26
Nov
sc

Google is in the habit these days of selling extremely well-priced mobile devices like the new Nexus 5, but the same cannot be said for the accessories. Cases and chargers are all more expensive from the Play Store than the third-party alternatives, but sometimes it's worth the cost. Last year's Nexus wireless charger was one of the few Qi-compatible units out there, but the same cannot be said this year. Google's updated Nexus Wireless Charger comes in a little cheaper than last year's at $50, and it has some cool features. Let's see how it stacks up.

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Design

The Nexus charger is tiny, I mean it's really tiny. It's a small flat block 60mm (2.36-inches) on a side and 12.5mm (0.5-inches) tall. The sides taper into an even more narrow base, which really makes the whole package seem that much smaller. Just telling you how small it is doesn't do it justice, so here it is with a standard US quarter on it.

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The base of the charger is grippy – a little like the charging surface of the 2012 wireless orb. It feels like the rubber cup on a dashboard mount and it sticks to any smooth surface, like for example a desk or nightstand. The plastic cover you remove from the bottom before use makes it clear the surface can be reconditioned with a little water, but a solvent cleaner will prevent it from sticking.

This things sticks incredibly strongly – I've had it affixed to the same spot on my desk for a few hours, and it takes a lot up upward force to free it. Giving it a little twist helps it along, though. If you're having flashbacks, you probably have the old Nexus charger. It's a similar maneuver to freeing the Nexus 4 from the Orb, but in reverse. Ideally, you won't be moving the charger around too much.

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The charging surface is very smooth and shiny, with a faint Nexus logo in the center. The unit comes with a microUSB charger that has a slightly blocky plastic surround on the plug. It slots into the port on the charger snugly and is easy to disconnect for plugging into a device the old fashioned way.

Does It Work?

The reason for the sticky bottom is that this unit has a fairly strong magnet in it to hold your device in place. When you lift the phone or tablet up, you don't want the charger to come up with it. This was one of the issues with last year's model, but it's effectively solved with this one.

The magnet makes it easier to align the device for charging, but it's not perfect. For example, the Nexus 7 has a larger surface area than the Nexus 5, but only a small segment of that space will reach the internal charging coils. The magnetic attraction is strongest over this area, so you can feel the tug of attraction guiding the tablet toward the right spot. I don't want to give you the impression that it's hard to align the Nexus 7 with the charger – it isn't. However, it's not magic. You do sort of get a feel for how strongly the magnet will hold when it's in the right spot. However, it's still possible to attach the Nexus 7 and have it too far off-center to charge. With the Nexus 5, it's much easier to attach correctly.

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Both the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 7 hold very well, but surprisingly, the Nexus 4 works too. It doesn't have nearly the hold of the N5/N7, and it doesn't seem to hold more strongly around the active wireless charging area of the back. So the N4 works just fine, but it's really no better for aligning the phone than any other wireless charger.

Because the charging surface is level with the table it sits on, you don't get the upright positioning you had with the old charger. Depending on how far away the device is, you might still be able to use it while docked, but it's not super-convenient. However, the wireless charger sticks to everything so well, you could probably place it on a sloped surface and have no issues – not that you probably have a lot of convenient 45-degree angles in your house. Because it does hold the phone or tablet off the tabletop a quarter-inch, you can still easily press the power button to turn it on.

There is no LED on the Nexus charger to let you know it's working, which I know will annoy some people. It was the same with last year's model, but I can live with this. Thankfully, it doesn't beep at you when a device is placed on it to get some juice, which is strangely common (and completely unnecessary) with Qi chargers.

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The Nexus Wireless Charger outputs 1.8A, which is only a little less than most USB chargers at 2A. A few Qi chargers can do 2A, but I think this one is close enough that you don't have to fret. There doesn't appear to be too much heat generation with the Nexus charger either. The Nexus 4 does get a little warm, but that phone was prone to thermal issues. The charger seems to work reliably about 5-6mm above the surface, so an average case should work fine, assuming it's not made out of something that would interfere with the signal.

How Does It Compare?

