Fund This: Znaps adds MagSafe-style connector to your phone -- for $9

This Kickstarter project could be the answer to many a MagSafe-lover's prayer.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Oh, yes! Znaps

One thing I've long admired about MacBooks: Apple's super-cool, super-logical MagSafe, the power connector that pops on and off with magnetic ease. Indeed, I've often wondered why the company didn't bring this tech to iPhones.

Third-party developers to the rescue! Znaps is a MagSafe-style magnetic adapter for smartphones -- and not just iPhones, but also Android and other Micro-USB-powered devices. (That's huge, because you end up with a reversible Micro-USB connector. See above.)

The Znaps Lightning connector. Znaps

Alas, it's not quite a product yet, but rather a Kickstarter campaign looking to raise around $94,000. As of this writing, it's already one-third funded, with a full 29 days left to go. (Prediction: fully funded within 24 hours.)

If this sounds a bit familiar, you may be thinking of the Cabin, an iPhone-only battery sled that also leveraged the MagSafe concept. It debuted on Kickstarter almost a year ago to the day, and was successfully funded almost immediately. However, developer Hevo Labs started shipping product only about a month ago (according to comments on that same Kickstarter page), meaning backers had to wait almost an entire year. What's more, the company doesn't appear to be taking new orders; the "Order Now" button merely leads back to the Kickstarter page.

Not exactly a success story. But Znaps (wisely) isn't going the sled route, instead offering a simple two-piece kit: a magnetic adapter for your existing sync/charge cable and a tiny plug for your Micro-USB or Lightning port.

This is, at best, a small convenience, a way to connect your charging cable one-handed and pop it loose with a simple yank. Thankfully, with this small convenience comes a small price: Backers can get a Znaps connector and adapter (Lightning or Micro-USB) for just $9 US, plus $3 for shipping. There are numerous higher levels with more connectors/adapters, like $18 US for two of each.

The developer estimates a November delivery, but remember that's an estimate. Kickstarter projects are notoriously late, as backers of the aforementioned Cabin can attest.

Even so, I'm in. Love the idea, love the price. Your thoughts?

Update 1/23/17: I've heard from numerous readers who never received their product, despite that fact that Znaps is now selling it directly via their web site. Similarly, if you check the comments section here, you'll see that even more readers were burned by this Kickstarter campaign. (Currently there's also a Change.org petition to demand refunds from Kickstarter and/or Znaps. As of this writing it has over 5,000 signatures.)

This is, unfortunately, a not-uncommon occurrence with crowdfunded tech products, which is why I stopped writing about them nearly a year ago. In the meantime, my repeated attempts to reach Znaps have gone unanswered. I just tried one last time and will update the post if I receive a response.