Nexus Wireless Charger.

Google gives us a $49 Qi-compatible charger that you'll actually want to use.

Once you switch to wireless charging full-time, you might well wonder how you ever lived without it. Sure, plugging a microUSB cable into your phone is easy. But we are lazy creatures. (And we can all agree that mono-directional USB plugs are asinine, right?)

Enter wireless charging. It's had its hiccups, to be sure. Multiple standards (hi, PowerMat), and even incompatibilities within single standards such at Qi. Things are finally settling down, though. And today we have the new Nexus Wireless Charger, available from the Google Play Store for $49.99. 

That's not cheap, but you can get a good bit of mileage out of this guy.

Wireless chargers aren't cheap. But unlike last year's abomination, you'll get your money's worth out of this one.

So first things first: Pop the charger out of the box — and someone certainly paid attention to detail with the packaging — and you'll be surprised at how small this thing is, about 2.5 inches square, just a little smaller than the WCP-300 wireless charger that LG put out last year. The base slopes in like an inverted pyramid, so the bottom's a tad smaller than the top. But where it really gets fun is the tacky ring that affixes it firmly to a desk or table or, yes, a vertical surface. It's that sticky. (Nobody actually recommends charging your phone vertically, folks.) The tacky part picks up dust and dirt pretty easily, as you'd expect, so you need to keep it clean so it does its job.

The charger itself gets power via a microUSB port. To that end, Google's included a 9W power adapter. You plug it into the wall and attach the included microUSB cable to the charger, then you're on your way. Put a Nexus 4 or Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 — or whatever other Qi-compatible device you have laying around — on the charger. Then, charge! (Output is rated at 1.8A.) 

We mentioned that the base of the charger is pretty darn tacky, but that's not the only surprise up its sleeve. It's also magnetic around the outer edges of the face. That keeps the Nexus 5 firmly in place, unlike its predecessor. (Which, by the way, can still go sliding off this thing, even though it also makes use of a weaker magnetic pull.)

Nexus Wireless ChargerJust how good is that magnetic hold? Again, we don't recommend you try to charge your phone vertically — but you can if you really want to.

And that's it, basically. The charger itself is stylish enough to keep out when you're not actually charging something, though the glossy face (with the Nexus logo subtly peeking through) does attract fingerprints like nobody's business. And as an added bonus, it works through the official Nexus cases as well. And it's way better than the much-maligned Nexus 4 Wireless Charger. You can get Qi-compatible chargers for cheaper, we suppose. But this one says Nexus. So you know it's good.

 

Reader comments

The Nexus Wireless Charger (2013)

133 Comments

Awesome, I have been looking at wireless chargers and saw this the other day. But after reading this... Its the one! Thanks

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Wish I had waited a week longer before buying the Nokia chargers I bought. Oh well, they were only around $20. Ugh, I waste so much money when new phones are released...

Picked up 3 Nokia chargers off AT&T website for $55 plus tax. Free shipping too. Now I have one for home, work, and even the car if I get around to modding it.

I hope you're right, I have some of the Nokias on the way from AT&Ts deal for my Nexus 5. 3 of them for the price of one of these, we'll see if it works out.

Just got a G2 and Note 3 on Verizon with wireless charging (added it for the Note 3) thinking I would be using it all the time at work mostly where I was constantly plugging in my old phone at my desk and unplugging every time I leave. With the G2 & Note 3, who the crap cares because my battery lasts all day with heavy usage. The only time I use a charger is right at bed and I hardly mind plugging it in before I'm out for the night...plus wireless is not as fast.

Wireless charging is a dream for those with poor battery life with a ton of standby time with your phone just sitting on a desk/dresser doing nothing. If you are talking on the phone, surfing the net, or playing games, a wireless charger won't help and you need the traditional cable.

For anyone who has this charger, how long does it generally take to fully charge? Is it comparable to the time it takes on the USB charger, or is it a lot slower?

It does charge fast, but not as fast as a direct cable connection (depending on charger rating) - this is correct. the following comment frwom impulse is incorrect and I replied in more detail.