The Nexus Charging Orb clocked in at $60 when it was released last spring. At least on that count, the new charger is a little more reasonable. Still, $50 is a lot when you consider the selection of wireless chargers has expanded quite a lot this year.

There are really two tiers of wireless chargers – there are budget units that get the job done for about $20 and are usually made by companies you've never heard of, then there are higher-quality chargers that work a little better and have useful features. The new Nexus charger is definitely in the second group. The build quality is excellent and it's very easy to use with the magnetic attachment. I've noticed that a number of cheaper Qi chargers actually make noise while operating – a faint clicking sound. Others are picky about keeping a device at or near 100% charge. This new Nexus unit doesn't seem to have those issues.

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It's under there

As for the price, $50 is a lot for a charger. With that said, the Nexus Wireless Charger compares well to other high-end devices – the Tylt Vu costs $70 and the Samsung Charging Pad is $60. I can't tell you to go out and spend $50 on a phone charger, but if you're going to go for a high end device, this is probably the one to get. The magnet is really neat and the unit has a very small footprint. I suspect it will also have better long-term utility as all phones are at least a little magnetic. I worry about the longevity of the adhesive on the bottom, but only time will tell if it holds up.

[Google Play]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

  • ryan

    Is the magnet strong enough to be able to wall mount the charger and use it vertically?

    • http://www.whattheschmidt.com/ Dustin

      Hi Ryan,

      I haven't tried this but the magnet is very strong. I doubt you would have an issue with it not being held on, at least at first.

      • Treyvon

        Will it fall once it stop charging

    • Bob G
      • Matt

        That answers what I was coming here to ask!

      • unni123456

        In the video, he says he don't recommend trying the vertical charging though!

        • Bob G

          Well duh! No one wants to be held accountable for what you do with your spent money.

        • brkshr

          If you can mount the charger to the wall, not just stick it to the wall, there shouldn't be any problems.

          • GraveUypo

            i think the biggest issue is the phone falling from the charger, not the charger falling from the wall. could be wrong

          • My1

            then you mount it right above a shelf with enough space that your phone or tab is peroperly positioned and cannot fall off...

          • brkshr

            I have one. That's not a problem at all with the N5! I actually mounted it in my jeep a couple days ago and the phone (vertical) didn't fall off once. Keep in mind that a jeep isn't exactly the smoothest ride either. I've also had my N7(13) charging on this thing vertically. While I know it wouldn't hold in my jeep, it did just fine in my house.

  • Muffy

    I've often wondered about the use of a mobile device around magnets. Can magnetism affect storage and corrupt or erase information?

    • Bob G

      On super old devices of yesterdecades sure. But not of devices today.

    • Jeff Weatherup

      There has been speculation that it could have adverse affects to the compass. However, if it's deigned by LG/Google to pair, then it's probably a safe bet that it wouldn't be a problem. Since the internal memory is electronic, I wouldn't think there would be an issue with data corruption. Do your research online first, though.

  • http://www.whattheschmidt.com/ Dustin

    Purchased this the day it come out in the store and received it within 2 days. I'm really liking the charger, having used one with my Palm Pre (yeah, I know) I can say I do miss the angle though. It is kind of a pain to have to look at the charging icon each time you set it down, I typically put my phone on silent before charging so I don't get a sound notification.

    Overall, nice little device!

  • gru

    This charger does not output 1.8A, that is the input value. Also, I don't know of any QI chargers that output 2A.

  • JP

    Hook it up to a portable slim anker charger, and you'll have wireless charging in your pocket.

    • Joshua Smith

      Do you have huge pockets? (We're talking the charger + the Anker Slim2/3 + the phone, right?)

      • JP

        Yes I do, to fit all the rockets in my pockets

  • Mayoo

    Can't wait to get mine. Supposed to ship on 29th ... had to wait for the black bumper.

    But you had me worried about the adhesive though. Maybe a plastic suction thing would have been a better choice. I don't know how they are called but I've seen that on a table-mounted tape dispenser.

  • http://blog.tonysarju.com/ Tony Sarju

    I can't seem to justify spending about $67 after tax and shipping for this unit. I ordered 4x Nokia DT-900's for under $80. They are currently en route to me.

