A quality stand that falls short of execution expectations.
Aside from my iPhone, I would say that my most valuable tech piece is my Apple Watch. I have a Gen 1 watch and its battery is showing its age. Even when I charge it overnight, I sometimes don’t make it through an entire 8-hour day at work if I’m receiving a lot of notifications or my watch is very active. I keep my extra Apple Watch charging cable handy for the occasional ‘juice up’ in the middle of the day, but it’s not very practical when you are shuffling paperwork around — the watch easily gets knocked off its charger. That’s why I’ve been looking to find a simple, but well-styled watch stand to use at work. Studio Proper has a very nice option in their Apple Watch Dock.
The Apple Watch Dock from Studio Proper is an ‘elegant companion for your Apple Watch’ according to their website. It’s designed with premium materials like precision-machined aluminum and smooth silicone to cushion your watch while it’s charging. The base of the stand has a small adhesive square that secures the stand in a single spot on your desk (or another flat surface). The stand comes in two color combinations — gold/navy and silver/black — and retails for $69.95 from studioproper.com.
The first thing I noticed about the Apple Watch Dock from Proper was its packaging. It consisted of an interior box with a branded/graphic exterior sleeve. The description on the packaging shows its main features and makes notes that the dock is compatible with all series of Apple Watches and watch bands. The interior box is quite large and I estimate it to be about 4-5 times larger than the dock itself. It has a pre-formed foam insert that houses the stand and the silicone cover. That’s it. I personally feel that this is a lot of overkill for this stand. For one thing, the box could be reduced by about 50% and still have plenty of space for the stand, silicone cover, and some protective foam for the product. I like exclusive-looking packaging, but I don’t like excessive packaging.
There are no instructions included but some minor assembly is required. The outer silicone covering has to be installed along with your own Apple Charging Cable (it’s not integrated and does not come with one). The silicone covering has to fit/snap into a very thin groove in the stand in order to be secure. This is a tricky feat and it really takes a lot of pressure in order to get the covering into place. The inductive charger on the cable rests back just a bit from the surface of the dock. My watch was still able to get a good connection on it, but I had to be cautious about how I placed it on the charger otherwise it wouldn’t charge. The reason for the recession of the charging cable was due to the silicone cover having to fit into the aforementioned groove. The cover ends up pushing the charging cable back enough that it’s not flush with the surface.
I do like the weight of the stand and that an adhesive is included on the base. One of the issues I’ve had with other lightweight stands is that they just don’t support the weight of the Apple Watch well enough. The Studio Proper Apple Watch Dock is secure and because it has a low profile, the Apple Watch rests comfortably on it. The stand also supports Nightstand mode on the watch, which is a nice touch.
I typically look at stands like this as a temporary installation for my charging cable. When I travel, I like to take the cable on its own because I can pack it easier than if it’s attached to a stand. So, while I don’t mind donating my own charging cable to a stand, I want to make sure that I can easily use it autonomously, too. Proper made this a bit of a difficult feat. Because the cover fits so tightly, you really have to work to pull it back off to access/remove your charging cable. I ended up having to push the inductive charging surface of the cable out and then I had to pry the silicone off of the standby using a flat head screwdriver. In the process, I ended up scratching the stand.
I have somewhat conflicting feelings about this dock. On the one hand, it is a weighted, supportive stand for the Apple Watch. That says a lot because many stands fall short with the support for the watch. The stand also looks really sharp. It has a small, compact footprint on a desktop, which is always nice and does help to keep your watch charged. On the other hand, the packaging is excessive and I think that by rethinking the package, Proper could potentially lower the retail price of this stand for consumers, too. There are dozens of stands out there that had more than just a place to rest and charge your watch and they cost far less than the Studio Proper Apple Watch Dock.
In addition to the packaging issue and the price, I also found the design-functionality lacking. I didn’t like that it seemed that use of the charging cable was intended to be a permanent installation. I feel that if a company wants a cable to be a permanent fixture of a device then they should include it with their product. Therefore, I expected it to be far easier to remove the cable.
I do think that the Apple Watch Dock is a quality product. It seems to be built very well. I just think it has a few execution kinks that I hope will be worked on in future versions of the product.