Where are you getting your information? "The Output is rated at 1.8A". The charger that comes with the nexus is 2.0A, and the Nexus 5 can handle 2.5A (and possibly higher) rated chargers. I often use a HP Touchpad charger (rated at 10A) to charge my Nexus 5. Since the Nexus 5 has protection built in it will not damage your phone to use higher rated chargers - the phone will only draw what it can handle. From simple common sense and math you can see the wireless charger is not nearly as powerful as a direct plug USB charger. The wireless charger itself draws about 1,8 to 2.0 amps but much of this is lost to heat conversion and power lost to distance (very small distances are exponential power loses with wireless charging). If you have a case on your phone your charging speed can drop by as much 50%, IF the charger can get through the case in the first place. That said; a bare Nexus 5 will charge much slower on the wireless charger than it would with the charger included wit.h the phone. If you are plugging your phone into your computer, than yes, it's faster than that as computers usually put out about 500mAh (0.5A) through USB ports.
If that's not enough for you I have one of these, and while its very cool and I highly recommend it, I can tell you from personal experience it's slower than a USB charger plugged into the wall (as long as that charger is over 1.5A). It's not painfully slow though, not nearly as slow as plugging your Nexus 5 into a computer. From dead it will charge an OFF Nexus 5 in about 3-4 hours, whereas drawing 2.5 Amps from my wall charger will charge it from dead in just over an hour.

I have last year's, and it works well for me. I've not had any issues. I just use it at night. I really enjoy the convenience.

What makes the orb so terrible?

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The way the phone slips off it 90% of the time and how it doesn't charge unless it is on it just right which it never is since it slips off 90% of the time.

Phil, Does the nexus 7 2013 grab enough that the averagee Eight year kid would have an easy enough time lining things up so it charfes correctly?

I'd love to get my son a Qi charger for his tablet to save wear and tear on the USB but I am concerned that he might might comeback to an uncharged tablet because he had something misaligned.

Man, I love my Android phones, but every time something like this happens, I remember my beloved Pre with its magnetic Touchstone and think, "imagine the world if Leo 'no brains, no balls' Apotheker hadn't destroyed Palm". :-/

*pouring one out for our dead homey Palm*
I still use the touchstone with a modded back on my S3. Its the perfect size, magnetic with a sticky bottom, and its ANGLED. Was so hoping the next Nexus charger would be like this with an angle. I'm sure its because of the Nexus 7 though that it couldn't.

Agreed. I think Matias had a hand in this. It is now pretty damn close to the original touchstone. I have both touchstone and Qi backs for an S4. This addition of magnets may finally allow Qi to take off. Having to fiddle with alignment really killed what was so compelling about the touchstone. The phone just "thunks" down in such a satisfying way.

I have to agree with you. Webos had it's chance but piss poor software is what killed it. I had a pre- and it was god awful! The TMC errors all the time, memory leaks, etc. That experience was so bad I could not go back even after the the pre+ and the pre 2 came out. there was just so much wrong with webos. It felt like they tried to run before they could even crawl.

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Shout out to all the former PreCentral family!

I still use my Touchstone for my Touchpad (now with Cyanogenmod) daily. Oddly enough, it seems easier to charge on Android than it did on webOS, where it would constantly beep if you didn't have it lined up perfectly.

Will this be released in the UK? The cases are shown on the accessories page of the UK store but this isn't.

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I guess I'm the only one that loved the orb. I had a screen protector on the rear of the Nexus 4 and it stuck like glue to the orb.

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I had absolutely no issue with the N4 orb. I use it now with the N5 without issue. In fact, I like it more than other chargers I've used since it tilts the phone up towards you.

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I love the design of the orb, since it basically turns my phone into a really nice-looking clock (using the Timely Daydream). It's actually much, much better with the Nexus 5, since the plastic back binds to the sticky surface a whole lot better.

The only issue I have with the orb is that the charging speed is pretty slow. I hope the new version is better about that.

I guess I'm the only one that loved the orb. I had a screen protector on the rear of the Nexus 4 and it stuck like glue to the orb.

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I dont think the 2012 model has QI, a quick search would turn up that answer. QI is a standard so if it supports it this charger will work. I really doubt it would have the magnet that hold its on.. not that it is really needed. Good luck

If I have a Nexus 4 with Seidio Active case :

1) will this stick enough to stay on the unit and
2) is the unit "strong" enough to get through the thick case (that has a metal kickstand)? I know last year's orb was supposed to work but I wanted something flat... Want to be sure this works before ordering.

Do the magnets cause issues with any other phones, I.e. put them in car mode? My wife has the Droid Maxx and that supports Qi chargin. Curious how it works with other non-nexus phones.

