I hate the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger

WebOS Nation Editor in Chief Derek Kessler remembers a simpler era, when Palm Touchstones ruled the land

About a month ago I picked up an LG Nexus 4. I've known Android for some time, but until buying the Nexus 4 I'd yet to actually own an Android handset. While Android has surprised me in some areas and frustrated me in others, that's not what I'm here to talk about today. Nope, I'm here to talk about the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger and how much I hate it.

The photo above was taken approximately five minutes after I'd carefully and deliberately set my Nexus 4 onto the Wireless Charger to, well, wirelessly charge. And it did. The move to get from being positioned centered on the charger to resting on its side with the charger as a glorified kickstand was smooth and quiet. It went entirely unnoticed as I sat not two feet away, working on my computer. Not until I looked over to see if it had stayed in position did I discover that it in fact had not.

Normally my Nexus 4 just slips down half an inch or so until it's no longer optimally positioned on the charger and no longer taking a charge through the ether. Sometimes it also lists slightly to the right, but only by ten degrees or so. After I took that photo, rolled my eyes, and posted it to Twitter, I carried on with my work, curious to see where the Nexus 4 would slide to next. Five minutes later, my typing was interrupted by a soft thunk - gravity had finally conspired to pull the phone entirely off the charger and it was now resting flat on its back on my desk.

Thankfully, my charger is positioned a foot from the back of my desk, so it'd still take a while for my nub-less Nexus 4 to slip and slide its way onto the floor.

While this example is particularly extreme, it all-too-fully illustrates how much I despise the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger. You see, I come from the land of webOS - I've been writing on webOS Nation for the better part of four years. Though that whole time I've been using the excellent Touchstone charger developed by Palm. Like the Qi wireless standard, Touchstone works off of the principles of inductive power transfer, charging your devices by running a current through a tight coil of wire in the charger that induces a charge in a corresponding coil in the smartphone's back.

Inductive power transfer is indeed wireless charging, whether you're using a Qi standard charger or the proprietary standard that is Touchstone (for the record, they're not compatible standards - you can't charge a Touchstone device on a Qi charger or a Qi device on a Touchstone charger). But the nature of inductive charging requires that the coils be in close proximity - my Nexus 4 gives a notification that it's take a charge at hair under a quarter of an inch off the charger - and alignment.

Touchstone may have been proprietary, but Palm's designers and engineers took the very important step of making sure their chargers would be foolproof. They accomplished it by using something you probably have affixed to the refrigerator in your kitchen right now: magnets. The little Touchstone charger has a large magnetic block stuffed inside it, machined in such a manner as to have four prongs sticking up around the induction coil. Those four prongs matched up to four small magnets in the back of webOS smartphones like the Pre, both aligning the phone's coil with the charger's coil and holding them in place.

The magnet inside the Touchstone

This magnetic alignment and attraction scheme worked for three years from the original Palm Pre to the larger and less-curved HP Pre3 and from the flat-backed Palm Pixi to the diminutive HP Veer. When it came time to build a wireless charger for the TouchPad tablet, HP kept the same proprietary standard, but dispensed with the magnets and built an easel-style stand that still positioned the tablet where it was needed to charge.

My problems with the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger have to be viewed through this lens. I've come from four years of solid and functional wireless charging bliss. Not only do I have a Touchstone on my desk in my office, there's also one on my nightstand and I've even mounted one on my car dashboard. Compared to Touchstone, even though it's a proprietary standard with no compatible hardware released in the past year, the Wireless Charger is an experience of disappointment and irritation.

Let's start with the first week's experience. I pulled my shiny new Wireless Charger from its box, snaked a Micro USB cable through my desk to the power strip, and set the charger on my desk, sitting to the left of my iPhone-charging Elevation Dock and stalwart phone-size Touchstone. I then set the Nexus 4 on it and realized it wasn't taking a charge because it wasn't positioned properly, so naturally I tried to reposition it. What happened? The grippy ring on the top stuck to the back of the phone and lifted the charger up off the desk. It fell off with a slight jiggle, and I soon learned that I was going to have to use two hands to separate the Nexus 4 from its charger.

That's problem number one with the Wireless Charger: it's just not heavy enough. What I love about the Elevation Dock for my iPhone is that it's machined out of a solid hunk of aluminum. It's hefty and by-and-large it stays in place as I pull my iPhone off of it. The Touchstone is heavy too - that big magnetic block isn't lightweight, but that magnet is also quite adept at keeping the charger attached to the phone.

Palm got around this by slapping a ring of "gecko-inspired" micro-suction foam on the bottom of the Touchstone and calling it a day. This grippy substance isn't adhesive and yet lets the Touchstone stick to just about any smooth surface, from my desk to my dashboard to a vertical pane of glass. In fact, the micro-suction ring on the bottom of the Touchstone isn't all that dissimilar to the grippy ring on the top of the Wireless Charger. It's just more substantial and on the bottom.

The Wireless Charger, however, is light. It's almost absurdly light for how big it is. X-ray scans of the charger have revealed that it's almost entirely empty, and that space could have been filled with metal weights to add some heft to the charger. If it were heavier, it might just stay in place when I grab the phone off of it. The iPhone Elevation Dock has an iPhone dock connector in it; it's a 30-pin connection that's not designed to be easily disengaged. But yet the weight of the all-metal Elevation Dock has proven to be enough to keep it down while the phone goes up.

Problem two is an extension of problem one. The reason the Wireless Charger can lift up off my desk with the Nexus 4 is because of that sticky ring. But that sticky ring serves a distinct and important purpose: keeping the Nexus 4 in place over the induction coil so that charge can be imparted. Where Touchstone uses magnets, the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger uses a grippy ring of micro-suction foam. Each has its benefits and pitfalls.

While a Touchstone-equipped Pre can potentially erase hotel keycards and trigger sleep switches on laptops, it will always stick where it needs to in order to charge. It becomes habit after a while to position the Nexus 4 in the right spot to receive a charge, so the grippy ring serves its purpose in keeping the phone there. Except when it doesn't.

