take as long as four hours (Realme’s claims, not ours).
2-in-1 MagDart Power Bank
Apple recently introduced its £99/US$99 MagSafe Battery Pack, which snaps onto the back of the iPhone 12 range and serves up 1460mAh of additional juice that can be delivered at 5W when unplugged or double as a 15W wireless charger when plugged into a 20W power adapter.
Realme had an answer to this with its own MagDart Power Bank; sporting an aluminium frame and wrapped in white vegan leather, weighing in at 139 grams. The company didn’t explicitly state the power bank’s battery capacity or charging speed, only mentioning that it uses a dual-cell design, similar to the Realme Flash itself.
What helps it stand out is the additional Power Bank Stand, which supports the Power Bank and attached phone; charging both while holding the phone upright too.
MagDart Beauty Light
Like Apple’s MagSafe wallet add-on, Realme envisions MagDart as more than just a means of power delivery, showing off a number of potential accessories to kickstart a wider ecosystem of products: starting with the MagDart Beauty Light.
The light features a ring of 60 mini LEDs (powered via reverse wireless charging from the attached phone) and can be used with the back camera or flip-up to support selfie-snapping. Both the brightness and colour temperature of the LEDs can be altered to help provide ideal lighting conditions when capturing shots in portrait mode.
Realme is so confident that its MagDart Wallet accessory will be able to stick to the back of a phone more reliably than Apple’s equivalent accessory, that the wallet also features an integrated kickstand.
Like the power bank, the MagDart Wallet comes finished in white vegan leather, the kickstand is hewn from aluminium and there’s room for three cards.
MagDart Charging Case for Realme GT
Perhaps the most concrete evidence of Realme’s initial intentions with MagDart is the charging case, designed for its latest flagship phone, the Realme GT.
The GT itself lacks wireless charging of any kind, so this carbon fibre-effect case adds in the functionality, with the addition of MagDart’s auto-aligning magnets.
The case also still features a USB-C port, so wired charging and cable-based data transfer can still take place too.
The MagDart Fusion Plan
Rather astutely of Realme, the success of a technology like MagDart isn’t based on how efficient or powerful it is but rather how ubiquitous it can become. As such, the company finished its ‘Mag for Future’ event by announcing that it’ll be opening up the MagDart standard for “everyone in the future.”
Whether “everyone” simply means we can expect more Realme-made MagDart accessories or whether we’ll actually see a Belkin-branded MagDart Charger for your Pixel 6 (alongside entries from other brands too) remains to be seen. If Realme can find takers, however, an Android-friendly alternative to MagSafe, backed by a phone maker like Realme, might have what it takes to stick around.