    • Mayoo

      I will probably get those Nokia for my work and for secondary locations in my house (desk, living room, bathroom ... for the lols). The Nexus one will be for daily usage in the bedroom. I just couldn't resist buying one - yeah I'm a Nexus fanboy.

  • dexgen

    Why does no one seem to mention if these chargers work with cases? Both my N5 and N7 are encased so it's pretty important for me to know if I have to take it out to use wireless charging.

    • Daniel Ariza

      me and my friend tried with the spigen slim armor and it did not charge unfortunately.

      • C0MMENTR

        Did you take the metal plate off and just leave the TPU?

    • USSENTERNCC1701E

      This is in large dependent upon the case. Some case materials have a different magnetic permittivity, if this is too high, a wireless charger won't work with that case. Some case manufactures, such as Sedeio will specifically list their cases as wireless charging compatible.

    • John

      My Nokia Qi charger works with both m N5 and my N7 through my cases

      • Ryan Laursen

        I'm using the Nokia DT-900 Qi to top off my phone during the day. It's lightly slower than the stock charger, but not much.

    • Steve B

      It should. I have a GS3 with an aftermarket QI receiver inside of an Otterbox Commuter and my phone charges perfectly fine with my QI pad. The Commuter case is fairly thick, plus the rubber buffer. I would guess the phone actually sits about 1/4 inch off of the charger with the case on and I've never had an issue.

      I also have a Spigen Ultra Hybrid on my Nexus 5 and it work flawlessly as well. I think you'd be safe with nearly any case.

      FYI, I have the white Samsung QI charger.

    • rideoutthetide

      I received my Nexus charger yesterday. Yes on the case for the Nexus 5 (tried both the official "Bumper" case and a Ringke Hybrid. Charging and magnets worked through the case.

      The same can't be said for the Nexus 7. I tried it with the official Google Cover and it was a no-go. Tried every position possible. It did work with my Nokia wireless charger however...so there's that.

      Hope that helps.

    • Lars Jeppesen

      Using cases is like having sex with condoms...

      Just sayin' :)

      • kpjimmy

        Having sex with condoms...we still do it...like the saying goes...no glove, no love...

        • Lars Jeppesen

          Haha nice

      • Cole Boggess

        But I don't like babies nor broken phones/tablets

      • Dude

        You mean my Nexus 7 can catch a virus if it's not encased?

        • just sayin

          i don't know what kind of sex this guy is having!!!

      • Just sayin

        it's nothing alike at all,you won't have a baby, or catch an std if your phone isn't encased!

        just sayin

      • Just sayin

        and i can't believe you are even comparing sex to a phone w/o a case!!!!!!

    • Chris

      "The charger seems to work reliably about 5-6mm above the surface, so an average case should work fine, assuming it's not made out of something that would interfere with the signal."

      He did....

    • Hasan Saeed Chattha

      "The charger seems to work reliably about 5-6mm above the surface, so an average case should work fine, assuming it's not made out of something that would interfere with the signal."

      At least read the article.

      • mcored

        No it does not. I bought it and proved this is wrong.

    • AussieB

      I think it depends on your case. I called Google and they said its not designed to work with cases…although their own website says it works with their cases. If you look at reviews of cases and the unit itself on Amazon, you will see there are different reports on whether it works. IT seems to be designed to work best with the naked phone though

    • mcored

      Exactly! I am so disappointed with my purchase. Here is what happened to me:

      https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MichaelDelpach/posts/BgCGWi7XkSD

  • David Marion

    I was going to order one of these, but cancelled my order because I read this in a different review.

    "The Nexus 7 takes about two hours and 56 minutes to charge using its power adapter, but six hours and six minutes to charge using the wireless charger. The wireless charger draws about 25 percent less power, but it takes 100 percent more time to charge the tablet."

    Can anyone confirm or deny that a wireless charger, specifically this one, takes that much longer to charge?

    • Joshua Smith

      I think something must be wrong with that test.

