Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
A desktop or bedside charger might not be everyone’s first choice to pack before travelling. But, as we travel with more devices, all needing more frequent charges, and hotels making it harder for us to do so, I was keen to check out and review the STM ChargeTree.
The ChargeTree is a 3-in-1 wireless charger, designed mostly for Apple devices, but can be used with any device that is QI wireless charging compatible. It has three charging surfaces for Smartphone, Watch and smaller devices such as wireless earbuds/cases.
STM Goods is an Australian brand whose range of cases, chargers and backpacks are “All designed to safeguard your tech devices, smarter than most”.
As I opened with, the ChargeTree is a 3-in-1 charging device, but that statement really only applies to Apple owners, as one of the three is the circular magnetic charger for Apple Watch. And, given that nearly all people who use Apple Watch will need to be iPhone owners too, the ChargeTree favours Apple users.
However, the other two charging surfaces are big and accessible for most other QI enabled wireless charging devices. To the front is the main surface for smartphones, and to the rear on the upper side of the base is the final wireless charging pad. Both of these are finished with a non-slip rubber surface to keep your devices in place.
Built into the smartphone shelf are three charging LED indicators concealed in a frosted plastic that dims the light emitted by them to not light up a room in the dark. A solid light indicates a device is charging, whilst a flashing light is meant to draw your attention to notify you something is not on the Wireless pad correctly. All lights turn off once the device is fully charged.
The ChargeTree uses a single USB-C to USB-A cable that ships with it, but there is no power adapter. You’ll need your own, and STM recommends an 18W/2A wall charger which is what I used to test the ChargeTree during this review.
The STM ChargeTree does not offer any quick charging capabilities. Still, I didn’t find that too much of an issue during the review because I’d expect anyone who decides to travel with one would use it at the hotel overnight. But even without QC capabilities, the ChargeTree doesn’t hang about!
The speed at which a device is charged depends on the device itself and how many you try charging at the same time. For example, I tested the ChargeTree on an iPhone 11 Pro and Watch Series 5, both of which were completely flat, to begin with.
The Apple Watch reached a full charge in 2 hours and iPhone 11 Pro at 2 hours 45 mins. This was done simultaneously and with an 18W plug as recommended, so overnight charging is what the ChargeTree is best suited for.
An area that drew me to the STM ChargeTree was its design. The ‘C’ shape is sturdy and strong, with no moving parts or arms sticking out. This makes it a much better travel charging solution than those that have parts extending out, and that could easily break or snap off.
But whilst the build is robust, the colour isn’t. The STM ChargeTree only comes in White, and during the review period, I was constantly handling it and trying it in various cases and packing cubes. The surface, ever so slightly, did retain some dirt. Now, if you’re reading this review to purchase a ChargeTree for home use only, then I’m confident this will not affect you.
If, thought, the ChargeTree is going to live in your travel bag, it’ll soon show on the surface.
On the reverse of the front panel is an air vent to prevent any overheating, but at no point during the review did the STM ChargeTree even feel moderately warm, and I used it as my sole charger for 3 weeks.
On the ledge for the Smartphone and on the surface of the base charger is a non-slip grey rubber, which works well against the white frame. Both work well to keep the ChargeTree in place when I was tapping away on my phone while it was on the charger.
The charger for Apple Watch on the top is the only surface out of the three that doesn’t use the grey non-slip coating as it’s magnetic.
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Stay at home or Fly Away?
The answer to this is going to come down to the type of traveller you are. Personally, the ChargeTree works for me, gives me a single charging platform for 3 different devices and allows me to leave a couple of expensive chargers/cables at home.
When I’m travelling to attend conferences, I tend to bring a small ‘tech’ packing cube inside my carry-on. The ChargeTree fits inside nicely with the cable and a single power adapter wrapped up in the gap, which is meant for earbuds, overall saving me a bit of space than before.
If you’re a packing expert who can do a full week from a carry-on, you’d either welcome the need to pack less with the ChargeTree option, and it gets around the hotel restrictions on the number of power outlets by the bed. Does anyone even use those alarm clocks in hotels anymore?
And, after Covid, who would want to? I’d rather have a ChargeTree.
STM ChargeTree Specifications
|ChargeTree 3-in-1 Charger|
|Dimensions||13.2 x 11.2 x 6.4cm|
|Output||Front | 9V=1.1A Max 10W|
Top | 5V=0.6A Max 3W
Bottom | 5V=1A Max 5W
|Charge Time||Varies depending on device and amount of devices being charged|
|In the Box||ChargeTree Charger|
USB-C to USB-A Cable
The STM ChargeTree is $79 direct from STM Goods.