The problem with having a grippy surface facing up is that you have a grippy surface facing up. Dust, hair, lint, and other fine particulate matter in the air that eventually deposits itself on your desk and monitor and knick-knacks also finds a spot on the Wireless Charger. And that grippy ring that you depend on to keep the Nexus 4 in place while it charges isn't so grippy anymore and your phone just slides right off after a few minutes. And it's not something you can just wipe clean with your hand or with a quick blow of air, no, it's micro-suction foam. Don't even think about wiping it on the leg of your pants - that's a recipe for early-onset dementia.

Then how do you clean the Wireless Charger's grippy ring? There are two options: either you can use a damp cloth (preferably lint-free) to wipe it - and we all know that electronics and moisture aren't a combination you should willingly bring together on a regular basis - or you can pull out something more sticky like packing tape to lift away the accumulated detritus. Yep, you need to use tape to keep the Wireless Charger operating in optimal condition. But while you're at it, you can use that tape to stick the charger to your desk so it doesn't lift up when you try to lift your phone off the newly-cleaned grippy ring.

But that poses a different and better question: why on Earth do I own a charger that requires regular maintenance to operate effectively? Most Qi chargers come in the form of pads and other horizontal implementations (and pillows?) where you simply set the phone down and it charges. You know, as long as you put it over the charge coil and it doesn't slip away. They don't have a grippy ring to hold the phone in place because they don't need one.

The Nexus 4 Wireless Charger is tilted, which while a great design feature to make it more useful as an always-on heads-up display, also means there needs to be some method to keep the Nexus 4 and whatever other phones come after it in place so they can charge. Hence the grippy ring of micro-suction foam.

Palm had the benefit of making their own chargers for their own phones. They could add magnets into the Touchstone system without having to consult with a bevy of partners. But at the same time, Palm chargers only work with Palm devices (or those hacked to include Touchstone coils). The Qi standard is set, and while it's likely to evolve over the coming years to support higher power charging, greater distances, and perhaps even wider tolerances for positioning, alignment aids like the Touchstone's magnets aren't likely.

When my Nexus 4 Wireless Charger is perfectly clean, it seizes to my phone with maddening zeal. When my Nexus 4 Wireless Charger is even slightly dusty, it schluffs my phone off onto my desk like HP disposed of my beloved webOS (I might still be bitter).

Yet, when my Nexus 4 is perfectly positioned on a cleaned Wireless Charger and I'm not trying to pick it up, it's great. It reliably takes a charge, stays in place, and, well, it gives me the time (I've yet to find something really worth putting on my Nexus 4 for Daydream while charging, but there are some cool options out there). But every time I have to clean it or use my other hand to separate it from the phone, I'm reminded of my Touchstone, sitting two chargers to the right, and how three years ago Palm got right what LG and Google haven't today.

There are 150 comments

Darth Spock says:

This is the most useful post I've read all week, perhaps in much longer than that. Thanks!

palmwebosfan says:

While I find this review useful and glad I'm using the LG QI wireless charger, Derek doesn't even use Web OS or Android. He's been using an iphone for the last few years. One of the reasons I left Web OS was Dieter Bohn left "Pre Central" (name at the time) and the new editor, Derek Kessler, was using an iphone as his daily driver. When the editor of a Web OS website is using another OS, it doesn't say much for the future. Derek should be writing for imore in my opinion.

Fatasaurus says:

With all the many wonderful improvements they are making with WebOS today... who really cares?! He does his job and frankly does a great job at it. Who really cares what other devices he uses. Hell Phil had been using a Windows 8 phone as one of his daily drivers for a while whenever he wasn't working. Just because someone uses a different phone outside of work doesn't mean they are any less versed in the happenings of the OS. That's like saying if I use a Ferrari as my daily car that I can't work at Lamborghini.

linh.nguyen says:

And I thought I griped about this... I sorely miss the Touchstone's functionality. Additionally, I don't get that charging ding consistently. While I rarely ever don't get a charge, I miss that satisfying 100% knowledge that I stuck the phone on there right. Pre+Touchstone was awesome with that.

I have my SIII setup to charge via TouchStone and use LightFlow to notify me via sound when it starts charging. That coupled with override silent mode and the LED, it is better than my Pre+ or Veer were.

This is the most depressing post for me, I miss WebOS so much. To bad it never really took off.

Second that.

jrb363 says:

I third this. I love my Veer and Touchpad like no other, but sadly the time for webOS has passed.

Choorp says:

This is why I didn't buy one of these. I saw this problem coming from a mile away. It's a great idea, though! I just wish they would have used a different method to "dock" the phone to the orb.

I find a very lightly damp cloth does the trick very well, it's not really a whole lot of effort... Mine works just fine and if you keep it clean, it doesn't slide off. One good cleaning a month does it just fine.

DrJRA says:

I keep mine clean also. Seems to help for a minute, but it still Sloooowwwlllly slumps until 20 min later it is no longer charging...not much of a notice that its off of the charge either. My nexus has never fallen to the side like this author's pics, but sure is inconvenient to wake up and find my nexus is almost out of charge when I need it for the day. So, my solution has been to position it upside down and have the top of the phone already on the countertop. It cant slide anymore and it seems to be still positioned in the proper alignment to charge. Silly compromise considering the entire point of this charge is to be able to view it while charging. guess google expected me to be doing upside down wall push ups while watching their partner youtube.

Terence_27 says:

Why dont you use Nokia Wireless Charging Stand, Plate or Pillow.

moelsen says:

Even though its the qi standard, They don't work with the nexus 4. Do a search.. Had to return mine.

Magestic says:

This is not true in the slightest I have never had a problem with it charging my nexus even through a heavy case

NicUK says:

I agree, my Nokia wireless charge works perfectly with the Nexus 4.

moelsen says:

Maybe I should have specified. The charging plate (and therefore pillow too) has issues charging the nexus 4. The wireless charging stand could work well for all I know.

I pointed it out here when droid life reviewed chargers too:
Crap I can't post links but search for "droid life wireless chargers", the article from 01/31/2013.

olorin says:

You're seriously going to take the time to tell him this is "not true" with your comment? Get real. Ever consider the possibility the two of you have had different experiences?

