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.
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.)
Just 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.
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