Though I’ve never had the opportunity to use a Palm Pre, one thing I know I would like from it is the optional Touchstone charger. The ability to just put down the phone and have it start charging, then pick it up when a you want to use it without having to disconnect cables is a great idea. When I was offered to try Uniden’s new wireless charging system I was looking forward to seeing how handy it really is.
The Uniden Wireless Power kit consists of two components: the wireless base, and the adaptors that link the base to the charging port of your device.
The base is a very flat mat covered in metal strips. The bottom of the mat has rubberized corners to keep it from sliding around whatever surface you place it on.
Included in the box are 8 short cords with connectors for the following devices:
- Nokia 2mm
- Motorola microUSB
- Sony Ericsson
You might noticed one of the more popular phones these days, the iPhone, is absent from that list. Instead of a cord, the iPhone gets a rubberized case which performs the same function of making contact with the pad. The case is actually not bad, offering good protections at the same time as wireless charging. If you have a favourite case you like to use already, however, then you’ll have to make a choice.
There are also cases available for a number of Blackberry’s and the iPod Touch. If you have a compatible device then the case is definitely the way to go.
For those devices that use the cables, a small module provides the contact points.
Unlike wireless charging systems, like Palm’s Touchstone, that use induction to power a device without wires, the Uniden Wireless Power uses conduction. When the metal strips on the pad come into contact with the small metal points on the module, the power begins to flow.
Uniden claim the pad can charge up to five devices simultaneously. Since my review unit only included one of the charging modules in addition to the iPhone case, I could only test it with two devices.
The pad was most convenient when I was using an iPhone, is it made it as simple as placing my phone on the pad and picking it up when I came and went. My HTC Desire on the other hand requires the use of the cable-and-disc, which has to be disconnected.
Whilst there is added convenience for iPhone and Blackberry users, it is also quite a good solution for someone who has multiple devices they need to keep charged, but wants to keep cords down to a minimum. By simply connecting one of the cords to your device then placing it on the pad, it begins charging, no additional power adaptors required.
Charging speeds didn’t seem to be any different to using a standard charger, though this may change when you head towards the five device maximum. With two devices the wireless charging worked very well.
All this convenience does come at a price though, with the Wireless Kit including the 8 tips, one power disc, one iPhone case and the pad itself costing AU$159. Each addition power disc kit costs $45, which seems a bit rich for what it is.
Using the Uniden Wireless Power with my iPhone was very handy, and made keeping it charged throughout the day that bit easier, but with a rather hefty price tag to get started, and the high cost to add even more devices, it feels like an expensive novelty.
The Uniden Wireless Power can be purchased from Officeworks Australia.
RRP: AU$159 for the Deluxe Kit (inc. one power disc and iPhone case), additional discs for $45.
What I Like: Very easy to keep your iPhone charged up, eliminates the clutter of several chargers.
What Needs Improvement: Too expensive for the deluxe pack, additional power discs increase the cost even more.