Derek, the real reason you're taking so much grief is because you dared to criticize the Nexus line of products. There is another popular android site that published an article criticizing the build quality of the Nexus 4 and that author was blasted worse than you (in fact he dropped his phone while driving & the back glass broke... people accused him of lying, too). Ironically, before the Nexus 4, everyone blasted LG for putting out crappy products that weren't supported well.

Don't get me wrong, we have a Nexus in our house, too. BUT, some Nexus fans have become such blind followers of Google that their cult-like dedication reminds me of iPhanboys.

Go ahead... flame on!

TenshiNo says:

Dude... did you even read the comments that you're replying to? They're not talking about the article. He was referring to a user's comment that other QI chargers didn't work for the N4. Not that the N4 wireless charger didn't have problems.

bozzykid says:

I'm pretty sure one of the latest revisions of the Nexus 4 hardware added magnets or improved the location of the magnets to fix this exact issue.

moelsen says:

There are no magnets....

tsunami1609 says:

The Nexus 4 is fine. I can put refrigerator magnets to the back of it and they stick just fine. It's the charger that's the problem. It has no magnets built in, and only connects through the rubber tack ring.

That was too long imo. That's okay though. It was very educational. ;-)

kurioskurion says:

I've given up on the phone staying on the charger by itself. I now just position a book under it so it doesn't slide down.

barchamb says:

Totally with you on the Touchstone, bro. I have modified my Samsung Galaxy Nexus to have a Touchstone ring in it, and like you I have Touchstones at home, work, and in my car. The magnets never fail to hold my big phone (even bouncing down the road) and help guide it to the proper charging position. And my 3 Touchstones and Pre back cover all together were like $20 on Amazon.

I can't believe that no one has replicated the awesomeness of the Touchstone in all these years...

K2theIzzo says:

I'm not reading this. Too many words dedicated to a problem that can be fixed with a slightly damp cloth.

pokingmon says:

Except the part where that doesn't fix the issue for most people with this problem. Wet cloths, books, re-positioning, sticky 3M pads under the front edge of the charger, etc. I've tried it all to no avail.

Poorly designed. Period.

ar_garza says:

I had the same problem with the Nexus 4. Now that I switched to a DNA I have no problems with it falling off or it lifting off the desk. It's the glass back. It's pretty great with the DNA.

bassdelux15 says:

I've had my Charging Orb for over a month now and I have never experienced any of the problems that occurred in this article. I've used it with the glass back naked and with the carbon fiber backskin from dbrand, it has never slipped once, tho the carbon fiber has definitely made it less sticky. I never had to re-position it either, unless my ocd kicks in and I try to get it perfectly centered. I never had to use two hands to remove the phone either or had the charger lift up with the phone. Sucks that you had such a bad experience tho.

Some people just don't know how or refuse to keep their Wireless charging orbs CLEAN, its not hard... Mine works just fine, just have to wipe it down with a slightly damp towel if you see dust collecting.

olorin says:

I think the point is that he shouldn't have to.

pokingmon says:

Many people are reporting that cleaning it doesn't fix it. Mine has NEVER held my phone in place for more than a few minutes. Cleaned the orb AND my phone back. Still slides off in a minute or so.

mstrblueskys says:

Derek! I miss reading your stuff. I was elated to see your post.

Joel473 says:

I agree with mstrbluesky! WebOS refugee here! You should write more often for AC. I thought about buying the orb for my Nexus 4 but felt it would disappoint next to my touchstone.

Magestic says:

This is interesting to me because I have never had an issue with this charger. I never clean it and I always leave my nexus 4 on it. I has never slide off from any position I have put it on at.

sparty37 says:

I use a ballistic case and it seems to work better than my wife's no-case N4. Hers does slid if the back is 'greasy' but it stays when it is dry. It does bug me that it takes some learning of the correct position to place the phone.

Now this part will not apply to many here, BUT I am so glad to have this. I had a spinal cord injury 2 1/2 years ago leaving my fingers rather useless. So for all the belly aching and whining about how hard life is because sometimes my phone charger doesn't connect right, try using fingers that don't bend to plug your micro USB plug in. That's a problem. I read many other reviews that other Qi chargers didn't work with a thicker case, which I need, but this works fine. Just my 2 cents.

bpappin says:

For me, I can have the phone only 3/4 on the stand and it will still charge.
My guess is that your position problem are related to your hard case, because the induction field will drop off quickly and will get much narrower the further away the phone is.

I Grok why you have the case if your hands don't work like they used to, but try an experiment without the case and see if it makes a difference. If it does, you might be able to adjust/change the case to make it work better.

darkoman4 says:

Nothing like the touchstone. So clean, modern, minimalistic design. Does exactly what it was designed for, charge your phone and need no maintenance, or a lot of space. Absolutely gorgeous

frobroj says:

Energizers works great! It would be nice if the author responded to the suggestions to clean the orb so that readers get a solution along with the nostalgic negative rant. Just a thought!

planoman says:

I love my LG Charging MAT!

skinja99 says:

I appreciate the review and thorough write up. I also think Palm/WebOS did A LOT of things right.

But there is no point to wireless chargers at this time:

-By and large, they only charge one device at a time. This defeats the purpose. You shouldn't spend money for another apparatus when a normal charger also only charges one device.

- Wireless chargers all use their own proprietary powersupply and plug. In other words, their intent to simplify cables is lost. They just make things more complicated by having more cables and plugs for the chargers that don't work with other chargers. They all use different voltages, dc plugs, cords, etc.

-Like you mentioned, most wireless chargers require the device being charged to be placed very specifically. Which defeats the purpose of having the flexibility of a wireless charger.

Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of wireless charging. And I look forward to a time when my device charges just being anywhere within the room with a wireless charger.

But right now, wireless chargers don't add anything. They cost money and don't bring any advantages. If anything, they make charging more complicated by having more and more cables that don't work with each other.

