Years ago, when I first imagined wireless charging, my imagination pictured something a lot more like the Kew Labs UTS-1 than the ugly charging pucks and pads we routinely use these days. Instead of placing your phone on the equivalent of an electronic coaster, the UTS-1 attaches to the underside of your desk, so there's nothing visible on top. Just put your phone on the tabletop and it starts charging. As Arthur C. Clarke famously said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." The UTS-1 must be sufficiently advanced, because it looks like magic. And right now, Kew Labs is offering an exclusive deal for CNET readers. Buy the $105 UTS-1 and get the company's snazzy 10,000-mAh power bank for free, which is a $35 value. That's the equivalent of getting 25% off.
Here's how to get the deal: Add the UTS-1 to your cart and then add the KPD10 power bank as well. Once both items are in your cart, apply promo code CNET and you should see the price drop from $140 to $105.
Settings up the UTS-1 is a little more involved than simply plugging it in. For starters, it only works if your desk or table is between about 0.7 and 1.0 inch thick, so it behooves you to measure your furniture before ordering. The reason? The 30-watt charging coils need to reach your phone through the desk and the gadget is tuned to go through the desk to reach your phone.
Setting it up is a snap, though; just peel some tape off the UTS-1 and affix it to the bottom of your desk -- it's incredibly lightweight, so there's no need to screw it into the bottom of the desk (though you can if you prefer). Then use the included template to locate the optimum charging location on top of the desk and apply a discrete sticker to mark ground zero for your phone.
I set up the UTS-1 and found it could charge my iPhone 11 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and Apple AirPods with the wireless charging case. For the most part, it works like a charm, though occasionally, the UTS-1 becomes finicky with my iPhone and weirdly refuses to charge it. At other times, I'll set the phone down and it works fine. I haven't experienced that problem with the Galaxy S10, though, and am not sure what the issue is.
If you are fanatical about having a clean, neat desk -- and your desk is right thickness to handle the UTS-1 -- it's hard to beat this gadget for helping you eliminate charging pads. And though I think $100 isn't egregiously expensive for such a novel product, getting the power bank thrown in right now really sweetens the deal. It's a USB-C battery that supports 18-watt Power Delivery fast charging and has an easy-to-read LED display that shows the remaining charge.
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