Category Archives: wireless

In Praise of Qi Wireless Charging



My first experience of wireless phone charging was over ten years ago in 2009 with the Palm Pre and its Touchstone charger, which doubled up as a desk stand, tilting the phone at just the right angle. After the annoyances of multiple charger connectors, the simplicity of wireless charging was a revelation, even though Palm’s implementation had a few quirks. Wireless charging and the Touchstones were a feature of the Palm line-up right up until HP threw it all in the bin in 2011.

Joining Google’s Nexus series, my next phone with wireless charging was the Nexus 4 in 2013, which really was a beautiful device with an amazing glass back that shimmered in the light…it was lovely. On the Nexus 4, the wireless charging conformed to the Qi standard which was already looking to be the frontrunner in the wireless charging wars. To keep the Nexus 4 charged, I bought a Zens wireless charger and was sent a Mugenizer N11 wireless charging battery pack to review. The old reviews are still up on GNC for your enjoyment. Both chargers supported the Qi standard by Wireless Power Consortium. Apparently Qi is pronounced “chee” and comes from the Chinese word that translates as “air” and figuratively as “material energy”, “life force”, or “energy flow” (Wikipedia).

Sadly, after three affordable Nexus devices, Google went all up market with the Nexus 5 and I jumped ship to OnePlus who had this strange invite-only sales strategy for their new One smartphone, but, hey, it worked.

I’ve been a OnePlus owner ever since then, but I’ve had to wait over five years for OnePlus to build wireless charging into the new 8 Pro. Being OnePlus, the 8 Pro has its own fast charging standard, but it still supports the underlying Qi standard. As a result, and somewhat amazingly, the Qi chargers from 2013 for the Nexus 4 still work.. Yes, their power output of 5 W is significantly less than the 30 W the OnePlus can take, but if I’m dropping the 8 Pro on the Zens pad for an overnight charge it doesn’t really matter.

Too often technology becomes obsolete in a few years so it’s encouraging to see that wireless chargers from six or seven years ago still work, and all credit should go to the Wireless Power Consortium and the Qi standard.


A Beast of a Battery Pack from Chargeasap



Battery packs are ten-a-penny on crowdfunding websites but this one from Chargeasap caught my eye. It’s a total beast of battery pack, packing in a beefy 20 000 mAh of charge and delivering power to four devices simultaneously at a total rate of up to 150 W.

The Australian team behind Flash are using advanced batteries developed by Tesla, which provide 20% higher energy densities, lower temperatures (50°C max) and four times the product life. For the battery geeks, Flash’s power bank is made of four 21700 Tesla Lithium Polymer Graphene Composite Battery Cells manufactured by Panasonic. The other advantage of these batteries is that Flash can be recharged from empty to full in an hour. At 20 000 mAh it’s not the largest pack on the market but it’s going to be plenty for most people.

Feature-wise, the Chargeasap Flash has a single USB C port which will deliver 100 W, two USB A ports and a wireless charging pad on the top. It’s not the first time there’s been a battery pack with wireless charging – I reviewed the Mugenizer N11 way back in 2013 – but it’s a great add-on and really expands the usefulness of Flash. And unlike most other chargers, Flash is going to support a wide range of charging protocols including Apple Fast Charge, Huawei Supercharge, Oppo Flash Charge, Vivo Flash Charge, 10W Wireless Fast Charge and Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. Phew!

Manufactured with aircraft grade aluminium with anodised finish in black or space grey, Flash is available on Indiegogo now. Prices are beginning at US$139/GB£107 with a 2 year warranty, and it’s selling like hot cakes. As of writing, it’s already achieved over 3000% of its goal in about 2 days, so there are only a few of the early bird prices left.

Deliveries are expected in from April onwards and Chargeasap has a track record of delivering with six previous campaigns.

(It’s hard not to write The Flash as the product name…)


Wireless Charging



I‘ve always been a bit on the fence when it comes to wireless charging. The wireless charger itself still needs to be plugged in with a wire.

Back in October I ended up buying a Samsung wireless charger when I upgraded phones. I ended up using it a bit, but generally found that it was more desirable to physically plug my phone in at home in order to take advantage of the super fast wired Samsung charging. The wireless charging process was not as fast and therefore not as convenient when needing to give the phone a quick 10 or 15 minute juice-up.

So, the wireless charger mostly sat unused.

Recently I bought a new car, a 2017 Toyota Yaris iA. The new car has a space in front of the gear shift in the mid center stack perfect for a large phone that includes USB and a 12-volt power socket. I found myself wondering if I plugged the Samsung wireless charger into a 2.1 amp-12 volt power source, would the wireless charger work properly or not.

I experimented and found that the wireless charger works perfectly well with a 2.1 amp 12-volt power source. The next steps were easy. I used a quantity of the rubber grip mat stuff to make the forward slanted phone area flat, and plugged in the Samsung wireless charger. Since the 12-volt socket only has power when the car’s ignition is turned on, I can simply leave the 12-volt charger plugged in all the time just as if it were in my house connected to an AC power source without fear of it running down the car’s battery.