I just don't see any advantage to a wireless charger at this time other than the novelty. And yes, I have owned a Qi std charger.

tsunami1609 says:

1. There are a couple chargers that can charge multiple devices. The energizer dual inductive charger for example.

2. The Nexus 4 Orb uses a standard usb cable. Nothing proprietary about it.

3. It doesn't have to be that precise. Mine works fine in a general area. But the bottom line is that it's still easier than pulling a USB cable or wall charger from the behind the desk or wherever, and then plugging it in carefully in the right orientation. Then unplugging it and letting the cable fall back to wherever it was before. In addition, it looks MUCH more elegant.

There are huge advantages and only a few downsides. If Google actually implemented magnets then this charger would have NO downsides.

pokingmon says:

I agree with your 1 and 3, but the Nexus Orb "requires" (read: suggests) you use their charger. Some can get others to work, and some can't. I hear a lot of people (and also noticed in some reviews) that if you use other chargers that it either won't charge at all, or it charges extremely slow compared to the one that came with the Orb.

All of my Samsung chargers won't get my N4 to charge through the orb, and my fiance's Motorola charger works but takes forever.

skinja99 says:

I hear ya man. But my points were that by and large, they don't bring anything to the table. Some have advantages here and there.

1. I said most wireless chargers only work on one device at a time. Which is true. Including the Norb.

2. Again, most use their own cables and plugs and voltages.

3. Thats fine. I am glad it works for you. I don't really care about looks, I use my phones for work.

I was not personally attacking anyone who uses a wireless charger. If it works for you, then great. I was just bringing up the shortcomings with current wireless chargers.

By the reactions of people on here, you would think I insulted their deity by talking about the shortfalls of current wireless chargers.

dkirker says:

The great thing about this... You don't *have* to use them! Or you can use them. :) if they don't work for one, they might for another. For me, personally, I love the fact that I have Touchstones around my apartment, and on my desk at work. I'm looking at hiding the cables for the ones on my nightstand, and possibly even integrating coils into my coffee table, so all you have to do is set the phone on the table. No cables (that you have to plug into your phone).

I've also been looking at adding a Qi coil to my Pre3, and adding Qi chargers around the place, too. Probably going to migrate to Qi.

bpappin says:

Disagree 100% . its no novelty for me.
I was downright sick of rummaging for the USB cable in the dark, now a don't need to see a darn thing.

There are also logical reasons its not a novelty, things like reducing mechanical stress on the USB port (I've destroyed several phones that way) among the top of my list.

So, novelty it is not, not even a little bit.
I *never* want to go back to a USB cable.

codiusprime says:

It amuses me when people present their lame opinions as fact. Also as others have pointed out you're wrong on every point so it's an uneducated opinion at that.

skinja99 says:

Is this really your life?
Someone says something polite and reasonable on a comments section and you go out of your way to be rude?

olorin says:

You just made his point. While you correctly list many issues with wireless charging, the touchstone did not have a proprietary cable & worked extremely well (I'll grant you it charges one at a time). I always find it ironic when we tell someone else what they should and shouldn't spend their money on. Wireless charging is all about convenience & ease of use (theoretically), so the decision to buy a wireless charger is simply a matter of preference.

dongemus says:

I use an alcohol pad, they're dirt cheap and the same one cleans the charger, then my phone, then my tablet, then my monitor. No finger prints.

seakurt says:

From the minute I took it out of the box, brand spanking new, my phone started its gradual creep downward and was on the counter within a minute or two of me carefully placing it on the orb. I cleaned the orb, I cleaned the phone, I cleaned the counter they were both setting on... nothing worked. Mine was returned a few days later.

I'm wondering if they just had a bad production run and I happened to get a lemon -- like many others did.

So, for you sanctimonious "just clean it" people. We're not stupid, of course we tried cleaning the thing. I wanted this cool little gadget to work. It didn't, no matter what I tried.

bpappin says:

I Grok.

But it really does work flawlessly for some of us.
I have no idea if your group has a problem in the phone or the stand, but maybe its worth another try and/or a little experimentation.

smacsteve says:

You're an idiot.


I've noticed a lot of popular android websites have non android users as authors, which I just don't understand.

rlbrooks says:

Mobile Nations editors often have their writers cross over and write stories for other OS sites. Richey, Crackberry Kevin, and even Dieter (before Derek) would write editorials on Android Central just like I know Phil has either written our been on Podcasts for iMore and the others. I think that is smart business. I want the writers here to be a combination of journalist and technical writer. I don't want OS fanboys, all of us in the comments and forum fill that job already.

geekpeter says:

their all "authors" tho, and what exactly makes one an "android" branded author? many of those authors have used more than just their android/iphone/webOS/BB phones and have used more than just 1.

They arent somehow specially trained as iphone/android experts, their joe average like us who have used the phones and just happen to write articles.

And if i remember rightly derek has mentioned more than once hed used way more than just webOS phones.

No-ones an "expert" phone user, were all just phone users, their phones for gods sake not nuclear fission reactors, their simple devices, it doesnt takea genious to pick one up, use for a while and form an opinion based on their own experiences, which is by and large what this article is all about, an honest personal "opinion".

Stovicek says:

If the Nexus 4 wireless chargers are so pathetically designed, I must have acquired a prototype model. I've owned it since it was first released and have had no issues whatsoever. And are we really posting a huge rant based on the fact that someone is too lazy to keep their things clean? Maybe the oily residue on the back of the phone should get wiped off from time to time, or is it too much to assume a cursory wipe on the pant leg isn't proper ettiquite in today's gadget world?

Two hands required for separation? How small are your hands that you can't get a thumb an finger to squeeze between the sides of the phone and charger before lifting it off? Took me three tries before learning how to do it the right way. Adapting to our environment is part of what makes us human.

I'll agree that sometimes it takes a couple of tries to hit the sweet spot but it's not like a drunk attempting to insert keys into a lock.

I had the Palm PRE in all its glory with the charging dock so I'm not without the same baseline for comparison. The Nexus 4 charger is no less convienent.

Kvoth says:

I will also add that since destroying the compass/gyro in one of my phones, I would not want anything even slightly magnetic near my N4.

bpappin says:

I've found mine to be so forgiving that I can just about drop it on, and it charges just fine.
As long as in get it roughly centred, it works every time.

