Zens USB charger

OK, OK. Wireless charging isn't really wireless charging. At some point you have to actually plug it into something. We get that. And the Zens Qi USB wireless charger — as you might have guessed — does things just a little differently. It's powered by a USB port.

This single-spot charger is just a bit smaller than a Nexus 5. And it's not the quickest of chargers, either — just about a trickle. But in this case, it's convenient. No having to worry about finding an outlet. Just plug it into your computer, place your phone on the pad, and let it do its thing. There's a small LED on the front face of the charger. It may be hidden, depending on the size of your phone, but it flashes while the device is charging and glows steady when it's done.

All that said, this thing's a bit pricey. And not all that fast. But it is convenient. So there's that.

Zens USB charger


Reader comments

The Zens Qi USB wireless charging pad


The Adata CE700, which y'all reviewed before, is WAY cooler and also charges off USB. And it's $40.

The PowerBot is only $20. It also will run off USB. And it's small and round and has a rubberized ring around the top to keep the phone from sliding off - which makes it my charger of choice to be in the center console of my truck for wireless charging while driving.

I bought one each of the CE700 for my S4 and my gf's Note 2. They are great! I love how they will hold the phone propped up - in either portrait or landscape - for use as a bedside or desktop clock. Or, of course, you can use them laying flat.

The PowerBot's work just as well, as far as actual charging goes, too. They just provide me different functionality.

Although it comes with an AC adapter, the LG WCP-300 will also work when plugged directly into a USB port. I had to do this for my charger at work as I wasn't allowed to plug in a untested AC power supply for safety reasons. It actually works quite well and charged my existing Nexus 4 quicker than I thought it would.

are you saying the LG product's power supply is not UL listed? doesn't that indicate some level of safety testing? or does your employer have to do their own testing? my employer is the opposite: plug into the wall all you want, but don't dare plug into usb (even just for power).

The WCP-300's USB/AC adapter is the same one they ship with phones, probably just a weird work rule. I have that one, the Google one with magnets, and the upright Nokia one... All excel at a certain role. The Nokia one is good for the desk for obvious reasons. The Google one is great for the bedside since the magnet makes dropping the phone in it easier, the LG one is better for the living room cause it's compact and can be shuffled around easily, also nice for travel.

It shouldn't really be any slower than charging directly from your laptop. Standard USB only provides 500mA. Normal Qi charges will provide up to 640mA.

They are both slow compared to charging by plugging in directly, which, on some phones anyway, will feed the phone at 2000mA.

A "Normal Qi" charger will not provide 640mA when connected to a 500mA limited supply. It is not a perfect transfer of energy either, so it also follows that a Qi charger will be outputting some amount LESS than what it is being provided, making laptop->usb->Qi->phone slower than laptop->usb->phone.

"A "Normal Qi" charger will not provide 640mA when connected to a 500mA limited supply"

Well, duh! That's why I said "up to 640 mA". However, my bad for not being clear and implying that it would charge 100% as fast on USB. I really meant to say that, for practical purposes, I think it will be just as fast. Meaning, close enough to not really matter. But, of course, that is subjective, so YMMV.

How can it be as fast as directly to USB when charging through Qi has horrible efficency compared to charging by cable?
If charging though USB via cable is slow, USB charging via Qi is even slower as it transfers about 30% less power to the device.

Let me try this a different way. If 2 hours is acceptable to you, but 2 hours and 36 minutes is not, then you should probably just plug your cable straight into a wall adapter and straight into the phone.

agreed. I was ready to buy one of the $20 to $30 Qi chargers for my N5 and N7 until I started to read about power output (and how many of the cheapers ones don't mention output in their specs because it would disclose their major weakness). the slower rate with the N7's larger battery wouldn't make a great combo. the Nexus charger uses a 9W supply and it makes sense why.

I will admit that I never researched if there is a Qi imposed upper limit. 640 is not much better than 500, but my charge times on the nexus wireless charger seem acceptable (but probably because I don't time them compared to direct wired AC charging).

if one did buy a cheaper Qi charger (either that didn't come with an AC supply at all, or a lower power spec'd one) can one replace it with a different supply (perhaps the 9W supply on Google Play Devices) and get better Qi output?