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Doesn't work with my Maxx and doubt that it is compatible with all Qi devices. Qi chargers work with nexus devices but it appears that the nexus chargers may not work with other Qi receivers.

Wireless charging in its current form makes no sense to me. The only time it's useful is if you're going to leave the device unused for long periods of time; overnight, etc. If you need to use your device you have to remove if from the charger thus stopping the charge. With USB it continues to charge! The time it takes to align a device on the charger isn't even less than the time it takes to install a USB cable. And the argument about putting the USB cable in wrong is just asinine. Once you've had your device for even a day you should know which way the cable goes in.

I disagree. Qi is designed to have a very wide area of placement. My Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 can be placed within a 2" diameter circle of the center of my charger, and it charges. This notion of having to carefully align the device is false.

Different mats are rated for different charging rates. The one that I use charges about as fast as the AC adapter (1.5A I think)...I'm not exaggerating. This was what I based my purchase on because many of the Qi chargers will charge at the USB rate of ~600mA. Qi also works with pretty thick TPU cases too.

Angled Qi stand/pad on the desk = being able to charge the device in view and pick it up every once in a while without either dealing with the cable across the desk or constant reconnection...

The magnets on this new pad should make it ideal for the bedside, since you'll be able to be even more lax with how you drop it, definitely easier than fishing out a cable while half asleep or not looking.

The Qi pad on my living room table is great for just setting the tablet down whenever not in use.

Don't knock it 'till you try it IMO.

Does anybody make a wireless charger that will charge 2 devices? I have a nexus 5 and nexus 7 that I want to charge... But I don't want 2 chargers lading around...

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Sticking with my LG WCP-300s, got them off Verizon with a discount, so good for a while. Plus they have higher output than most so the charge time is almost identical to wired for both my Lumia 920 and N4/5.

Does anyone know a good way to have the phone stay on while wirelessly charging? Yes, I know about the developer options that you can check to have your phone (Nexus5) screen stay on while charging, but this only works when the usb cable is plugged into the phone directly. Not via Qi charging.
I have the TYLT desk charger for work, and would like the screen to stay on while in the stand. But I can not figure out how, or can not find a good app that works.

I didn't think Tasker differentiated between wired and wireless charging but I just checked and it does. So definitely Tasker is the answer here.

why must all wireless chargers be flat pads....please bring back the angled stone with magnets to securely charge me device. Benefits include being able to see the notifications from your desk without lifting it off the pad, mounting in your car (Palm fans rejoice) and a way to ensure you have the device line up properly. Nothing worse to wake up and see the device has been bumped slightly off the charger by your kid or pet and didnt charge like you thought it would. This is a case where inferior tech wins out once again.

Not all wireless chargers are flat pads. Last week, I got a TYLT VU wireless charger (http://www.tylt.com/vu) for my Nexus 5. It keeps the phone at a 45-degree angle, so I can do everything but talk on it while still charging. It has three magnets, so placement is super simple - and it can charge while either horizontal or vertical. There's also an unobtrusive light indicator on the bottom that shows whether or not the device is charging.

It doesn't have magnets to keep your device in place, but with the "stand" format it doesn't really need one. I've fallen in like with this charger and would recommend it highly.

I know this isn't normal, but because I don't plug my phone in the same place every night since I don't always sleep in the same place, this just doesn't make since for me. If I had a consistent place to park my phone every night, I'd be all over this.

Same here. Lg smart fit 2 is too high. There are some other ones but I guess I'm waiting for iottie as audiovox is super high and I don't like the chose version.

Are the magnets strong enough to hold the phone vertically for use in the car? Would you feel comfortable about the phone not falling off?

Great. It works with the Nexus 4, 5, 7 [2013]. But it's flat. I LOVE how the 2012 charger keeps my N4 angled so I can read Clock Plus, Dashclock, or hell -- Dessert Case daydreams.

But I do like the magnetic grip. We all hollered and threw our toys out of the pram over that in 2012. Glad to see they listened (and picked up our toys).

what i didn't like was there is no indication that the phone is charging or beginning to charge. it's hard to tell if you actually hit the sweet spot. there is no sound notification, there is no pop up visual notification, there is no LED light. so unless the display is on - you don't know if it's charging or beginning to charge. and although the sweet spot is somewhat large and forgiving vs. predecessors - it is not perfect and fool-proof. i would like Kit Kat to be updated with a very brief notification which pops up every time you put the phone on the charger that says, of course, "Wireless Charging" as a confirmation in addition to a brief subtle sound. it is my understanding the sound notification does not always occur.