It does not always chime though, but if you check you will see that it is charging anyway.

Also, I've never cleaned mine and it still sticks just fine.

phor11 says:

Same for me.

I always use mine in vertical orientation and have had absolutely 0 problems.
Top of the charger is a little dusty but I haven't cleaned it and yet it's never slid off or lifted the charger when I go to retrieve my phone.

Like you, I don't find that you have to be very precise with the placement either. I just use my fingers as a guide to center the phone when I drop it on, and it's worked every time.

Maybe his problem only happens when you charge using the horizontal orientation?

olorin says:

Are you really posting a 4 paragraph rant in the comments complaining that his post was too long & telling him to clean it? (Whoa, did I just say all that in one sentence?)

jls9999 says:

This is where I have a problem with blogs as opposed to real journalism. If he were really trying to review this device, he would have contacted Google about this problem and most likely would have received a replacement with whatever fixes they had made from his version to the current one. Mine works just fine, holds the phone each time in the right place, and charges perfectly.

Also, perhaps the problem with dust is his own cleanliness in his office. If he dusted his desk or got a maid, he might not need to wipe away the debris so often.

As for the comments about Qi use with the Nexus 4, I have an Energizer wireless charging pad that I place my phone on each night, and it works fine, too.

Perhaps I am the lucky one, but I am nevertheless convinced that people who complain in blogs or blog comments about such things are victims of user error more than anything else.

Lastly, please stop pining for WebOS. It is dead. Never coming back. There were great things about it, but the future does not include it any longer. Move on.

auditman says:

I bought the ZEN Qi from this site on easter special. No problem charging wireless.

bpappin says:

I almost said it sounded like PEBKAC but I didn't want to be rude.
Besides, I think he's smart enough to try a few things to make it work.

I can only conclude that there are some broken stands or phones out there that have this problem, because mine works perfectly, and I love it.

olorin says:

Please stop pining for responsible journalism, it's dead & never coming back! (never mind that this was an editorial)

TheDu9du says:

Have you tried placing a small plastic bag to keep it from getting lint?
Have you tried cleaning around more?
Have you tried keeping white powder away from the charger?
Have you tried wiping your phone before placing it on the charger?
Have you tried using a wet towel to clean the charger?
Have you tried different positions such as placing the phone facing down and putting the charger on top of it?
Have you tried telling the charger that it needs to get along with your phone?
Have you tried?
Have you tried?
Tell me, have you tried?

rlbrooks says:

Everyone is missing the point of this article. It is an editorial, not a review. He mentions all the methods for cleaning. His point is that it isn't the touchstone. I just got the N4 and charger yesterday. I also use to use the pre and touchstone. First time I put the N4 to the stand for charging I came back 2 hours later and the phone had slid to the bottom of the stand. Brand new phone, brand new charger. Was I disgusted? No, I just realized I had to take more care with alignment. Did I think to myself, "This isn't as good as the touchstone?" You are darn right I did. For a proir touchstone user, the charger on the N4 is a let down. It still works and does what it needs to do, but Pre users will always have higher expectations.

geekpeter says:


Simer03 says:

you can't be serious! how hard is it to take some scotch tape and dab it around the circle?? problem solved....jeez can you really not see all the fuckin lint around the entire thing? it actually looks like hair! ive had the charger since release and had zero issues

JeanAustinR says:

TLDR. I own a Nexus 4 wireless charger, works fine.

I just bought the small LG WCP-300 in order to avoid having my N4 slip from charging. I really did like the orb but I figured having it charge flat on its back wouldn't be such a bad thing. Its also small enough to travel. In my eyes, it was the perfect choice but still...Google's orb looks awesome.

sidamos says:

What about the wakelock bug from wireless charging? Why does no one write about that?

bpappin says:

I have to say that *I am not* feeling your pain.
Mine works just fine and the phone *never* slips, ever.
(Even with a little dust on the rubber ring)

Also, mine does seems to have magnets in it, which likely helps.
Even if it did slip, it would not go far, as the bottom edge would rest on the desk.

So, I know your not just making this up, but your experience is pretty much opposite mine.
That begs the question, is it the phone or the stand that is different between us?

biln says:

wow what a long article and its only about a charger. this guy must have alot of talk buult up in him coming from the no news Palm site. most of the writers on here can't even write this much about a whole phone.

dacp283 says:

Some of you really need a lesson in tact and manners. Seriously quit being such asses about his experience and speaking as if he is some inept troll.

Your writing sucks. Please use proper grammar and English. No one wants to decipher an article.

scaramanga89 says:

Care to give a few examples? I've been reading his articles for years, I think he has an excellent command of grammar and an nice prose style.

Makai5 says:

really guys is it that hard just to plug your phone in these days. Your putting more effort in trying to get the hub to charge the phone I.E. damp cloth book under it. just plug it in!!!

cj100570 says:

Why am I not surprised that there's a bunch of people here telling the OP that he's wrong and isn't experiencing the problem he's describing? Seriously?! You people can't just accept that this is his experience with the Nexus 4 Charging Orb and move instead of accusing the man of using it wrong, etc.? How sad!

PhilR8 says:

it's not an issue unique to this site: every community has their sensitive members who will object to any and every critique and criticism.

Awsome525 says:

Man I have been griping about this issue ever since I made the jump to Android from webOS. Wireless charging has taken forever to get to Android and now that its here its not that great. But even still I find that I am selecting my next phone based on whether it has wireless charging or not. Case and point I love the new htc one but I'm buying a gs4 because it has wireless charging amongst other features obviously.
But Palm did have it right in 09, lets just hope with the new Qi standard that someone gets it right again.

Here's a novel idea, IF YOU HATE THE DAMN THING SO MUCH, DON'T USE IT!!! Plug it into the wall like everyone else does!!! Is it that hard to figure out?

olorin says:

He paid for it. It was manufactured for his phone. I don't spend money on something and when it doesn't work right say, "oh well, I'll just set it aside."

PhilR8 says:

case in point: here is a very sensitive user strongly and negatively reacting to this editorial.

