Realme’s MagDart is the company’s latest charging technology innovation and also a not-so-subtle jab at Apple’s MagSafe. Just like MagSafe, it magnetically attaches to the back of your phone, and the company has also introduced additional peripherals that are MagDart-enabled too. Realme sent us the Realme Flash to play around with, along with two MagDart peripherals to try the technology out. It may well be a jab at Apple, but it certainly gets the job done.
About this article: Realme sent us the Realme Flash, a concept smartphone that the company uses to show off MagDart, as well as two MagDart chargers. The company had no input into the contents of this article.
The practicality of magnetic wireless charging
Right off the bat, I need to be honest. I’m not necessarily sure I see the practicality of MagSafe and similar technologies. If I’m going to use something that attaches to my smartphone, I may as well just use a cable that plugs into the bottom of the smartphone. MagDart feels more of the same in that regard, especially when I can get a much faster charging speed from a cable than the much slower MagDart charger.
However, if this is a move towards the introduction of portless phones, then technology like MagDart is going to be required in order to get acceptable charging speeds. The smaller and thinner MagDart charges at 15W, which is acceptable even if it’s still a lot slower than what you can charge with a cable. This is also faster than Apple’s 15W solution, which the company made several points about at the MagDart unveiling event.
However, Realme’s much bigger MagDart wireless charger charges at 50W and can charge the 4,500 mAh battery in the Realme Flash in just under an hour. It’s bulky and basically impossible to hold the phone while it’s in use though, and given the rubber feet on the wireless charger, I don’t think it’s even designed for use in the hand. At that point though, it’s also somewhat impractical. Sure it magnetically attaches to the phone, but there are better wireless chargers that are capable of faster speeds.
However, the one that I can most appreciate (and sadly, we couldn’t get our hands on thanks to international customs) is the MagDart power bank. It works exactly how you can imagine — it magnetically attaches to the back of your phone, and a USB-C cable comes out of the bottom to be plugged in to charge.
Hands-on with the Realme Flash
The Realme Flash is merely just a concept phone, but it’s a fun device to play around with because of that. It’s not designed to be used as a daily driver, and it looks very similar to the OnePlus 9 Pro. It’s a vessel for trying out MagDart, and concept smartphones tend to be made cheaply just to show off a particular technology. As a result, there are no Google apps, and the cameras on the back don’t actually work either.
The main part of this phone that Realme wants us to test out is the magnetic back of the phone that attaches to the MagDart peripherals that the company sent us.
Hands-on with Realme’s MagDart peripherals
15W MagDart charger
The 15W MagDart charger is the most “Apple-like” product of the bunch. It snaps to the back of the phone as a small, thin circle, and charges the phone at 15W. It doesn’t heat up a lot, though the cable going into it is a bit annoying when trying to use the phone at the same time. The cable is also rather short, so you’ll need to be close to the included charger at all times. The charger goes into a USB-C brick, and doesn’t seem to work in just any USB-C brick — I could only get it working in the included Realme pill charger. Once connected to the phone though, it’s fairly rigid and hard to move without applying some force.
50W MagDart charger
The 50W MagDart charger is the most overkill of the bunch. It’s a box that the phone sits on, with a fan built-in and capable of charging the phone at 50W — charging almost as fast as the company’s own 50W wired charger. It’ll top up the 4,500 mAh battery in just under an hour, though the charger itself feels a bit impractical. While all of the other peripherals allow you to use your phone at the same time, it’s basically impossible to use your phone at the same time while using this wireless charger. It’s a whole lot faster than most wireless charging alternatives from other companies, though.
MagDart and magnetic backs on phones have potential
The problem with MagDart is the same problem I have with MagSafe — that the form-factor itself does not lend itself to being particularly useful. While it’s certainly a cool technology and has its uses, there are a lot of problems that can be solved just by using a regular cable, a cable that is also going to be faster, is usually not proprietary, and we already have plenty around.
If I’m honest, I don’t necessarily think that regular chargers are going to be the best form factor for making use of the MagDart technology. However, I think peripherals like the power bank certainly will be. There’s a lot of room to grow for MagDart, and there’s a lot of different things I’m sure the company will try. For example, there’s a wallet case the company also unveiled that has a built-in stand, and that’s something some people might actually like to use with their smartphones. Magnets on the back of phones also can come in handy with other mounting situations such as car mounts, tripods, and perhaps even swappable camera lenses, as the ease of snapping in and out might just make them worthwhile the other compromises.
Either way, the Realme Flash is a concept phone, and MagDart itself is a concept. I’m certainly looking forward to its future, one that perhaps coexists alongside ports and wires.