Using the CHOE Qi charger my Nexus 5 chirps when I put it on the charger, plus the display turns on for a second. Plus the pad has an LED that turns on.

I'm pretty sure that Phil's Nexus Wireless Chrager had a USB cord plugged in, but that USB cord wasn't actually plugged into the wall on the other end.

When you put the phone on the wireless charger the display comes on and says charging just like it does when you plug in your device. I've seen that consistently on the video reviews.

Doesn't work with my Droid Maxx which is Qi. Nothing on the site and box say it's Qi compatible. Lots of people are going to be mad for all the folks claiming it is when it doesn't seem to be for me...

I got the Tylt Qi wireless charger for my Nexus 7 (2013) and I love it. It holds my tablet in an angle. So I'm able to view my screen while charging.

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Nice. I looked at those but too expensive at $80. The problem with products like these is that they feel their design is so much better than the competition that it warrants a much higher price, despite most likely having only slightly higher manufacturing costs.

They should instead sell the device for the same price as other 3rd party retailers, or slightly higher, and they will sell millions.

Annoyed that it doesn't work with my 2013 Nexus 7 when it is in the official Nexus 7 case. Works fine out of the case and with my Nexus 5

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Does the phone's magnets only work up and down or can you turn the phone? Also can the charging dock be tilted on to one of its sidse while charging to make it easier to see from a night stand or desk?

I bought the CHOE Qi charger on Amazon for $29.99. It has been as cheap as $25. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C40OG22/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?i...

No complaints so far. It's a similar size to the Nexus charger. It's made of a nice matte material that is not slippery. It has an LED on the front that illuminates when it is charging, and my Nexus 5 also chirps and the display comes on momentarlily when I lay it on the charger to let me know it's charging.

The only drawback is that you have to supply your own adapter block/brick (just the block, not the wire). It was not a problem for me because I have several extra Samsung blocks. Plus it doesn't say Nexus. But for $20 cheaper... it's a deal.

I got that qi charger - and it drives me crazy.
It charges till 100% and than discharges without recharge.
Bad charger.

I've been able to charge my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 through some pretty thick cases, but it isn't as reliable to start charging as if you put the phone directly on the pad. Whether or not it regularly works on your phone with a case will likely be hit-or-miss.

This will be my first return back into wireless charging since using my Palm Pre back in 2009. (I didn't bother with the Nexus 4 or its wireless charger, because Google didn't do as good a job as Palm did with their Touchstone.) I'm glad I waited.

I bought two (one for work and one for home). I'm looking forward to their arrival.

Can anyone comment on how well the Nexus 4 does at staying attached to the magnet? I am wondering if the glass back of the N4 would prohibit the N4 from properly sticking to the magnets of the charger causing the phone to slide easily.

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Phil, will this hold the LG G2??? This could be perfect for using in the car. Stick the charger to the front of the dash, stick the phone on the charger. voila.

Can anyone confirm if anyone is facing excessive battery drain after a complete charge? With the Orb, after a full charge, my N4 would automatically loose charge and I wake up with my phone battery at 70%. Quick check on battery usage says Android System is the culprit. No issues with the wall charger.

Does it get hot? I heard many wireless chargers get very hot at times. This will be my first wireless charger and $50 is quite steep I don't want to regret it.

I notice my phone getting notably hotter when charging on a Qi pad compared to a regular charger cable. When you think about what it's doing, it's not surprising that the back of the phone/tablet would get hot with inductive charging.

So Phil, I love you guys but this is a major mistake. This new Nexus Charger may not be Qi. I'm not sure where you got your info but it doesn't say Qi anywhere on the Google Play site and nowhere on the documentation. That being said, it does NOT work with my Droid Maxx and I presume it may not work with anything else that is actually listed as Qi compatible...such as G2, etc. I may be wrong but my Droid Maxx works great on half a dozen other chargers but I spent 30 minutes shuffling it around on the new charger to no avail. My Nexus 7 2013 works well so far though...

Comeon, man!