I doubt that a beefier power supply would change the charger's output.

I also did not buy into Qi for a long time because of the slow charging times. Well, that and the expense. But, now that you can buy a charging receiver for $7 that fits under the stock back cover of an S4, and you can get chargers for $8 on eBay, I decided it was now worth trying. And, I must say, charging is so much more convenient now (with a wireless charger on my desk, my bedside table, and in the center console of my truck), that my phone stays topped up or nearly so almost all the time. And so, the slower charge rate ends up almost never mattering. And for the rare occasion when I do need to charge up quickly, I just pull that plug out of the charger and plug it straight into the phone.

When adding Qi charging to my S4 was going to cost $100 (for a wireless charging back cover and a charger base), it was not worth it to me. But, less than $35 to have wireless charging with 3 charging bases is a completely different value proposition. Especially since I will be able to use the charging bases with any and all future phones I get (hopefully), so they are not the wasted investment that I've had so many times in the past when I've bought model-specific charging docks.

More like 3h instead of 2h, and yes when I was in a situation I had to charge via USB, that one hour mattered. Point taken when you have all the time of the world, that extra 30-60 min doesn't matter.

Give me a SnapDragon 800 phone with QuickCharge enabled and a 1.8 or 2.0 amp charger.

Add in Battery Monitor Widget and watch as my phone charges at 1634mAh with the screen on...!

Posted via SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2 that still spins fast after using 60GB in a billing cycle. {No Overages}

Charging my Nexus 5 via the USB3 port on my laptop is basically a holding pattern. If I'm doing anything with it while it's plugged in, the battery doesn't really charge at all. I doubt charging over this thing would even break even, and it'd be one more fairly bulky thing I'd have to throw in my backpack when I move around. No thanks.

Nope, I still don't get why anyone would pay for wireless charging

Posted from my newly Kit Katted Droid Ultra

I use a Qi charger for overnight charging since I won't be using the device while I sleep. I use Qi charging to preserve the USB port by limiting the number of insertions into the plug. I picked up a Qi charger because for some reason, my Nexus 5 USB seems less sturdy than the Galaxy Nexus or my Droid X.

convenience. nightstand: drop it there and charges. work desk: can see it, quickly pick up and use it, put it back and back to charging. here's another big reason: multiple kids using multiple Nexus 7s--they are not the most gentle when it comes to microusb connectors, but difficult for them to mess up anything qi charging.

Does it charge the phone to 100%? I bought a qi pad off amazon and won't charge my nexus to 100. Only charges it to 98%.

Posted via Android Central App

Which model? I have the charging orb that was released along with the Nexus 4, and it charges to 100% just fine (albeit slowly).

Why do they keep making them so small? I want a big flat mat that I can just chuck a phone and/or s tablet on and not worry about placing it on a box that's smaller than my phone.

Posted via Android Central App

I own the one from the Play store and really like that it uses magnets for alignment and that it is small. The only issue I've found with that charger is the fact that I find my spouse's N5 on it. I could use one or two more of them.

There's the Panasonic QE-TM101. It mechanically repositions its charging coil to match your device too.

I got mine for $39.16 that easter sale they had and one the plus side just set it on the wireless charger and forget about it no cord to plug in the phone.

Posted via Android Central App

ON: "Wireless charging isn't really wireless charging"

Suggestion: "Wireless charging isn't really wire-FREE charging"

Something i learned when @ my job we went "paperless", not paper-free.

This is nothing new. I bought a Qi wireless charger that plugs into USB for $16 off of Amazon. It works great. It charges a lot faster than I anticipated.

I never hear any mention of the wireless chargers sold at vivealive.net. I have three in my house, and three phones that can use them... My Nexus 5, my son's HTC 8X and my youngest son's S3. All three phones charge as fast, or faster, on wireless than directly plugged in. None of them get hot, all work well with cases and none are picky about placement.
Best of all they are only $14.99 last time I looked!

By the way, I have three of the Versa model chargers...