Cables are rubbish. They get tangled, lost and broken as often as they perform the function for which they were designed in my house. But the alternatives are often expensive or just not as good. I still insist on an ethernet connection to my PC for gaming, Bluetooth music streaming is an insufferable chore.

And as for wireless charging, though. I’ve been writing about how wonderful it will be ever since I saw the first demo of Fulton Innovations’ eCoupled chargers eight years ago. Wireless charging is awesome – safe, convenient, efficient… but it’s also expensive and, unless you have a Nokia phone, usually requires some sort of attachment or dongle that is even more tiresome than plugging in a cable.

Not quite there yet, then.

Or is it?

The Qi compatible charger.
The Qi compatible charger.

Spotted on our reviews’ editor’s desk yesterday, exhibit A, a funky little hockey-puck wireless charger that plugs into any micro-USB port and brings Qi-standard charging to your desk for the reasonable price of R341. It’s made by a firm called Avantree – who hell they? – and has rubberised rings that stop it sliding around the desk and hold your phone in place.

Compare that to the R729 you’ll pay for the slightly less practicable Nokia charging plate, and already it seems like a winner.

The bit that’s really great, though, is that for another R162 you can buy a thin sticker that slips into the battery compartment of a Samsung Galaxy S4’s and – without adding bulk to the phone – imbues the current Korean flagship with the magical power of wireless electricity.

It’s simple, cheap and charges the phone just as quickly as plugging the USB cable directly into the bottom of the handset – which is surprising considering the wireless transfer isn’t quite as efficient. The charger itself would be as at home on a car dash or bedside table as it is on a desk, and there’s even a helpful beep to let you know when the charging circuits are aligned. The only downside for me is that there’s a blue LED on the side which lights up when power is flowing – which isn’t ideal for overnight charging next to your bed. Nothing a bit of tape can’t solve, though.

The sliver of plastic that fits inside your phone takes up no room at all.
The sliver of plastic that fits inside your phone takes up no room at all.

Frankly, the set-up is impossible not to love, especially if you’ve been waiting for exactly this for years. Also, it reminds me why I still want a phone that has an accessible battery compartment. You can’t do this kind of mod on an iPhone, can you?

Verdict

For the first time wireless charging is good for something other than your toothbrush. Full marks all round.

Avantree Qi Compatible Wireless Charging Receiver For Samsung Galaxy S4

5/5

Avantree Qi Compatible Mobile Wireless Charger

5/5

Lovely. Really. It is.
Lovely. Really. It is.
Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar, Wired.co.uk, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.