Not too many years ago Power Mat blew up the scene at CES with their wireless charging system. The reality is that it was anything but wireless as you needed to have the Mats plugged into a socket, and the phone had to be placed directly on top. Moreover, you needed to adhere a specially designed case to the phone to make it work, which in the case of the iPhone added too much bulk to offset the convenience.
Fast forward a number of years and now Powermat faces stiff competition from a variety of manufacturers, including a number of handset makes that are now including their own wireless battery tech directly into the handset, such as Nokia’s Lumia 920 and the Nexus 4. Contained within these handset are a wireless battery standard that works with any Qi (a Wireless Power Consortium standard for inductive charging) compatible device.
Such a compatible device is Google’s own Nexus 4 wireless charger. It’s a product I bought over almost two months ago, and not long after stopped holding the phone in place and in turn stopped charging my Nexus 4. A competing product is Tylt’s Vu wireless charging pad. It’s a product that I happen to run into at CES this past January and although they lack the spit and polish (and money) of Google, it’s one that I’m far happier with.
Out of the box the Tylt Vu isn’t very impressive – largely because instead of using a microUSB port to connect to the wall, it uses a propriety plug that looks not only cheap, but a bit antiquated. But for the most part that is the only demoting factor about this wireless charging pad.
Unlike Google’s version, the Tylt VU doesn’t use magnets or a rubber ring in an attempt of giving the illusion that your phone is floating mid air. You simply drop your phone onto the ledge and charging begins. You can place it horizontally, vertically, or ever-so slightly off-center and it will grab a charge.
By the very nature of inductive charging it will take longer than plugging your phone into the wall, but since I charge my phone over night it’s a none issue – Tylt says the Vu charges in the same time as plugging in. I assume many of you will probably do the same. But note, that if you have a tendency to reach for items on your night stand at night, it’s easy enough to jostle the Tylt Vu and knock your phone off-center enough to result in no charge – this happened to me once in 30 days. Nevertheless, it’s a caveat I’m willing to accept since I’m no longer damaging the microUSB end of the my cords as a result of picking up my charging handset in the morning and tugging on it to get enough slack to interact with my phone.
Of note, the Tylt Vu comes in a variety of colors, including red, black, a neon like green, and blue. At the base of the unit is an LED light that indicates when the phone is connected and charging, though it’s not viewable from all angles, especially when standing above it.
The Tylt Vu may not be the most opulent or graceful of wireless chargers, but it works, which is anything but my experience with Google’s Nexus 4 wireless charger. Furthermore, it’s likely to last the test of time, since it doesn’t use any tricks to hold your phone in place; just a simple ledge. Just be mindful that the phone must be relatively center to the pad to enable charging.
I’m told the Tylt Vu will soon hit Kickstarter.com and will cost $39 for the first 100 backers, $49 for the first 300 after that, and $59 for all other backers.
Original article by Christen Costa