Twelve South Butterfly Review: Compact Travelling Power, But Pricey

Twelve South Butterfly (Image: Alex Kidman)

The Twelve South Butterfly is a beautifully made portable wireless charger for iPhones, Apple Watches and AirPods, but like Apple’s own gear, it attracts a premium price point to go along with it.

Pros Cons
Super Portable Super Expensive
Includes 30W charger with separate cable Apple Watch Ultra doesn’t fit precisely on charging plate
Attractive physical design Did I mention how pricey it is?

Score: 3/5


Buy The Twelve South Butterfly! Buy on eBay

In this review

Twelve South Butterfly Specifications
Twelve South Butterfly Design
Twelve South Butterfly Performance
Twelve South Butterfly Conclusion


Twelve South Butterfly (Image: Alex Kidman)

Most chargers are purely functional devices, with the only real design differences being whether they come with a white plug or a black plug.

I can’t really describe the Twelve South Butterfly that way, because – like much of Twelve South’s generally Apple-centric gear – it’s genuinely beautifully designed, with a visual style that looks way closer to being a pocket watch than a portable charger.

Twelve South Butterfly (Image: Alex Kidman)

The Twelve South Butterfly is a circular charging unit that opens up from the middle to reveal a single 15W MagSafe charging plate for iPhones and AirPods, with the other side of the circle housing a 5W Apple Watch charger.

The charging case itself has a silver metal finish that very closely matches the style of a Macbook, though it’s designed of course more for Apple’s more portable products.

By itself a charging plate can't do much in terms of power, so it also comes with a 30W USB-C charger and rather nicely put together USB-C cable.

With travel in mind, the charger also comes with a range of international plug adaptors, which is a nice touch for a unit that’s meant to be quite this portable.


Twelve South Butterfly (Image: Alex Kidman)

In straight up power terms, there’s not too much to say.

Drop a Magsafe-compliant iPhone onto it and it will charge at up to 15W, while other Qi-compliant devices should be able to pull 7W of wireless charging from it.

On the Apple Watch side, it’s a straight up 5W charger at maximum rates, depending more on the generation of Apple Watch and its relative battery status at the time you place it on there.

One neat additional step here is that because it comes with a standard 30W charger and uses a normal USB-C plug, you can also use that charger to power up other devices. Need power faster to your iPhone than 15W can supply? Plug it in directly. Nice!

It is important to note that while the Twelve South Butterfly advertises that it’s capable of 15W Magsafe charging, it doesn’t have Qi2 certification.

What’s the difference? MagSafe is (strictly speaking) an Apple standard, so Twelve South has put some money into carrying that branding, while Qi2 is a Wireless Power Consortium specification… that has much of the Magsafe standard within it.

Right now the distinction is somewhat moot, because there aren’t any Qi2 phones that aren’t iPhones as yet, but it will be interesting to see how the first Qi2 Android phones react to pure Magsafe devices like the Twelve South Butterfly… once they’re available.

Where the Twelve South Butterfly really comes into its own in performance terms is with how you choose to lay it out and what that means for the devices you’re charging.

It will lay flat to charge a single iPhone (or other Qi device) and an Apple Watch, or back to back with the Apple Watch charging plate flipped out to enable Standby mode on supported iPhones. This isn’t quite as stable as some full stands, and it is a touch tricky to get the Watch charger plate to flip out – but it’s supported.

Twelve South Butterfly (Image: Alex Kidman)

Given its travel focus, the other benefit here is that the Twelve South Butterfly is genuinely very compact, even more so than other travel chargers I’ve tested recently like the Belkin BoostCharge Pro Qi2 Convertible Magnetic Stand.

You would need to be travelling frequently with the right mix of devices however; the use of an Apple Watch specific charger in the TwelveSouth Butterfly makes it a much less compelling prospect for owners of other phones or smart watches.

Also read:
Belkin BoostCharge Pro Qi2 Convertible Magnetic Stand Review

Twelve South Butterfly: Alex’s Verdict

Twelve South Butterfly (Image: Alex Kidman)

The absolute premium price of the Twelve South Butterfly is its single biggest drawback, and it’s not even close.

It’s one of the priciest wireless chargers you can buy, and the real question – presuming you’re keen on a wireless charger in the first place – is whether its style and portability make enough sense for you to justify that asking price.

If it doesn’t, then it’ll make no sense at all. Frankly, at $219.99, even if it does, it’s a pretty big ask of your wallet.

It’s a lovely device, a real designer’s piece – but that doesn’t make it a charger best suited for everyone.

Twelve South Butterfly: Pricing and availability

The Twelve South Butterfly retails in Australia for $219.99

Buy The Twelve South Butterfly! Buy on eBay

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