When I get in the car, I simply lay the phone on the Samsung wireless charger and as soon as the ignition comes on while I’m driving the phone is charging without me having to futz around with plugging wires in. Also, the phone connects to the car’s audio system via stereo Bluetooth, making for a 100% seamless experience.

My conclusion is that wireless charging is most useful in an automotive environment, provided that there’s a flat, convenient area for the wireless charger to rest and the power socket is tied to the car’s ignition.


Link Mini NAS and Wireless Hotspot from Fasetto at CES



Fasetto are making good on their promises from last year’s CES with the announcement of the Fasetto Link, a palm-sized pocket NAS and communications hotspot. Building on the Fasetto’s cross-platform cloud storage, the Link is a 2″ by 1″ cuboid, packing in a maximum of 2 TB of storage and a range of communication technologies, including WiFi, Bluetooth and LTE. The modular design is powered by a Linux-driven Samsung Exynos 7 Octa 7420 2.1 GHz processor.

The Link is designed for an adventurous life from the start with a water and temperature-resistant shell that should protect the owner’s data from the frozen tundra to the odd cycle in a washing machine. It’s water resistant to 45 ft (IP68) with an expected battery life of 5 hours going full pelt but there’s no detail on operating temperature. There’s an optional battery pack that clips onto the Link for additional time. The Link can be discreetly attached to D-rings and or kept out of sight inside a bag.

Link combines the most powerful commercially-available hardware with an incredibly sleek, but tough, design,” said Coy Christmas, co-founder and CEO, Fasetto. “In Link, we now have a living storage and communications device and platform that lets you stream, store and share all of your digital files through one secure location that can survive almost anything.

In addition to the physical protection, Link has “custom-developed reform security software, user permissions and multiple layers of hardware and software encryption giving users a high degree of security and control over their data.” That’s reassuring given how much data could potentially be stored in in 2 TB.

If you are wondering what you might do with this, imagine that you’ve taken loads of digital photographs but you are in the back end of nowhere. Rather than try to transfer or backup all the high quality digital photos across non-existent LTE, the photos can be stored more quickly on the Link’s storage via wifi, and then made available to other devices in the local area. That’s a fairly tame example as the octacore processor has plenty of power to record extreme sports or stream multiple HD video feeds.

Fasetto Link was named a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree in four categories, including Wireless Handset Accessories, Computer Hardware and Components, Software and Mobile Apps and Computer Accessories.

GNC and CES followers will recall that Luke Malpass from Fasetto was interviewed as part of the coverage last year and Link availability was expected for Q4 2014. This is has been revised to Spring 2017. Prices start at US$349 for a 256 GB version up to US$1,149 for the 2 TB version. More details at Link’s shop where pre-orders can be placed.

If you are attending CES, pop in to see Link in action at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Central Hall, stand 16734 from 5-7 January 2017.


Wireless Power Consortium at 2016 CES



Qi EverywhereScott Ertz interviews Arun Kumar, partner presenter at the Wireless Power Consortium booth.

They discuss the current state of wireless charging technology. They demonstrate a 15 watt wireless charger hooked to a laptop. It will soon be possible to integrate wireless charging circuitry directly into laptop computers for the first time, perhaps within a year.

Scott also interviews John Perzow, vice president of market development, about longer-distance charging. John demonstrates that it is now possible to charge a Qi device up to an inch away through an inch thick block of wood. Distance charging is problematic since electrical charging efficiency drops off very quickly with distance.

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Altec Lansing BoomJacket Bluetooth Speakers at 2016 CES



boomjacket-blue-front-1024x512Scott Ertz interviews Jill Byeff, marketing for Altec Lansing Speakers. They discuss Altec Lansing’s BoomJacket line of waterproof, shockproof Bluetooth speakers for active outdoor lifestyles.

The BoomJacket speaker is priced at $199.00 and is IP67-rated waterproof, sandproof, shockproof and snowproof construction. It is also floatable and submersible and has a 50 foot Bluetooth range. It has a 40 hour battery life at spoken word volume level. The BoomJacket also features a built-in universal mounting mechanism for easy attachment to equipment and structures like bikes, kayaks, jet skis, and motorcycles.

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iOttie Qi Smartphone Wireless Charging Solutions at 2016 CES



iOttie Daniele Mendez interviews Andrew Moughalian about iOttie wireless charging and automotive mounting solutions. The iOttie iON Wireless Qi Charging Receiver Case Charger Cover is a sleek case for the iPhone 6s/6 that adds Qi wireless charging. It is available now and sells for $49.

iOttie also sells the iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless Qi Standard Car Mount Charger that will work with a variety of Qi wireless charging-enabled smartphones. It offers an Easy One Touch lock and release mounting system that locks the device into the holder with just the push of a finger. It sells for $69.95 and is also available now.

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