Awsome525 says:

Ok wow first I just have to comment on the rudeness of the people here just wow trolls go away. Secondly I would have to say that the slippage problem probably has a little to due with how slick the surface is. For example a glass surface once the phone slid down to touch it would probably cause the phone to slide right off. My desk surface is leather so once the phone hits that it stops. The fact is if it dosn't work in every situation on any surface with any person then there is a flaw. And I don't feel he is pining for webOS, but simply pointing out that palm had a wireless charger in 09 that worked almost flawlessly.

daglesj says:

That's the thing about the Palm Gear and WebOS, a lot of it worked flawlessly.

That's why Palm owners (I was one too) tend to go on about it so much.

If you've been a Palm owner and then switched to Android or iOS it is a little bit like dropping into an alternative universe that isn't quite as good as the one you came from or just gone back in time in some ways.

I miss my Touchstone. It looked so cool having my Pre2 mounted beneath the center of my monitor, angled just the right way.

Ah well....

Firehand81 says:

Really glad now that I bought Panasonic Chargepad... It has worked perfectly with S3(with Qi-pad ofc), Lumia 920 and Nexus 4.

Stopped reading as soon as I figured out it was the ramblings of a butthurt WebOS fanboy desperate to create a story out of a non-existant problem...

No problems with either the official Nexus charger, or my Maxell AirVoltage pad, everything just works...

worknman says:

Dude, just because you don't have the problem doesn't mean it's non-existent. Last I checked, there are SEVERAL videos on Youtube that show it actually happening.

As for cleaning, no matter how many times those of us having the problem say that cleaning doesn't fix it, there will still continue to be nimrods that say, 'Why don't you just clean the charger?'

TheDu9du says:

Have you tried placing a small plastic bag on top of the charger when is not in use?

rissvi says:

I have no problem... Working perfect... Better change ur charger dude

chubb says:

I haven't had an issue with mine. But I use a case and never clean the orb or my phone before putting it on. Never had it slide off so far. It is the glass back that's the problem. Also some people are greasier than others.

TheDonJ77 says:

I have had not one issue with my orb, not one. Love it.

mgiusto says:

Wow, this is amazing to me. Mine is absolutely fine. My N4 slides no where on the orb and stays in the exact position I left it overnight. I have never, ever experienced anything like what is stated in this article.

I was surprised at first how much my N4 "stuck" to the orb when placed on it and checked for magnets the first time. The only thing I could think of that could cause this to happen to some and not all is perhaps your orbs are getting more dust on them between charges and thus losing the grip???

Crazy. I love the orb.

elcano says:

Cleanliness is so underrated! Hey guys.... A damp towel a week not just can get your problem solved, but also has the potential of being used for cleaning your entire desk, the sticky keys of your keyboard and wipe out some of the bacterial flora on your Nexus 4.

Kvoth says:

One of the biggest advantages of wireless charging ATM is that you won't need to replace your accessories when you replace your phone. Start bringing magnets into the equation and it becomes nothing but an over-priced dock, minus half the functionality.

StevesBalls says:

ffs, longer is not better. learn to edit down your articles, nobody wants to read a novel about a gorram charger...

HAAS599 says:

Get a zen charger

Gekko says:

sounds like an angry disgruntled Pre fanboy. when Blackberry goes out of business will we be subject to more of the same? i hope that cheesy annoying Kevin guy migrates to iPhone and not Android when they go under.

ashykat says:

Kevin Michaluk is the Chief Media Officer of Mobile Nations. Believe me, he'll be around.

k1mgy says:

The dissonance between the author's experience and the Android Central product review leaves me confused.

As Editorial the author might consider in future a more concise and better organized piece.

It appears that the charger is just fine and this is more about the editorial opinion of the author. On that last point, I am left with little but boredom to show for the read.

geekpeter says:

you say "the" charger is fine, how about "his" charger, how do you KNOW its fine? to be fair it could have a fault/issue/problem.

the argument "MINE works so your talkign rubbish" is not a very good argument, not everything is built equal.

cgardnervt says:

Long live Palm and their awesomeness! Maybe LG will use WebOS for something good.

bevcraw says:

I was excited when I bought an aftermarket back cover for my S3 that could be used with all my Touchstones. I was less excited with one of the charging nodes popped off the cover 3 weeks later. Thanks for the information, Derek. I guess I'll still keeping looking for the best charging solution.

biggbrother2 says:

The larger question is why use wireless charging in a phone anyway? Other than as a novelty, it's really rather pointless since your phone still has to be on the charging surface to charge. Wireless charging has it's uses in it's current form. My Sonic Care toothbrush has used something similar for over a decade. It serves a purpose there because water and charging ports don't usually mix.

But for phones? Until they develope a way for a phone to charge simply by being in a 5-10ft radius of the charger, it's a waste of money, time, and space. Just pick up a Mobi Products crade in the Store for half the price of the wireless charging dock and call it a day.

Funny how I inserted a link to the Mobi Products cradle in the AC Store and the AC Bot Nazi flagged it as spam and told me to remove it. The SPAM filter on this site has sucked for 4 years and still sucks!!

Detonation says:

It's easier and quicker to just set the phone down, rather than have to plug it in which is usually a two handed operation. Not to mention less wear and tear on the microusb port. I converted a Touchstone cover to work with my GSIII and with the magnets all you need to do is get it close enough and it will snap into place.

Awsome525 says:

Less wear and tear is wright my epic 4g touch micro usb is toasted I've had it repaired twice and its still really touchy. Wireless charging is the obvious solution loved it on my palm and have been weighting for it for android.

PhilR8 says:

Definitely not a novelty. I've never used the Touchstone or Nexus charging orb, but I do have a Lumia 920 and a wireless charging pad. I love that I simply have to place my phone down on the charging pad for it to charge. Before bed, I put the phone on the charging pad. When I wake up, I put the phone in my pocket and go. It may seem like a trivial amount of time and effort saved, but I find it very worthwhile.

geekpeter says:

the best answer to "why" is wear and tear on your phone usb port, ive seen a few phones even new also damaged when a child or pet knocks their phone bigtiem while chargign and the ports been bent/banged up and didnt work very well afterwards.