      Qi charges at max <5W, but seems to usually hit near that target. The Nexus 7 (2013) runs at about 6.6W on its native charger.

      Anandtech tested the Samsung Qi charger on the GS4 some time ago and it came up quite close, even though the GS4 charges at a high 2.0A. (it was a 35% increase in charge time) - http://www.anandtech.com/show/7134/a-look-at-samsungs-galaxy-s-4-qi-wireless-charging-pad-review

      My own experience with 3 different Qi chargers doesn't line up with that review's result either. I usually experience around 150% charge time max.

      Also, and this is the biggest point IMO: I use wireless charging next to my couch, next to my bed, at work, places where I don't really need to charge quickly, but the phone will have lots of time to just sit there, and I may pick it up and send a text during a commercial break or something. The convenience way outweighs the charge time. If I need to charge quick, I'll grab a wire.

      • David Marion

        From what I'm seeing on the other review I was referring to, the Nexus 7 (2013) draws 7.5W of power on a normal charger, while the Nexus 5 pulls 6.6W, Using this wireless charger, they pull 6.1W and 6.0W. I can understand how a phone wouldn't be affected by the difference as much with the 0.6W difference, rather than the 1.4W difference that's seen with the tablet.

        You do have an extremely good point at the end. I now regret cancelling my order. Not only have you convinced me to get one, but now I want 3. You're a good salesman.

        • Joshua Smith

          I got the 6.6W number from Anandtech: http://anandtech.com/show/7176/nexus-7-2013-mini-review/5

          "The in-box supplied charger is a 1.35 A variant, which isn’t anything special. Connected to my special linear power supply and battery charge downstream port controller which negotiates the proper standard, I saw the Nexus 7 (2013) draw a max of 1.32 A (6.6 watts), which makes sense given the supplied charger. I don’t have a 0–100 percent charge time number yet."

          ...so who knows. And thanks! I have no vested interest, I just love my wireless chargers. I have (in order of preference): An LG WCP-300 (best), a Nokia DT-900, and an Anker one from Amazon (worst). I wish I had the Google one but I can't justify a 4th one.

    • brkshr

      They do take longer. All wireless chargers do at this point.

  • http://blog.tonysarju.com/ Tony Sarju

    I can't seem to justify $67 after tax and shipping for this unit. As elegant as it is, it's just too much. I purchased 4x Nokia DT-900's for under $80. They are en route.

    • Pdiddy187

      I have a Nokia DT-900 as well. It seems to charge slower than the generic one I purchased from China.

  • RantGirlRants

    I still use the Orb with my Nexus 7'13. Love it. Never slides off, and I turn the tablet to landscape and it works like a nice little dock.

    This seems really cool. Not sure if I'll pick it up or not.

  • brkshr

    I love mine! I'll be getting at least one more and maybe 2 or 3 more when I have the money to waist. One for work (where it is now), one for my Jeep, one each for my nightstand and living room. This thing is well worth the money if you have an N5 &/or an N7(13). I have both.

    • Tony

      Can you tell us how well the magnets hold? If I were to mount the charger on a vertical surface will I have to worry about the phone falling off? How about if this were in a car (mounted more or less vertically), would the vibrations loosen the phone from the charger? Thanks

      • brkshr

        The N5 & N7(13) hold vertically, no problem at all. I can shake the N5 around pretty good & it holds upside down. I have tested the N5 vertically in my jeep (not a smooth ride at all) and it holds just fine. The N7(13) will not hold vertically in a jeep.

      • Erick Tai

        Unfortunately my USB ports in my car (and Macbook Pro) don't seem to be able to power this wireless charger. They're both powerful enough to charge iPads (2.1A) Sucks!! It works fine when I use the wireless charger's official power brick

        • Erick Tai

          Followup: Borrowed my brother's 2.1A Scosche car adapter and it works!

  • ChangWizzle

    For those that don't require the magnet, these work just fine:

    http://www.amazon.com/Lerway-Wireless-Power-Charger-Lumia920/dp/B00E9MUNSO

    Just plugged it into the charger than came with the N5. *Seems* to charge about as fast as plugging the phone directly into the cable, but I haven't taken any charge time measurements. I also have my N5 in the Spigen Neo Hybrid case. Oh charges the new N7 as well.

    • Steve B
      • eturk001

        Thanks for the tip on this one! Looks good. Unfortunately looks like the seller is raising the price continually.

    • eturk001

      I just returned my Lerway. Beware, the package and product say 1A output but it's only gives just under 0.5A, so you can see charge times 3-4 hrs. The Nokia DT-900, which says 750mA gives 650mA to the phone. Lerway has nice build quality but really weak output.

  • TY

    Seriously, someone please start to review qi chargers by measuring their performance, i.e. efficiency and heat produced.

  • Randy S

    I saw this on Reddit but ATT has the Nokia pads (black, white, or yellow) priced at $24.50 and if you buy 3 or more you get 25% off: http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/accessories/chargers/sku6290260.html

    A friend and I bought 3 and the total was about the same as buying one of these Nexus ones.

    It works well with my N5 - even through LG's disappointing QuickCover.

    EDIT: Looks like AP had a post on it as well: http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/09/11/deal-alert-nokia-dt-900-qi-wireless-charger-for-24-50-only-18-88-each-if-you-buy-3-usually-50/

  • Matt

    This should work if plugged into a car charger, right? Instead of the car charger being plugged into the phone, plug it into the wireless charger, and stick the phone to the charger while driving?

    • Steve B

      Yes. However, if you use navigation your device most likely won't charge/or charge nearly as fast because of the power draw. Qi isn't capable of charging at the same rate as wired. Also, keep an eye on heat build up if using nav while charging during the warmer months. If you're not careful, you could fry your new phone.

  • Roemraw

    Just bought the Lugulake wireless charger today (with the current abysmal batterylife of the Nex5 I needed a power pack anyway, at least until the battery drain software issues are fixed)

  • b00sted

    Cant go wrong with the Nokia Chargers from AT&T

    • Jeff Weatherup

      That's what I bought last week, and it's been just fine so far.

    • Jordan Long

      2 for $26 (from ATT)

      • cabbiebot

        Same here :) Got two of them. But, have you noticed that your N5 is warm after a while on it? It says on the bottom that its only 750ma draw but the official one David describes is 1.8a, so I'm a bit confused as to why its happening.

        • Jordan Long

          I only charged once via the wireless charger. i didn't notice any heat, but it was in a cool room with a window open.

        • eturk001

          I tested the Nokia plate. Battery Monitor Widget show 650mA max draw so about 3hrs for full charge. Hoping someone will tell us the Nexus amps and total charging time. Seems to be a secret no one wants to look at. LOL

          • cabbiebot

            very much interested to hear this as well. good idea on using Battery Monitor Widget

    • RC

      How many amps is that?

  • duse

    You can't review this without telling us how long it takes to do a full charge vs. using the cable. The N5 charges really fast, and it'd be a shame to lose this when charging wirelessly. Ars Technica quotes twice the charge time, which is disappointing.

  • Heisenberg
  • BillygotTalent

    So does this work with the N7 from 2012? I have heard it doesn't, but I believe on the play store it does say that it works with the N7 (but no specific mentioning if '12 or just '13).

    • DrWu

      The 2012 N7 does not have built in wireless charging.

      • BillygotTalent

        Ah thanks. Did not know that.

  • TheLastAngel

    I just bought a decent clothes iron for 32€. Why would I pay 50€ for a coil, a magnet and a USB plug in cheap looking plastic housing?

    I'll get in on the craze when these toys come down to 5€ where they belong.

  • Barry D.

    I'll stick with my Nokia. Half the price and it has a charging LED. It also works just fine with my Otterbox Defender.

  • Johnny

    Wireless charger is instantly convenient. I have got a RAVPower Qi wireless charger at Amazon. It works great. For those who want to have a look, you can check it here: http://www.amazon.com/RAVPower-Qi-Enabled-Incredible-docomoand-Single-Position/dp/B00DMZPQIG

  • AZZER

    This is definitely strong enough to hold in a car. This is in my prius. It's perfect! The glove box still works. I don't know how to post a pic

    • Erick Tai

      What do you plug it into? My car and laptop's usb chargers aren't strong enough to power the charger, and my laptop is a Macbook Pro, which can power iPads.

