Anker touts this station as ideal for the center of conference room tables or shared workspaces. The product page contains many photos of people too happy to be at work on opposite sides of a table, with all their laptops, phones and wireless chargers plugged in. I’m reasonably sure it’s ideal for this use as well.
However, I prefer to use it in two places. One of them sits on a table or shelf next to my couch. When guests come to my house, they inevitably want a place to charge their phone, and having a retractable cable is a convenient way to give them an option without making a mess in my living room.
The second is on my bedside table. If my partner and I work on our laptops in bed, or just want to plug in our phones before bed, retractable cables seem SO much better than having a pile of different cables lying around. It just makes my room cleaner and more welcoming when the cables are hidden unless I need them. Although wireless chargers would also free up space, they still run into the problem of not being able to charge. And use a device at the same time.
Perfection within reach
That said, I have two minor issues and would like to see them fixed in future models. Most importantly, the charging station has a little circular light on the top that, as far as I can tell, exists solely to let you know it’s plugged in. While I appreciate the feedback this wouldn’t be a problem for its intended use in office spaces, it is annoyingly bright if used in a bedroom. I usually have to put a small box on top to block the light.
And speaking of putting a small box on top, the wide, flat space on top seems to beg for a built-in wireless charger. I’m sure fitting two 3ft spools of cable into the same space as a wireless charger would be a technical challenge, so I might be hoping too much here, but what if there was a variation of this station that could charge a phone wirelessly, that would be my choice. Hey, maybe the phone would even block that annoying light.
The Anker 647 Charging Station is a bit bulky, but it offers enough power and flexibility to earn its central place in any space you need to charge many gadgets. It may be designed for offices, but it’s become my favorite charger at home. All it took was a few retractable cables to raise it above the competition.