Yet another Android phone maker is 'borrowing' this key iPhone feature

The iPhone 12 with a MagSafe charger
The iPhone 12 with a MagSafe charger (Image credit: TechRadar)

When the iPhone 12 launched, we were also introduced to MagSafe, a feature in which you could connect accessories like wireless chargers, cases and wallets to the phone using magnets.

In 2021, we saw Realme unveil a very similar feature called MagDart, which was only for magnetic charging, and also which hasn't actually been used in a smartphone yet. Well, it sounds like another Android phone maker is throwing its hat into the magnetic accessory ring.

Chinese company ZTE has been teasing its Nubia Z40 series of smartphones, which is set to launch on February 25, and in a series of posts on Chinese social media platform Weibo, it's shown off what looks startlingly like MagSafe.

The most blatant tease is this video which shows a magnetic charger clipping onto the back of the device and charging the thing up, though a poster for the phone's launch also shows it, which is how we know this is the Nubia Z40 Pro that'll get the feature.

It sounds like we'll be seeing this product unveiled in China on February 25, but could we see the Z40 series shown off for an international audience too? Well ZTE is listed as an exhibitor at MWC 2022, an annual tech conference which is set to start on February 28, so we could see it debut there for the rest of us.

Analysis: ZTE is at it again

The Nubia Z series is where ZTE tests out weird and wacky new tech, like the Nubia Z20 which had two full-sized screens, one on the front and one on the back of the device, and the brand can be relied on to try more interesting things than we typically see in the mobile world.

Sure, Realme also tried to bring this feature to Android phones, but there are two reasons why ZTE's version could be more interesting. 

Firstly, unlike Realme (and most other Chinese phone makers for that matter), it sells phones in the US.

Secondly, while some brands frequently show off novel tech gadgets, ZTE is one of the few which actually can be relied on to release these products. So the Z40 Pro could get us more excited for magnetic charging than Realme's MagDart did.

We'll have to see what the Nubia Z40 devices are like when they launch, because a rubbish phone with an interesting feature is still a rubbish phone. But we've always got time for ZTE, with its affordable and weird phones, so we look forward to testing this out.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.