GADGETS :: January 6, 2021

(by Gregg Ellman / @greggellman) Charging is not something we want to do, we do it because it’s critical. And often we want it now, we want it fast, cable-free and safe.

Everyone has a lot of power hungry devices and have probably only increased in numbers during the past holiday season. Just because they need a charge doesn’t make all the devices and their corresponding charging systems the same. 

The move towards wireless isn’t a trend anymore. It’s here now and here to stay. You see it in smartphones, true wireless earbuds and I expect more products to incorporate cord-cutting charging with product launches in the next few weeks.

Sure, you get a charger with a smartphone sometimes, and sometimes not. With the new iPhone 12, since it charges with Qi wireless charging they no longer included a USB AC plug. So you have to choose something. Although your older cables might work, there are better ways.

How do you choose the right charger? How many devices do you have? What kind of devices, wireless charging, or not? Is this for a home for a family or just for an office desk for a single smartphone? These are questions you have to answer yourself because there are a lot of cool chargers out there that will charge fast, wirelessly, and multiple devices simultaneously.

Either way, we all need a charge.

The Nomad Base Station Pro ($199.95) is a charging dream team built into one. Nomad refers to it elegantly on their website, and after using it, it’s hard to argue. The full-surface wireless charging solution can charge up to three devices at one time. 

What makes this Base Station Pro stand out is the position-less wireless charging. If you have ever used any Qi wireless charger, you know a smartphone must be positioned just right on the pad for charging to begin. 

Nomad has achieved the position-less charging; inside pad are 18 dedicated overlapping charging coils that intelligently work together to form an electromagnetic coupling to your device’s power receiver.

What it means to you is you can place your device anywhere at any angle on the well-constructed aluminum for charging to begin. No more moving it around until you see the charging indiction on your device; just place the Qi-enabled wireless charging device on the pad, and charge away.

Cosmetically, the Base Station Pro (5.6-by-8.7-by-0.5-inches) has an aluminum frame with a black padded leather surface. Charging is done up to 7.5W of speed and the pad is powered with 30W coming from a USB-C powered connection. Compatibility is with any Qi-enabled devices, and as with any charging, times vary by device and the life of the internal battery.

A matching aluminum Apple Watch charging mount is expected to be available in the next few month and is free with a Base Station Pro order. If you already have a Base Station Pro, contact Nomad to get the free Apple Watch attachment once they become available. 

Kew Labs touts UTS-1 as the world’s first invisible wireless smartphone charger, offering patented IPC technology to provide an optimal space-saving wireless charging solution.

There is an installation with the UTS-1, which takes just seconds. Once you decide where you want the charger it attaches to the underside of a desk or flat surfaces from 0.7 to 1.0-inch thick, with small screws or adhesive tape. A table is on the side of the box showing a chart with a table thickness checker and charger setting guide, to ensure it will work before the box is opened.

Kew lists the UTS-1 to charge through all non-metallic surfaces, wood, plastic, granite, quartz, marble, and glass as long as they are within the range of proper thickness.

The placement is also important but with this type of easy installation, it can be moved easily. Once installed, the UTS-1 provides up to 30w of output power and an auto-shutoff is great for when the device is fully charged.

A power supply is included for the charger, which measures 7.17-by-4.41-by-0.79-inches. Other safety features include foreign object detection, overcharge protection, over current protection, and temperature-controlled shut-off. $104.99

Even with a basic USB charging cable and USB AC plugs, all aren’t the same. 

As previously mentioned, Anker’s new tiny but powerful single 20-watt PowerPort III Nano ($16.99) is the same size (1.81-by-1.08-by-1.08-inches) as the original 5-watt charger everyone has. But the results are far superior with new technology producing 20 watts output for increased efficiency.

In 30 minutes of charging, with the PowerPort III Nano starting with a zero percent battery, the Nano will produce 53-percent of the charge, while the original 5 watt chargers only produced 17 percent. 

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