A wireless charging solution helps keep your phone in good working condition just as many also buy covers/cases for their phones to prolong its life and good condition, its not "just" about a quick time saver.

I got mine to work just fine. Just used a lint roll on it once and it hasn't slipped off since.

jbliv63 says:

I had the sliding issue exactly once. Then I read a brilliant suggestion on a forum somewhere to use a lint roller on the surface. I keep one in the drawer and wipe over it every week or so, no problem. I have also found that a bit of slight, downward pressure when placing the phone also helps. No issues since. Any remotely horizontal surface is going to collect dust, so even a flat charger would require occasional cleaning -- unless you enjoy the look of dust.

ChromeJob says:

" Then I read a brilliant suggestion on a forum somewhere to use a lint roller on the surface."

You're welcome! =:)

jean15paul says:

I'm sure you're already getting a lot of hate on this article. (I didn't actually read the comments but I know how the internet works.)

So I'll try not to add to it. To be fair you make some valid points and have some good insights. But 1,900 words was way too long to for that article. You need an editor (ironic I know).

tl;dr version for anyone who needs it:
The phone slips off the grippy ring when it gets dirty and sticks too tight when it's clean. Touchstone was better.

I had the sliding issue a lot at first, but I quickly discovered that wiping it with a slightly damp paper towel when it happens (usually once a week or so) fixes it. Having to wipe the charger once a week is far less inconvenient than having to charge the phone daily.

I've never had an issue with the charger lifting up. Since the charger is wider than the phone, it's very easy to push down on it just enough to break the seal as I lift the phone (with one hand). I kind of grab the charger with most of my fingers and lift the Nexus a little with my index finger, then lift the phone when it's free. I do it naturally; I've never thought about it until today.

I'll admit that these are all legitimate usability issues, and it would be great if LG could fix them somehow, but the workarounds are trivial. I think it would have been fine if it was heavier, but I'm glad they didn't put magnets in it. In the mean time, it might be good if they included a few basic tips on an insert in the box (not that a lot of people would really read them).

tailsthecat3 says:

User error.

PhilR8 says:

it's not a bug, it's a feature!

Face it, if the exact same set of circumstances occurred in a rival product, everyone here would be laughing. But since it's Google, monthly maintenance of a charging cradle is somehow accepted.

ctk4949 says:

Maybe you should dust your desk more often?? lol

tohio says:

It is pretty obvious what this author's agenda is. He only gets to the second sentence before subtly criticizing the android system, "Android has surprised me in some areas and frustrated me in others..." The he says, "that's not what I'm here to talk about today." And yet he just did. This was a hatchet piece on the Nexus 4 charger. One can only speculate what the motivation (or reward) was.

geekpeter says:

if he hated android so much why does he own an android phone and went to the expense of aquiring a wireless charger for it?

its just an honest real life comparison of his personal experience of his old charger to his new one, other people experiences on theirs has little bearing on his experience on his own setup.

joshhudson says:

I have the Nexus 4 wireless charger. I actually won it from the contest a few weeks back right here on Android Central (thanks, btw!).

I have heard many complaints and negatives reviews about this charger due to the phone slippage issue.

While this is not condoning the obviously faulty design, there is an easy workaround. If you use a dBrand (or probably other brands will work too) skin on the back to protect the rear glass, the phone will not slip at all. I have the carbon fibre skin from dBrand, and it doesn't slip one bit. Works great.

asdfasd2 says:

Wow use a lint roller for the top and bottom of your charger and then on your desk.. I can count 4 strands of hair in that picture

Turboboxer says:

TL;DR by someone who did not read their manual. It very clearly states in which orientation you are to use the dock and that is not it. What a great editorial on how when you use things in a way they were not intended that it does not always turn out right. :rolls eyes:

hfm says:


"Derek is editor-in-chief of webOS Nation, Army musician, armchair pundit, and professional ranter.""

This explains a large portion of the "article".

TL;DR by somebody who didn't even bother to read to to the second paragraph of the post. Bravo, sir.

hfm says:

I love my Nexus 4 wireless charger. I've had it since the first time it was availalbe, never had a problem with it slipping off or not charging. Using a Rearth Ringke Slim case.

trivor says:

I have the dock for the S3 (Samsung OEM model) and it is certainly not easy to place the S3 in the dock. Wireless charging is a great convenience (which I have yet to experience on my S3 because of the additional cost) and I look forward to my next phone which has it and is hopefully not an excessive cost. For all you WebOS trolls it was also an editorial about the elegance and utility of the Touchstone system (which unfortunately was never licensed out and seems to have disappeared forever). While it was proprietary it worked on all WebOS (all Pres and the Pixi) flawlessly and at the end the chargers could be had very, very cheaply. While Qi is a standard it is still not ubiquitous.

GrendelJapan says:

Mine worked great for the first 6 weeks or so, but all of a sudden my phone no longer sticks to it (i.e., it very very very slowly slides off over the course of about 5 minutes). I've tried everything, include the suggestions at XDA on this issue. This is a major design flaw/oversight that I'll bet more and more folks will be impacted by as time goes by. I'm working with a customer rep now to "try everything we can" before talking to a replacement specialist.

TechJunkie69 says:

I have no idea what this author (ranter?) is talking about. I have had the charging orb since it came out and not once has it slid off or failed to charge on any of the three I own. In fact, I have used at least 6 other so called high quality qi wireless chargers and the orb is the only one I would ever recommend. Even if the phone doesn't acknowledge being placed on the charger I know it's working (I use to check, now I know I don't have to). I also have never had to use two hands to remove it from the charger, even in the morning when I have yet to really wake up. I don't mean to sound like a ranter myself or a promoter of Google, but having three of these work as flawlessly as they do for me makes this a very irritating article. Also, I have used the the Palm Pre with a Touchstone charger and, though good, I consider the N4 and orb better. Lastly, two side notes. I also wireless stream video to my tv while charging on the orb and it is awesome. I also have never understood the unquestioned love of WebOS. Seriously, it's not that great.

TheDu9du says:

Have you tried changing your A/C filter?

rwhitby says:

Simple solution:

Put a Palm Pre/Pre+/Pre2 touchstone coil and magnets in the back of the Nexus 4 ...

Nexus 4 Touchstone Mod, part 1: http://t.co/pp7JxBozWu

-- Rod

whip it good says:

I have a crisp $1 bill that I'm willing to trade for a nexus 4 wireless charger somebody hates. :)

namgod says:

I recently used a Hall effect sensor we use for detecting magnetic polarity on my Palm Pre and it doesn't appear to have any magnets in it. The Touchstone, on the other hand, is full capable of deflecting harmful solar radiation. Plus the Pre docks with the Touchstone in 90 degree increments. This probably wouldn't be possible if the phone and the Touchstone both contained magnets.

This is correct. The Touchstone base has 4 magnets in it and the palm has 4 metal discs which line up with the magnets.

danimal62 says:

I have a screen saver on the back of my n4 and it really sticks good to the orb has not slipped yet.

The screen saver works well.

To stop the sliding: Simply buy a screen protector for the back of the Nexus 4, one specifically for the back that has the cut-outs in the right place. Install it and the Orb works perfectly. I even use an Orb in my car and the Nexus 4 never moves, at all.

It is such a simple work around. Why all the bother of the analysis in this review?

bdeitur says:

Same problem on mine. I want to love it. And when it works it works great. But it doesn't stay clean enough for long :(

Gspot82 says:

I had the same problem but it is easily alleviated. Get a skinomi transparent skin or ghostarmor or zagg for the back and it will not slide off. It is probably a good idea to get one of these anyways since it gives the back of the device a lot more grip.

My skinomi just ripped off in a stupid mistake I made and this is the first time I actually discovered this issue. I have a dbrand leather texture skin on order and we will see how that works. I know it is also not an issue when I slap a case on it.

mrinterweb says:

I also noticed that my stuck to the charger much better when I was using a case. That is a great idea to put some other layer over the glass. I applied scotch tape to the back of my Nexus 4 and now it stays on the charger. I don't understand how they could not have known that the Nexus 4 (as originally sold) would not stick to the wireless charger? [triple negative sentence]

mrinterweb says:

I have had the same sliding problems. I have tried to clean my charger using both a moist cloth and with scotch tape. The contacting surface of the phone and charger can be perfectly clean and it still takes about 5 minutes or less before my phone slides off. I still can't believe that Google would put the Nexus brand on such a worthless/flawed product.

mattopotamus says:

I am almost 100% positive there are magnets inside both the phone and the orb that make the connection stick. The reason I say this is b.c I had a nexus 4 that never slide and one that always slid. That alone made me certain it was not the orb, but something wrong with the phone. I replaced that particular phone and have been issue free since then.

ChromeJob says:

Dear professional (and amateur) [crybabies]:

Thank you for all the videos and blogs and photos and forum posts and interweb rants about how awful the $60 Nexus wireless charging orb is. Mine works great on my Nexus 4, even with a matte Poetic Palette cover on it. The sticky pad sticks to the matte plastic just fine.


I just keep it clean. Wow, amazing, huh? Semi-monthly wiping with a pet hair roller keeps the sticky pad dust and hair free, and a quick squirt with compressed-air-in-a-can finishes the job and keeps the orb looking smart. I found that a Google Play card (cut to size) placed on my charger when it's not in use keeps it pristine for weeks. A Penn tennis ball can lid fits the orb as well (credit due to a forum member for that).

So I thank you. All this negative press and user blather has led to lower prices on eBay for barely new and slightly used orbs. I've been getting them at a real bargain price, $20 lower than MSRP (before tax & shipping). I've now outfitted my office desk and most rooms of my house with these jewels ... I'll hardly have to put a microUSB plug in my Nexus 4 ever again.

Now I just need to find a 1.8A charger for my car that I can use one with....

omdaddi says:

Mine slips. I'm not a crybaby and I keep it clean. I think it is a valid problem. I don't think it is a very good design: form over function. I won't send mine back though. I just lick my finger and wipe the ring (oo er) before I put it down. Not as easy as it might be but it keeps it in place. I only need to do it once a day and it is still easier than a lead.

TopDog5450 says:

I wish I had read this article before I bought one. A complete waste of money. Reminds me of the Apple Maps. The Google engineers who developed this "paperweight" should be shipped to Apple to work on its map app.

crowley35 says:

I am with you lol
i just processed an RMA for the charger (only had it two weeks) thinking mine was "defective", Google is sending me a new charger. I might look at a dbrand skin, see if it sticks any better and prevents the sliding

Jacob Potter says:

Palm had it right, the Touchstone worked flawlessly. I am really disappoint with the Google/LG charging orb, and they should be ashamed of themselves for producing such a piece of crap.

Early onset dementia? Haha!!

charley1g says:

Since I'm not a fan of the nexus 4 bumper, I bought a Rinke slim case. It works on the Orb like a dram. I have no problems with it staying on. It charges great. It also does not add bulk to the phone. I love the Orb.
PS you can also buy it in white rather than a new phone!

yuwtze says:

I've found that the bumper makes a big difference. I bought the stock bumper, and the charger worked fine until I dropped the phone and broke the bumper. When I bought a third party bumper, the phone started sliding exactly as described. The issue is that the back of the bumper sticks out just a hair too far, and prevents the phone from making contact with the grippy surface at all.

s2weden2000 says:

not a problem..

Bett15 says:

Great information there, Thank you for the share. I thought of also sharing about my new CHOE Qi Wireless Charger for Galaxy S4 I9500 (Wireless Charging Pad and Wireless Charging Receiver Included) which I bought at Amazon for $32.99
Works with any Qi-enabled device through an adapter or an embedded chip
Power Source: AC Adaptor plugs into charging pad
Freedom of Placement: No annoying magnets to align or secret spots to find in order to charge your device. The wireless charging pad is Qi standard, you can charge any Qi-enabled device today, tomorrow and beyond. Light indicator to show charging status.
It works well with Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.