  • baby_werewolf

    Seriously, who don't use a shel on a phone.... This will do the same as all the other wireless charger. Because it is a sensitive device who operate only in a very close distance, you'll have to put away your cover for a full power charge. Even if I seek the minimum distance of operation I won't find it unless I check the chip's datasheet. No distance spec not a sell in my case. But... I LOVE the thinking of just put my phone on the table to charge it.

  • paulej

    The author describing how well this sticks is no exaggeration. Unfortunately, I learned today that can be a bad thing. I tried to pick it up of my desk and it would not budge. I pulled. I tugged. I gave it a little twist. Nothing. Finally, I just had to grab it and pull hard. It finally came off, but minus some tape stuck to the desk and a little damage to my desk. Boy, was I angry.

    I have a second that was also stuck to a table, but it came free a little easier. I was starting to sorry I might damage that surface, too. I decided to put rubber feet on the bottom to prevent causing more damage to furniture. I appreciate the attempt to help keep it attached to the desk, but this adhesive is way too strong. I don't recall seeing a warning that it can damage a surface.

  • Stephanie Stetson

    I have a Jawbone Jambox the has a faulty micro usb. Would I be able to charge it with this device?

  • eturk001

    Can someone give us the total time to charge from near 0%? Also, actual mA output to a phone (Nexus 5). The wall charger fills empty battery in about 2 hrs and hits a peak around 1A. I've looked at two other Qi chargers, 1 pulling 0.5mA and Nokia @ 650mA.
    (Battery Monitor Widget works well: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ccc71.bmw)

    I wish every review of a charger, specifically all Qi chargers, would check these two numbers so we can compare. It's like reviewing cars and no one seems to think about checking the gas mileage and reporting it.

  • eturk001

    ...and charging time & mA delivery, on the Nexus Wireless charger?

  • Googled

    The new Nexus wireless charger will not charge my Nexus 4 phone with a thin case on but the old Orb charger will. Placement for my Nexus 4 or 7 (2013) to charge is fussy. The adhesive on the bottom on the charger is so sticky, it damaged my coffee table when I moved it. I tried to return to Google but they refused because it's just outside the return date. Apparently, owning a Nexus 10, (3) Nexus 7, (2) Orb chargers carries no consideration as Google really needs my money!

  • Balls O’Steele

    The article says it doesn't beep when the phone is put on the charger. Does it beep when the phone is fully charged? Does it beep at all?

  • Jeff Herd

    I was confused before buying my own wireless charger and after buying understand the paying view becasue now i have wireless charger and the product is working well and it have greatest compatibility for all wireless phones devices.

    I was try from google play store but the cost is different and high. Finally i decided to go with choe amazon shop http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00C40OG22 and get the right product for my nexus 5

  • ygt

    it is a new tech , just wait for next generations and see how well it works

  • Roy Nitzberg

    If there were a wireless charger than I could run as a bluetooth device through my computer, I would understand all the fuss. But really, i just don't get it ... even though I appreciate the cool tech. Why is this better than plugging in a mini USB?!

  • AussieB

    Does it work with cases and bumpers? I havent gotten a straight answer so I assume it depends on the unit. Amazon also has a 29.99 qi charger and Im wondering if thats going to be any different than the more expensive Google Version. Their accessories are a lot more expensive than similar items you can find on Amazon

  • Julius

    It works perfect. You can find more in amazon store and look for CHOETECH. One of the good/trusted seller in amazon.

  • Jeff Herd

    Now i have switch to CHOETECH wireless chargers and want to go purchase new 3rd Generation qi wireless charger, which more more supportable and convenient charger for us.

  • Jeff Herd

    Thanks for the post and I Received my charger on this Tuesday which i bought from amazon of CHOETECH, I love this charger. It is so much much better than the previous charger.

  • dacwe

    stupid