First look: The Air Dock wireless charger

This car dock has a great feature — wireless charging

Wireless charging is a great way to keep your phone battery topped off while it's not in your hands. Having a charger on your desk is really handy, and it makes the worries of battery life on today's big-screen phones just about nonexistent. But one place that really needs some wireless charging love in the car — and it's about to get some.

The folks at Air Dock have kicked off an Indiegogo campaign for what they call the world's best smartphone car charger, and after using it for a couple days I have to agree with them. If you use — and I mean really use — your phone in the car, for navigation, or phone calls, or as a music player or to entertain the passenger with a video or two, this is what you need. 


Using the Air Dock

It looks and acts like a well-built car dock. The suction base will grip tight to your window or one of those adhesive disks on your dash, and it's fully articulated to swing into any position. I found it works well in the center of the windshield up by the mirror, or over by the side pillar if you want it out of the way or Mr. Policeman says you can't have it in the center. It uses a regular USB to microUSB cable for the charging circuit, so any long cable or extension (I used the one that came with an Apple Keyboard) can be tucked under the trim and routed out of the way. It does require a 2Amp connection, like most wireless chargers, so be sure your cigarette plug or hard-wired power source supplies it. 

After the easy install, you just use it like any other car dock. The developers sent me the model that works with glossy-backed phones and it has a nano-technology sticky pad to hold it in place. This worked really well on the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3, as well as the Nexus 4. This pad will get dirty — it's super sticky — but you just wipe it clean and it's good as new. It's worth mentioning that you will need to add a wireless charging kit of some sort to the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3, but they're readily available and inexpensive. The folks at Air Dock are also working on a version for the Nexus 5 that uses magnets to hold things in place, because the matte-finish back doesn't stick as well as the glossy finish on the Galaxy phones or the Nexus 4.

Where do I get one?

Right now, the developers have kicked off an Indiegogo campaign for the Air Dock. You can get in as a tester with the prototype for $39, and start using it right away. I've got the prototype model here, and my critical eye can only find tiny issues with the fit and finish or small blemishes in the materials. It works perfectly, and I say go for it. But be quick — there are a limited number of slots open.

Everyone else can get in for $45, with an expected delivery date of February 2014. 

This has been a long time coming, and if you have a compatible phone — the Nexus 4, the Nexus 5, some LG G2 models, or a Galaxy S3 or S4 with a wireless charging kit — I really think you'll love it. 

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.