Works With: iPhone 5 and up, 5th generation iPod Touch
Price: £26.99 ($45.05)
Steve Jobs famously argued that if five million people used the Mac, cutting its boot time down by 10 seconds would save the equivalent of at least 100 lifetimes per year.
Taken on an individual basis, it’s difficult to know how many minutes of your life will be saved by using the KoolPuck Wireless Charger — but it’s almost certainly less than an hour over the lifespan of your typical iPhone.
That doesn’t really matter, though. In an age of convenience, the idea that you can charge your iPhone by simply placing it down on a massively wireless charger is a tempting one. Straightforward, attractive, and tiny, FoneSalesman’s iQi solution seems to tick all the boxes.
So how does it measure up?
What It Is
A wireless charging puck, used in conjunction with the iQi (pronounced i-Chi) ultra-thin ribbon charger, which connects to your iPhone 5 and above (or fifth generation iPod Touch). The KoolPuck wireless charger comes with the charging plate, micro USB cable, and user’s manual. iQi is supplied separately.
In one sense, the KoolPuck works very well (more on this later). Those who haven’t used a wireless charging solution before will most likely be impressed by how intuitive a solution it is. Sitting down at a desk, taking your iPhone out of your pocket, and placing it on the pad next to you feels every bit as natural as putting a hot cup of coffee down on a drink coaster.
The design of the KoolPuck is suitably minimalistic, and it won’t look out of place with your MacBook, iPhone, or other Apple products. There’s a good range of available colors and it’s small — measuring just 69mm across and with a thickness of 9mm — making it easily transportable.
There are two design flourishes which stand out. The first is an LED light which changes from blue to green to indicate that your phone is charging. This adds to the overall ease of use, since it’s straightforward to glance at the KoolPuck to see whether your phone is correctly syncing with it.
There’s also a silicon ring on both the top and bottom, which do a good job of holding the puck in place on a variety of surfaces. This works well on your desk, but it really comes into its own if you’re the kind of person that regularly charges their phone in the car. The puck can be attached to your dashboard, and the silicon ring will keep your phone secured even while you’re on the move.
The number one rule of any charger is that it charges. Here’s where the KoolPuck falls down: it doesn’t always. While this wasn’t an absolute rule by any means, there were times during my testing period when charging would begin normally, reach around 75%, then begin beeping (the automatic sound made whenever charging isn’t taking place) for seemingly no reason whatsoever.
On the beeping front, there’s also the problem that the device beeps when it reaches a full 100% charge. According to the developers, beeping when the phone is fully charged is the result of a function Apple implemented in iOS 7, which the KoolPuck makers have no control over, but it can make overnight charging an issue.
Finally there’s the issue that you have to use an iQi ribbon charger in order to use the KoolPuck. For most people this isn’t going to be a problem, since it can be concealed inside any iPhone soft case (which is a positive in itself), but it does mean that you need a soft case — which might upset a certain percentage of iPhone users.
There’s a lot to like about the KoolPuck and the concept of wireless charging in general. Until the technology is fully worked out, however, it’s difficult to upgrade this from “neat in theory” to “neat in practice.” Hopefully these changes can be made with relative ease, and some techies will be perfectly happy to offset the occasional fault with the benefits that come from not having to plug in your iPhone whenever you want it charged.
For now, though, it’s not the surefire recommend we hope it one day will be. Although that’s not to say you won’t find any value in it. Since when didn’t new technologies come with a few teething problems?
|Product Name: FoneSalesman KoolPuck Wireless Charger
The Good: Intuitive to use and attractively designed.
The Bad: That there are times when it doesn’t charge is inexcusable in a charger. Also means that you need to use a soft case for your iPhone.
The Verdict: One day all chargers will work like this. But that day may not be just yet.
Buy from: FoneSalesman