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Hands on: Twelve South Forte is a MagSafe charging stand for iPhone & AirPods

Forte MagSafe charger

Twelve South gave us an early hands-on of its first MagSafe charging stand, Forte, that is well-suited for not only your iPhone, but your AirPods as well.

Forte, a product name once bestowed on its previous high-end Apple-exclusive charger, is now being used for a new MagSafe charging stand.

It has a clean all-white exterior with a hefty weighted base that keeps it in place without issue. It comes disassembled with a single screw and Allen wrench to connect the base to the mount.

Forte components
Forte components

The mount itself is a very lightweight plastic with a swiveling top. It is inserted into a square hole at the back of the metal base and screwed into place. The metal base feels very substantial and has four silicone feet to not slide.

Our MagSafe puck in Forte
Our MagSafe charging puck in Forte

Once you have Forte assembled, you need to insert your own MagSafe charging puck. It fits right into the top with the cord poking out from the bottom, It then wraps around back and goes down the neck of the charging stand. You must be sure to leave enough slack so that the top can swivel upwards. If it is too tight, it won't be able to rotate.

There is a silicone ring around the inside of Forte's mount that holds onto the MagSafe puck but that is still easy to remove. This is far better than some of the others that use adhesives that are near-impossible to remove.

Forte MagSafe charger cable management is meh
Forte MagSafe charger cable management is meh

We don't love the cable management here that Twelve South implemented. It feels unpolished and the cable has to wrap from the front of the charger to the back which, combined with the extra slack you need to leave, makes it look unpolished. These are fairly common tradeoffs though when you have to use your own cable.

There have been no third-party MagSafe chargers outside of Belkin and we've instead seen most companies create mounts or stands that utilize Apple's puck instead. It could be a supply issue or Apple hasn't fully fleshed out the third-party certification process for fully integrated MagSafe chargers.

Watching Mythic Quest on Forte MagSafe charger
Watching Mythic Quest on Forte MagSafe charger

In use, Forte is fabulous. It is a great little stand that can easily pivot to the perfect angle for you to see your phone while charging. Plus, your phone can rotate on the MagSafe charger. You can easily place it in landscape mode to relax and watch a video or two.

We tested with the smallest iPhone 12 mini all the way up to our iPhone 12 Pro Max and it felt well-balanced with all sizes and the hinge held up just fine, even on the heaviest iPhone.

Charging AirPods Pro on Forte MagSafe charger
Charging AirPods Pro on Forte MagSafe charger

Our favorite feature though is when you aren't charging your iPhone you can tilt the top back until it is flat and place your AirPods or AirPods Pro right on top. MagSafe is backward compatible with Qi, making it a great tiny charger for your Apple earbuds.

The Apple MagSafe puck has a soft, grippy surface so if you are off slightly from perfectly level your AirPods won't slip off.

Should you buy the Twelve South Forte?

Since MagSafe launched we've seen a ton of stands and mounts come to market. Our usual recommendation is the Belkin BoostCharge line though they carry a high price tag. Forte is great because you can easily remove your MagSafe puck at any time to take with you for travel, and it is very adjustable. Few other stands can tilt and are instead locked at a fixed angle. Not to mention the ability to charge AirPods right on top.

Forte MagSafe charger
Forte charging iPhone 12 Pro Max

That said, it still leaves us yearning for a fully integrated MagSafe version. One we expect may eventually come to market but in the meantime, we are left with this stop-gap solution.

Until then, Forte a slick little device and is a great option if you're looking for a better way to charge your iPhone 12 with MagSafe.

It is launching as an Apple-exclusive for $39.99 but will also be available through Twelve South's website.