With the iPhone 12, Apple introduced us to MagSafe, a tech that lets you clip magnetic accessories onto the iPhone like wireless chargers, cases and wallets. Well, Realme has brought the same feature to Android phones, but has one-upped Apple in a few key ways.
During a launch event for (opens in new tab) its new Realme Flash on YouTube, Realme unveiled MagDart - and the fact its MagSafe-alike is only three letters apart from its Apple rival, reflects how similar the tech seems to be in general. However, it seems Realme has seen what Apple is doing with MagSafe, and has turned MagDart up to 11 in a few key areas.
MagDart is a magnetic system for future phones from the company, with the flagship feature being clip-on wireless charging. Realme presents this as being much more convenient than wired or standard wireless powering, as it doesn't have a cable sticking out the side of the phone like when you use a wire, and doesn't have the misalignment problems of trying to use a wireless charging pad. Gaming was touted as a key area where this is useful.
In a major blow to Apple's iPhone powering system, which tops at a pithy 15W with MagSafe, Realme's MagDart goes up to 50W, which will be much more useful for gaming (as 15W might not even offset the power consumption of an intensive game). Realme also offers a 15W clip-on charger, and it went to great pains to emphasize how this was slimmer than Apple's equivalent.
In fact, lots of the MagDart launch event consisted of repeated shots fired at Apple, criticizing the design and speed of MagSafe charging in particular. It's a bold attitude, for sure, but Realme isn't exactly wrong.
Quite a few MagDart products were shown off. Some are similar to MagSafe versions like a clip-on wallet or power bank, but there were some more interesting ones. There's the Beauty Light, a soft ring light that can improve your portrait shots, or can be spun around to light up selfies. There's also a base for the aforementioned power bank, which can be combined to create a stand for a phone.
Talking of phones - when can we see MagDart? Well, the Realme Flash was shown off alongside the tech, which is a new Android phone with a Snapdragon 888 chipset, curved screen and three rear cameras, as well as a 4,500mAh battery which apparently charges from empty to full in just 54 minutes with the 50W MagDart accessory.
However not much information was provided on the phone, and Realme seemed to gloss over it quite a bit, which tells us one of two things: either the handset will come quite a bit later, or it's just a concept device that might not go on sale.
Realme is actually doing something impressive though, with backward compatibility for MagDart. A case is going on sale for the recent Realme GT, which lets it reap the benefits of MagDart by giving it a magnetic back like the Realme Flash. That's an impressive move on Realme's part, and is one of many reasons the headline of this article refers to MagDart as a 'better version' of MagSafe.
Exclusive: MagDart might come to non-Realme phones
While MagDart was designed by Realme, the feature might come to phones from other Android brands in the future. While no manufacturers have confirmed this as much, Realme confirmed to TechRadar that it is open to other brands using the tech in the future.
According to the company, "The tech we launched is a standard, so if other companies' devices fit it, it can also be used." So while this isn't outright confirmation that other companies will use MagDart, it's an olive branch Realme is offering out to other brands.
The smartphone world has a history of sharing worthy tech. Sony's Exmor camera sensors are used by loads of companies, and Samsung's displays are used by a lot too. Perhaps soon, we'll see Realme's MagDart used on other brand's smartphones. But who would be first?
Realme is owned by BBK Electronics which also owns Oppo, OnePlus and Vivo, and while all operate independently, we often see tech innovations shared between the companies, particularly Oppo and OnePlus. If another brand was going to use MagDart, one of those three would be most likely.
We'll have to wait and see, though. Cross-brand MagDart is still just a possibility right now, not a certainty, so maybe we won't see it happen at all.