So I went to VZW to test some other devices and it works on the G2 and the Nokia Windows phones. I tested it on the Maxx and the Mini and both do not function. I'm hoping this is a software thing but I'm not thinking that this will get fixed either way. Googlerola is making incompatible chargers but I guess the Maxx and Mini weren't under Google's guise.

It also doesn't work on at least one of the Qi coils that go in the Samsung GS4. Look like it is time to whip out the nerd bag and do some poking around.

OK, I take that back. It does work with the Qi coil that I have for the GS4. I was using a different USB charger that likely didn't supply enough current. Using the charger the came with it, it works fine.

New info: With that other "sub-standard" charger, a red LED turns on in the lower half n the center. Clearly this signifies that there is a power issue. It's kinda cool as it shines through the plastic. You would never know it is there until it turns on.

Mine arrived last night, I'm pretty impressed so far. Worlds better than the previous Orb (which I ditched when I sold my N4), and a nice improvement over the WCP-300s I've been using.

Surprisingly enough the Samsung Qi back for the S4 seems to stick to the magnets as well, and recognizes the charger as a "dock" for the purposes of daydream and the dedicated home screen, which none of my other chargers have.

Yes, I noticed that too - though it depends on where the coil lands. A different placement I tried, and with the Palm touchstone coil, the charger sits lower on the phone and does not trigger the magnetic switch. When the switch _is_ triggered, it goes into the same mode that the smart cover triggers and shows status, time and missed call info - that shows through the clear window.

This might be fine for a bedside setup, but for my general use, I prefer it run normally. I have a touchstone mounted in the car vertically and use it for GPS and Spotify. So I would prefer it not go into this mode.

Now to try and see if I can disable it.

BTW I'm seeing 640mA of charge current regardless of the Qi charger - and with the Touchstone setup. I suspect that the current is limited by the S4.

Could anyone who has this charger check the plug and let me know what voltage it supports?
I'm in europe, and would like to know if it supports 220/240v.
I'd be amazed if it only supports 110/120, but the "9W 1.8A AC Adaptor (For use in the United States and Canada only)" bit worries me.

I'm hoping google are just referring to the plug type, and not the voltage.

Thanks.

I am in Australia and I am also worried about this thing. So far I have asked this questions in a couple of forums but no definitive answer yet.

Looking at the back of the device (just search google images for an image which shows the back of the Nexus 2013 charger; can't post links here) it says it accepts input of 5V DC 1.8A max. So theory says it should work fine with the Nexus 10 adapter which gives an output of 5V DC 2A.

I've purchased one from the UK which was shipped from the UK, and yes, it works with the UK electric supply at 220/240v AC and is shipped with a neat, well designed and compact UK mains plug, no adapters needed. Bottom line is you can probably plug most micro USB chargers into the socket of this device, so long as the charger delivers sufficient current, it should work (for reference, mine works fine with my Blackberry playbook charger).

However, although it works beautifully with an uncased N7, that extra <1mm of plastic that is the case means the Nexus 7 (2013/2014 version) DOES NOT work through the official Google N7 case, which is a major disappointment, so be aware of this before purchasing.

For those who are considering buying this and use their Nexus with a case, I'd advise you avoid. I've just purchased the official Google N7 charger and have the Google case. The charger does not work with the case in place, and removing it to charge on a daily basis not only weakens the case and is a regular inconvenience, it completely negates the point of being able to drop your Android device onto a wireless charger. It's just easier and much quicker to plug in the micro USB charger. My message is: If you have a case on your Android, avoid this beautifully designed but ill-thought out device. I really want to like it but it's not fit for purpose for a working Android that does the daily commute and NEEDS a case to protect it. Mine will be reluctantly returned to Google for a refund and a third party charger that can charge through < 1mm of plastic purchased instead. Very disappointed that Google's engineers didn't test this before shipping it, it's a reasonable expectation for a working device (rather than an uncased leisure device). :(

I am curious as to something. The wireless charger plug is rating at 1.8 and 2.5A (it actually lists one on the plug and one on the ac power block itself). I'm curious as it if you an plug a higher rated charger, say a 10amp charger, to the wireless charging pad and have it charge faster due to stronger electromagnetic fields. For example - if I plug my 10amp HP Touchpad USB charger into the wireless charger and charge the phone that way will it charge the phone faster? The phone can draw up to 2.5 amps through direct connection USB charging - so i'm wondering if that translates to wireless charging as well.