Anker pitches this station as being ideal for the center of conference room tables or shared workspaces. The product’s page has plenty of pictures of people who are way too happy to be at work on opposite sides of a table, with all their laptops, phones, and wireless charging pads plugged in. I’m reasonably sure that it’s great for that use, too.
However, I prefer to use it in two locations. One is sitting on a table or shelf next to my couch. When guests come over, they inevitably want some place to charge their phone, and having a retractable cable is a handy 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 are working on our laptops in bed, or we simply want to plug our phones in before bed, the retractable cables feel so much better than having a pile of different cables laying around. It just makes my bedroom feel cleaner and more welcoming when cables are hidden unless I need them. While wireless charging pads would also clear up some space, they still run into the problem of not being able to charge and use a device at the same time.
Perfection Within Reach
All that said, there are two minor issues I have and would love to see addressed in future models. Most prominently, the charging station has a small, circular light on the top that, as far as I can tell, exists solely to let you know that it’s plugged in. While I appreciate the feedback, and it wouldn’t be an issue for its intended purpose in office spaces, it’s distractingly bright if used in a bedroom. I typically have to put a small box on top to block the light.
And speaking of putting a little box on top, the wide, flat space on top seems to be begging for a built-in wireless charging pad. I’m sure fitting two 3-feet cable coils into the same space as a wireless charger would be an engineering challenge, so I might be hoping for too much here, but if there were a variant of this station that could wirelessly charge a phone, it’d be my pick. Hey, maybe the phone would even block out that annoying light.
The Anker 647 charging station is a little bulky, but it packs enough power and flexibility to earn its centerpiece spot in whatever space you need to charge a lot of gadgets. It may be designed for offices, but it’s become my favorite charger at home. All it took to elevate it over the competition were some retractable cables.