Bottom line: Twelve South's PowerPic mod looks good in use and when idle with its borderless photo frame design. It supports 10W wireless charging and works in portrait or landscape meaning it's just as functional as it is beautiful.
10W wireless charging
Disguised as a piece of decor when not in use
Supports portrait or landscape orientations
Fiddly to change photo
Does not include USB-C wall plug
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With the number of devices we have to keep powered up these days, it makes total sense to have chargers in every room in your house. Now that most phones (and accessories, like earbuds) support Qi charging, you might want those chargers dotted around your home to be of the wireless variety so you can just plonk your devices down whenever you aren't using them.
The problem is, whether you decide to get set up with charging cables or wireless chargers in various locations, your nightstand, desk, or living room side table can soon start to look more like the inside of a server rack than a liveable space.
This is something accessory maker Twelve South set out to solve before with the original Twelve South PowerPic — which ingeniously hides a wireless charging stand within a photo frame — and the company is back with a follow-up in the form of a redesigned PowerPic mod. Let's see how it performs.
Twelve South PowerPic mod: Price and availability
Arriving in late 2021, the Twelve South PowerPic mod retails for $60. Though the bulk of the product is clear, the stand comes in white or black colorways for the base so you can grab whichever suits your space best. You can buy one directly from Twelve South or snag one at Amazon.
Twelve South PowerPic mod: What's good
For a lot of folks, the best wireless charger is the one that gets their phone's battery from flat to full the quickest — but that's not really the crowd that Twelve South is trying to attract with the PowerPic mod.
Granted, inside it does house a Qi charger that can power up an iPhone at up to 7.5W or an Android phone at up to 10W, though the focus is as much on its form as its function — and this is where it truly succeeds.
What really sets the PowerPic mod apart from the competition is that it does double duty as a customizable and stylish photo frame. The clear lucite part that props up your phone fits a standard 6-inch x 4-inch photo and the magnetic cover makes it really easy to swap out the image whenever you want.
Since the PowerPic mod eschews the traditional frame stylings of the original model, that means there's no limit on the size of phone you can charge up and you can use the Power Pic mod in both portrait and landscape orientations. A subtle LED light on each side lets you know the charging status or alerts you of foreign objects.
The fact that you can customize the PowerPic mod with your own photo means that it suits many more spaces around the home where a Qi pad or charging cable might look out of place. When not in use, it just looks like a photo frame.
Twelve South PowerPic mod: What's not good
While it's positive that you can swap out the photo in the PowerPic mod whenever you want, the process is a little fiddly. Not only do you need to carefully align the magnetic cover so that the edges of your photo don't jut out, but getting the lucite stand back into the base requires a bit of force. It certainly seems like the tolerances are very tight and the thickness of your photo paper might make a real difference here.
There's also the problem of some awkward placement when it comes to devices. With AirPods Pro, for example, you'll need to prop these on their side in order to have the charging coils align in a way that works properly. Similarly, due to the thickness of the iPhone 13 Pro's camera module, the phone also rests unnaturally with a large gap between its back surface and the charging stand. It still charges and I haven't noticed a significant impact on charging performance, but it certainly looks unusual from the side.
Lastly, Twelve South does not include the required 20W USB-C wall charger in the box in order to get the fastest speeds out of the charger. If you don't have one of these lying around then that's an additional cost on top of the stand itself.
Twelve South PowerPic mod: Competition
As I mentioned at the outset, there are a ton of wireless chargers on the market but Twelve South is really targeting those that want both form and function. The original Twelve South PowerPic offers a more traditional photo frame-style design for those that prefer that look, though functionally the PowerPic mod has made some key improvements.
There are also several nightstand iPhone chargers that could work in some of the same spots that PowerPic mod makes sense in without costing quite as much. If it's function over form for you, these would be better picks.
Twelve South PowerPic mod: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want a 10W wireless charger
- You want a wireless charger that doesn't spoil your home decor
- You want a charging stand that supports portrait and landscape orientations
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You only want to charge smaller accessories (like earbuds)
- You don't need a charging stand that does double duty as a photo frame
- You want the cheapest charging solution possible
Those wanting wireless chargers in more places without making their home look like an Apple Store should consider the Twelve South PowerPic mod. It features a stylish design that can complement any space and can be endlessly customized with your own photos.
If you just want a cheap, no-fuss wireless charger for your iPhone then the PowerPic mod is not for you. There are many cheaper charging pads and stands out there, or you could just keep cables everywhere if the clutter doesn't bother you, and save yourself a few bucks.
Bottom line: Though it sounds unusual, combining a photo frame and a wireless charging stand actually makes a lot of sense in areas where space is limited (like your desk or nightstand). Twelve South's PowerPic mod does both duties with aplomb, meaning you'll forgive the inconvenience of swapping out photos.
Adam Oram is a Senior Writer at iMore. He studied Media at Newcastle University and has been writing about technology since 2013. He previously worked as an Apple Genius and as a Deals Editor at Thrifter. His spare time is spent watching football (both kinds), playing Pokémon games, and eating vegan food. Follow him on Twitter at @adamoram.