A quick look at wireless charging tech for the car

While we've been given a reason to think otherwise with the microUSB requirement in Android Auto and the existence of Quick Charge 2.0 accessories for the car, the ability to pop your phone into a car dock and know that it is already charging your phone is a huge deal for folks that spend a lot of time in the car. No need to mess around with cables, just a decent place to hold your phone while on the road. If wireless charging is the way your want your tech to be powered in the car, there's a couple of unique options for you to consider that are all more than capable of getting the job done, and we've spent a little time with all of them.

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ZENS Qi Wireless Cupholder

Zens Qi Cupholder

While most car mounts focus on the ability to enable ease of access, ensuring you can reach out and touch your phone whenever you want, the folks at Zens have taken a different approach. Their cupholder charger is a slot that conceals your phone almost entirely, removing the temptation of using your phone while driving and charging the device at the same time. This is a great design if you've got in-dash or steering wheel mounted controls for media playback and a Bluetooth connection, but it's unlikely to be universally loved by those who drive and want their smartphone to be a central part of that experience.

The Zens Qi cupholder dock is also limited by size, as the slot only holds up to 5-inch devices comfortably. It's perfect for things like the Nexus 5 and the Droid Turbo, but if you're rocking a Note or a Nexus 6 this setup is never going to work for you. The USB port on the top of the dock makes up for the proprietary cable used to connect to the power outlet, especially if you're in need of a quick charge for a Bluetooth headset as well while out and about. While this Zens dock isn't for everyone, it's hard to imagine using anything else once you've tried this and found it fits your setup.

iOttie Easy Flex Car Mount

If wireless charging in the car appeals to you because of its simplicity and functionality, the Easy Flex Car Mount from iOttie is a unique extension of that thought. The design is similar to most suction cup car docks, with a pair of flexible joints that let you position the cradle however you choose. The cradle itself is the most interesting part, with a pair of arms that pull apart and lock into place when not using the device. This locking mechanism causes a button to stick out in the center of the cradle, making it so when you climb into the car and place your phone on the button the arms snap into place and hold the phone, causing a snug grip on the device and immediately starting wireless charging. Pulling the phone from the cradle as you leave the vehicle lets you lock the arms out again with ease, starting the process all over again.

It's a cool concept that works with just about every size phone, and the charging coils on this mount play nice with every device we threw at it. The microUSB port in the back of the device is tucked away to the side, which means you can be clever with concealing cables if that's your thing. The design is about a universal as you get when wireless charging is involved, and the clever locking mechanism makes jumping into the car and throwing your phone into the dock a fairly seamless process.

Samsung Wireless Charging Vehicle Dock

Samsung Universal Wireless

Designed to fit every device that has Samsung Galaxy S somewhere in its name, this wireless charging cradle is a fairly standard suction cup mount with a ball joint and locking ring system in the back that lets you position the cradle however you choose. The little feet that hold the device in place don't move at all on this setup, but the arms slide out to accommodate a couple of sizes, so you get a nice snug fit if you're using a Galaxy S5 or Galaxy S6. Just about everything else is going to either not fit at all or be somewhat problematic as it lines up with the charging coil.

Samsung has included a 2A car charger in this kit, which means you'll be able to unplug the microUSB cable from the dock and plug your phone in manually if you need a quick burst of power. Like all off Samsung's vehicle docks, the suction cup is tucked under a cone of plastic that makes removing the dock from wherever you initially put the accessory a huge pain, but it also means the dock locks securely in place once it's stuck and will do a reasonable job keeping your phone in place as you drive.

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter