iqi wireless charger

Wireless charging has long been one of technology’s Holy Grails. Being able to charge your devices without them having to be tethered to a power outlet would undoubtedly change the way we work, but seeing as we’re still quite some ways away from having electricity beamed to our smartphones and tablets, we’ll have to make do with the next best thing – charging plates.

Many phones support what they like to call wireless charging, but as the pedantic amongst us would point point out, that’s not strictly accurate. After all,  that charging plate still needs a wire! Get beyond that hangup though, and wireless charging is actually pretty cool even in its current state. Putting your tablet or smartphone on a pad and having it start charging is impressive enough, but unfortunately Apple still isn’t up for it. Neither the iPad nor iPhone support wireless charging out of the box, and existing third-party solutions need big cases that come with the required technology built-in, which is far from ideal. Wireless charging should get out of the way, not make itself unmissable.

Enter the iQi wireless charging adapter…

Originally funded on Indiegogo and now available on general sale to anyone with the right amount of cash in their pocket, the iQi solution is an intriguing one because of one main advantage that it has over the competition; it’s almost invisible.

Almost.

iqiconnection

Designed for the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c thanks to its Lightning connector, the iQi solution consists of a connector and a cable. That cable is connected to a flat, barely-there charging area that folds around the back of the iPhone. Once there it can either be stuck with a spot of tape or ideally, covered with an iPhone case. Which is rather magical really, because even hidden behind a case like the official Apple leather solution, the charger still works. Impressive indeed.

Of course, the iQi charger is nothing without a companion charging plate, with two options available. One, a large rectangular affair looks fine on a desk, while the ‘puck’ alternative perhaps more suits a bed-side table or the more image-conscious amongst us. We’ll let you decide which you prefer, but they both work exactly the same regardless.

If you’re not familiar with how wireless charging works, then here’s a crash course: you plug the charging plate in, you put your phone on it. It starts charging. If that sounds overly simplistic, it isn’t. That’s about all there is to it. Or at least, there should be. Unfortunately, that’s not quite my experience with the iQi.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed reviews of this very product pop up online a week or two ago, with seemingly everyone and their dog having given it a try. Largely, they’ve been happy with it besides some hiccups here and there. The reason this particular review has taken longer to write is that I needed to live with it for a while. I needed to know how it behaved over time, with real-world use for a real person. Right now, I’m not using it. That might be a good indication of how it went.

iQidesign

The first issue I came across was actually a strange one that I probably can’t blame the iQi for. For some reason I had to restore my iPhone twice in order to make it detect the charger. It basically didn’t know it was plugged into the Lightning port using either iOS 7.1 beta 5, iOS 7.0.4/6 or the final iOS 7.1. Various restores later, it started working. I still don’t know why, but again, probably not the iQi’s fault.

What is the iQi’s fault though is that it needs to be very, very well seated. In fact, you’ll probably need to get a toothpick or similar and scrape all the fluff out of your Lightning port before you plug the iQi in, else it won’t work. It needs to go particularly deep into the port, and you’ll need to use a credit card to push it all the way in. Quite why it needs so much attention to make it work when none of my conventional charging cables do is something I’ve not worked out yet, but I suspect plenty will be caught out by it. I know I nearly was.

Once the iQi was finally detected by the iPhone, charging worked as you would expect. It’s possibly not quite as quick to charge as a normal wire, but it’s barely noticeable. It does get warm, though not warm enough to really be a concern. For the first charge, all was well and I was ready to declare the whole thing a success.

And then I plugged it in for a second time. Nothing. The charging plate beeped as it does every time it detects the iQi, so all was well there. The iPhone was back to refusing to recognize it’s plugged into the iQi. I took it out, I put it back in, and all was well. Juice flowed, lights lit up and things beeped. Charging was working again.

Until the next time I tried it. Rinse, repeat, grow bored.

The upshot of a couple of weeks of testing is that it appears the iQi needs removing and re-inserting after every full charge. It’s as if iOS doesn’t recognize that it’s been taken off charge, so doesn’t know it’s been put back on it. Whatever it is, it’s irritating, and just enough to put you off using the entire package, especially if you use a case because you’ll need to take your iPhone out in order to go through the whole process. Not great at all.

Having read plenty of reviews of this iQi, I’ve found a couple of mentions of similar behavior, so it seems I’m not alone. At this point I’m unsure whether others simply didn’t have the same issue, or whether they didn’t test it enough to find out. In its current state, for me at least, I won’t be using the iQi solution to charge my iPhone. If you can live with having to unplug the iQi and then replug it to make it charge though, then you’ll probably be golden.

It’s a shame that there are little niggling issues that detract from the iQi, because I really wanted to like it. As it stands, I must admit that the technology seems wonderful, and that it has the makings of being a great product. Iron out the issues and I’ll even buy one.

Until then though, it’ll have to go on the list of ideas that didn’t quite pay off.

Yet.

