We used to keep pictures by our bed, but now it’s just phone and watch chargers. But if you want the best of both worlds, Twelve South’s PowerPic Mod is a clever combo.
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What is PowerPic Mod charger?
Another of the many, many wireless chargers you can find about the place, Twelve South’s PowerPic Mod stands out by doing some convergence in its stand design, albeit in a way we’ve never seen before: including a picture frame.
Depending on how old you are or if you recall your parent’s bedside tables, you may remember that it was normal to have family photos grace the side of the bed, often alongside an alarm clock.
These days, many of us don’t. Between the obvious need for a mobile phone charger and probably a lamp, plus maybe a dose of minimalism inspired by either the latest IKEA catalogue or Marie Kondo’s approach to tidying and minimalism, our bedsides are fairly bare. We just don’t out that much there anymore, and there’s little wonder why: our phones have it all.
A beacon of convergence, our phones have our clock, our photos, our access to the world, and for many of us, our life. Keeping them charged nightly is often the most important thing each day, so that’s what typically sits next to our bed.
But what if you still yearn for a bedside photo, and yet still need your phone charged?
Hold up, because Twelve South is marrying the two ideas together, bringing that dose of minimalism and allowing you to join the dots with its PowerPic Mod wireless charger.
What does it do?
While this incarnation of the PowerPic may look like a 4×6 photo in a plastic block, it is, in fact, a photo frame with a Qi wireless charging pad inside.
Plug a USB-C cable into the back and then into a power pack, and this picture frame will charge your phone using Qi wireless charging up to 20W depending on what your phone supports and what power pack you’ve plugged in. On recent Android phones, that probably means 10 to 20W, while iPhones using Qi can support up to 15W.
There’s no MagSafe here, though, and also no power pack included in the box. You will need to bring your own wall plug.
Does it do the job?
You don’t actually need to use the photo frame if you don’t want a photo, and can leave the pad without one if you prefer a charger with a single block of plastic. That’s fine, albeit a little boring.
But if you do want a photo, you simply snap the magnetic cover off, load in a 4×6 photo, and snap it back on. Whether it’s portrait or landscape, you then place the photo-equipped charging block in that orientation in the holder when you’re done.
Interestingly, the Twelve South Power Pic Mod will only charge in the orientation you leave it, so if you set up a 4×6 in landscape, you’re only charging your phone in landscape, laying the phone on its side.
On an iPhone with iOS 17, you’ll get the StandBy feature to kick in if it’s enabled, but if you want to charge the phone standing up, you can’t unless you reorient the charger to be in portrait, as well, which can make a landscape photo look a little awkward. Twist your head, and all.
Ultimately, it’s your choice, and that is totally fine.
What does it need?
What’s not your choice is what you need to make the Power Pic Mod work, because as great an idea as it is, we wish Twelve South would include a power pack in the box. It would just complete the package properly, which is missing in action.
You get the stand and a cable, but no power pack, which some would argue is half of the whole thing, especially now that phone manufacturers don’t typically include those anymore.
Hopefully you have one laying around, but just make sure it’s a reasonable power wattage, otherwise you’ll have a slow charge.
Oh, and make sure your phone case is on securely, too. The wireless charge isn’t so strong on the Power Pic Mod that it deals well with phone cases that aren’t securely attached to the phone. You won’t get your phone recharged if that happens, leaving you frustrated and annoyed.
Is it worth your money?
Priced at just under $100 in Australia, it’s very surprising Twelve South hasn’t gone that extra mile and included the charger. At that price, it should definitely be here.
You are basically paying for the clever design, but not the final package, and the $99.95 RRP seems to be pretty consistent for street pricing, too.
At that price, we think the Power Pic Mod is a little over what it should be. It needs that power pack to complete the package. Without it, the pricing should really be a max of $70 to $80. The power block isn’t much money, sure, and you may have one, but $100 for a block of plastic that won’t charge your phone without an extra power brick is a little more than we’re willing to argue value for.
Yay or nay?
If you can find the PowerPic Mod for less than $90, it will definitely make more sense than the $100 cost, which feels a little higher than it should be.
The idea is clever, appealing to folks who miss that human connection we used to keep by our bedside, or even those folks who want their chargers to be more than simply charging devices you have to have.