Belkin Powerhouse review: Improved design, improved price

Apple / Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Tech / Top Picks
Belkin Powerhouse

Charge your iPhone and Apple Watch on one dock with just one cable.

Belkin’s previous generation of iPhone/Apple Watch dock, The Valet, was a masterful piece of work which was both elegant and functional. But it didn’t earn my total respect due to the high $130 price tag. Well, Belkin is back with the Belkin Powerhouse iPhone/Apple Watch dock without sacrificing design but shedding $30 off the price tag. Read on and find out why the Belkin Powerhouse earned a Techaeris Top Pick award for 2016.

Specifications

The Belkin Powerhouse includes these specs and features:

  • Includes a built-in Magnetic Charging Module for Apple Watch
  • Back panel supports iPhone while charging
  • Includes a built-in Lightning connector for iPhone
  • Holds Apple Watch safely above surface
  • VersaCase™ – dial raises/lowers adjustable case-friendly Lightning connector to fit most cases
  • Charge both your Apple Watch and iPhone with one tethered AC cable

Design

Belkin changed the design of the Belkin Powerhouse, going in a completely different direction from the Belkin Valet and it is most impressive. The base is significantly shorter than the Valet and the iPhone back rest is much sportier than the elegant chrome rod of the Valet. The Powerhouse is made from high quality plastics, not the solid aluminum of the Valet but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel and look premium. I suspect going with a premium plastic over aluminum is where Belkin was able to shave off some costs.

There’s only one wire coming out of the Belkin Powerhouse which plugs right into your wall. This one wire powers both the Lightning connector and the Apple Watch magnetic charging puck which are both integrated into the dock, no need for using your OEM cables. On the back of the base is the adjustment knob for the Lightning connector which can be adjusted to fit most cases. I used this dock with my UAG case which isn’t super thin but also not ultra bulky. Overall the design is sporty and slick and I actually prefer it over the Valet design.

Ease of Use

Plug the Powerhouse into the wall, adjust the Lightning connector to fit your iPhone case, set your iPhone on the connector and your watch on the magnetic puck and you’re off and running. Very easy to use, plug and play is about all you need here. I will say that the Lightning connector does fit very snug on your iPhone so you may need to hold the base with your fingers when undocking the iPhone. That could be a minor annoyance for some but it didn’t bother me at all.

Performance

The Belkin Powerhouse charged both the Apple Watch and iPhone at the same rates their native chargers would charge them at. It worked as advertised and I had no issues with it not wanting to charge or dying. Overall great performance here.

Price/Value

The Valet is still available but you’re going to pay $30 more for aluminum, the Powerhouse is better in many ways but is priced under $100. I think Belkin learned their lesson on price point for this item.

Wrap Up

A total must buy here. Not only do you have a desktop or bedside dock for your iPhone and Apple Watch. But you have one that doesn’t require using your own cables and anyone who has an Apple Watch knows what a pain it is to thread those chargers through some of the other docks on the market. Plus this means you can keep your other chargers in other places for when you need them there.

Belkin Powerhouse
5 Out of 5
Nailed It
Better more streamlined design, ability to charge both iPhone and Apple watch without adding your own cables to it.
Needs Work
Some may find it a slight annoyance at how tightly the Lightning connector holds the phone.
Bottom Line
Belkin's Valet was a great little dock but priced $30 too much, the Powerhouse improves design and price point.
Design5.00
Ease of Use5.00
Performance5.00
Price/Value5.00
*We were sent a sample of the Belkin Powerhouse for the purposes of this review.
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