The iQi iPhone charger is available from Amazon for $35.

  • AndroidDogHeatandSteelersFan

    it beeps every time i place it on the charging circle. would not recommend for texters.

    • -= J$@ =-

      Have you had the same issues as mentioned in the article above?

      • AndroidDogHeatandSteelersFan

        yes, very glitchy. wasted 70$ on it

      • -= J$@ =-

        it sounds gr8 in concept…however, it seems without the support/integration from the iOS 7 itself, it may never work as it should : /

  • Rot Kelfer

    What’s exactly wrong with charging via cable?

    You can still text and talk on the phone.

    • onebyone_

      may we’ll need wait until a true-wireless charge device comes with the iPhone in like five years or more :/

      Do you remember Tesla’s experiments with the true-wireless energy?

      • Snailpo

        Look up witricity on YouTube

      • onebyone_

        just awesome! thanks for this suggestion 😉

      • Rot Kelfer

        nope. haven’t been born yet.

  • Scott Werner

    Try to respiring the device when it dosent want to charge, thats what worked for me.

    • RarestName

      Respiring?

      • Scott Werner

        a software restart. you know when sometimes when you get a tweak from cydia it asks you to respring.

      • Eni

        probably he doesent know what cydia, tweaks ore jailbreak means

      • RarestName

        It was a joke.

        I’ve been jailbreaking since 3.1.3, and have been part of the iDB community longer than you think.

      • Eni

        aha ok

      • Carlos Gomes

        wow, you’re such a hax0r!

      • RarestName

        yeah imma so 1337!!!11

      • Naman Jain

        He probably meant Respring

  • Jack Wong

    If I am getting one of this then I have to get total 3 iQi charing stations… 35+(20×3) = $95.

    It is not just about the money.

    I want my phone stand straight on my office desk, I bought the Belkin dock.

    I want my phone mount in front of me when I am driving.

    When I am home, I don’t care.

    • RarestName

      Why three charging stations though?

      And I just ordered a charging station for like what, 13 bucks?

      • Jack Wong

        One for home, one for office and one for car. I have 2 lightning cable and 1 Belkin lightning dock.

        I know the battery doesn’t last long, not because iPhone battery is weak, because we can do a lot with our phone these days.

        I don’t have any social network account, my phone is mainly for email, RSS, music and video streaming.

  • zabrawn

    I think getting a USB extention wire is a better solution, or the 3M long charging cable..
    How can something designed for convenience be so inconvenient. :S

    • Nick Kaminski

      The only problem with the USB extensions is that Apple has made it so that you get the “This accessory may not be supported” message, and you don’t really get a full charge. Since updating to iOS 7, my phone battery has drained much quicker (10-20% within an hour). I still use mine for accessibility, but I hate that Apple has made it so third party chargers are no longer “certified”.

      • blastingbigairs

        Sharper Image makes a 3′ long lightening cable that I bought at Marshall’s of all places and it works perfectly. Best $10 I’ve ever spent.

      • zabrawn

        You shouldn’t get the Apple message if you use a USB extension cable, I’ve been using it for years and it never popped up, it only pops up if you connect a fake charger/fake 30 pin to lightning adaper.

      • Nick Kaminski

        I have also been using it for years. I actually have two of them that I’ve used for a very long time. As soon as possible updated to iOS 7, I started receiving those messages. Sometimes I will get the message, sometimes I won’t. I went into the Apple store and ask why this started happening and they told me that iOS 7 stopped allowing third-party cables of all kinds.

      • zabrawn

        I use an original cable, I connect it to the 3rd party USB extension cord, it’s 4M long, it charges slower but it never gives me the message, I’ve charged it on iOS 7 on both my old 4S and my 5S and the Apple message never popped up.

      • Nick Kaminski

        I use the cable that came with my iPhone 5s, and connect it to a 2 m long extension. It doesn’t work for me, or on my friends 5s. I guess some people are luckier than others.

  • mondo

    its a lot of money for the convenience of not having to unplug a cable….

  • abdullah575

    review : mean with video !!!

  • Snailpo

    Dear Idowbloadblog writers and readers. In your free time go to YouTube and look up witricity. The next big evolution in wireless charging is literally right around the corner. I just found out about this stuff last week and it is absolutely amazing!

  • FutureMedia

    I don’t understand the attraction to this type of charging because you can’t use the device during charging.

  • Christopher

    Man this would save me so much money then buying apple cords when they choose to stop working

    • Snailpo

      If you are still under warranty take the cord in and tell them it went out, I’ve free replaced mine 3 times now.

  • ChristianPasquariello

    My HTC DNA, my previous phone, had this since 11/2012 and contrary to the opinion of others, it becomes a convenience you really appreciate.

  • Bought one for the iPad air…doesn’t charge it…works on friends iPhone though..

  • Julius

    There are also available dual car charger, wireless qi charger, dual usb charger (2.1amps) in Amazon store, still from CHOETECH..