Although I was disappointed by the Nokia DT-900, I wasn’t ready to give up on wireless charging nirvana for my Nexus 4. With a bit of searching and review-reading, I plumped for a Zens Universal Qi Single Wireless Charging Plate which garners 4.5 stars on Amazon. Although unknown to me, Zens is a young Dutch company specialising in wireless charging products, and from first appearances, it looks like they’re doing a good job.
The Zens charging plate comes in a well-presented package but is surprisingly small. It’s bigger than the DT-900 but it’s still not large and I imagine that most large screen smartphones will overhang on one side or another. However, the extra size and the rubber covering mean that most smartphones will sit comfortably on the pad. As with the DT-900, it has a DC power supply – no USB charging here, either.
In use, the Zens charging plate is far better with the Nexus 4 than the DT-900. In most instances, simply placing the the Nexus onto the pad started charging and usually, I’d get a high rate of charge without any precise positioning. With a bit of practice, I was able to get a sweetspot that worked every time and an LED on the right side of the plate turns green when the pad starts charging.
The screenshot below shows the charging rate when everything is perfectly aligned and honestly, it’s not far off the rate when the Nexus is plugged in.
The plate also has a feature that when the phone is fully charged, the charging turns off until the the battery levels falls to about 93%. Here’s what it looks like in Battery+.
In my opinion, the Zens charging plate knocks the DT-900 into a cocked hat, especially if you have a Nexus 4. Both are priced a little under £45 here in the UK, though the Zens charger seems quite pricey in the US at $100 (Amazon). Update – have since discovered the Zens charger on other websites for a far more reasonable $50. Recommended for all UK Nexus 4 owners.
Being an ex-Palm afficionado, I’m a massive fan of wireless charging. The convenience of simply placing a Pre onto a Touchstone to charge is unparalleled and I still use wireless charging with my Cyanogen-modded Touchpad.
Today, the Pre series is history thanks to HP, but wireless charging is still around with Samsung, LG and Nokia all supporting the Qi standard. My current phone is a Nexus 4 but the official orb charger is a small fortune here in the UK, so it was with interest that I saw that the prices of the Nokia DT-900 charging pad were gradually falling. Last week, I finally succumbed and bought one.
First impressions are mixed. The DT-900 seems reasonably well-made with a single white LED at the front to indicate the status of the charging. Unfortunately, the DT-900 comes with a somewhat chunky power supply which connects via a cable with DC jacks at each end. It would be far more sensible and useful if it used micro-USB connectors. And who thought that a white PSU with a black pad was good idea?
But on to the wireless charging….
Reports from elsewhere on the web suggest that the Nexus 4 and the DT-900 should work together but my experience was somewhat mixed. The main issue is that positioning the Nexus on the plate is crucial for the charging to ‘lock on’. Incorrect alignment causes the plate’s LED to flash and the phone will continually stop and start charging.
I tried a wide variety of positions, but even when I managed to get everything lined up, charging was poor, as you can see from the attached screenshots from Battery+.
Best results were from putting the Nexus 4 on the pad such that about a quarter to a half inch of the pad is visible at the bottom, but even then the battery charge level seemed to hit a plateau at around 80%
Overall, it was disappointing and the DT-900 will going on ebay very shortly. One might have though that in the four years since the Palm Pre came out that wireless charging would have been perfected. Regrettably, if the DT-900 is anything to go by, it has a long way to go to even match what Palm offered. YMMV.
For Android fans there is perhaps no bigger news than the rolling out of a brand new version of the Google Play store. This weekend version 4.2.3 hit the web, with a few alterations to the software coming along for the ride. Sadly, this latest iteration is built for the Nexus 4 — the LG manufactured handset which became available in late 2012.
At this point it is unclear if this latest build is set to be part of Android 4.3, which we expect to be called Key Lime Pie, or if this will simply be a new version of the store that is available across all devices — or at least perhaps Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) and newer.
Google is holding an event this week, which is billed as breakfast with Android chief Sundar Pichai. Sadly, while GNC did receive an invitation, we will not have a writer in attendance. Hopefully, we will still learn all of the details of Android 4.3 at this event, which could be a very interesting occasion indeed, if rumors and reports of what is in store bear any fruit.
You can download the Google Play Store App version 4.2.3 APK from here. I have not tested it on either my phone or tablet, so I can not verify compatibility with anything more than the Nexus 4.
Just a quickie for UK readers. Email in from Google to say that the Nexus 4 is going back on sale at 5pm today.