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DuPont Corian Charging Surface review: DuPont Corian Charging countertops are terrible

DuPont Corian's overpriced Charging Surface barely works.

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David Priest
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David Priest

Editor

David Priest is an award-winning writer and editor who covers home security for CNET. When he isn't waving his hands wildly in front of motion sensors or making faces at video doorbells, he spends his time playing board games and video games with his wife and family.

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4 min read

DuPont's Corian Charging Surface countertops sound like the perfect marriage of kitchen design and contemporary technology. The concept conjures the idea of a whole countertop that acts like a wireless device charger. Sounds great.

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3.5

DuPont Corian Charging Surface

The Good

The DuPont Corian Charging Surface looks great, and as a countertop alone, it performs as expected. The countertop also supports both Powermat- and Qi-enabled devices.

The Bad

The chargers are overpriced, and the wireless connection often doesn't work well at all.

The Bottom Line

I can't recommend DuPont Corian Charging Surface countertops to anyone.

You'll need to replace your counter wholesale to add the wireless chargers, so it's no small upgrade. Once you find a local fabricator that offers the charging tech, you can expect to pay between $150 to $200 per charger, plus $60 or more per square foot of DuPont's Corian or Zodiaq countertop material. Between the costs and the commitment for prospective buyers, DuPont's charging tech has to be perfect. Our experience with a charging Zodiaq Quartz counter in the CNET Smart Home was anything but.

The charging technology isn't responsive enough even with phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 that support wireless charging natively (both the Qi and PMA standard that the DuPont chargers support). With the plug-in rings that grant wireless charging to iPhones and other devices without native support, you'll spend so much time searching for the exact, pin-point spot that makes the charging connection, you're better off just tracking down a cable.

As much as I like the idea of a carefree, countertop-charging existence, DuPont's Corian Charging Counter Surface will only bring frustration and regret. Stick with standalone charging mats.

This countertop is hiding a secret (pictures)

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What's with the price?

This was my first question when I heard how much it cost to install a DuPont Corian Charging Surface. The Corian countertops themselves aren't too expensive, comparatively. Sixty bucks per square foot is about midrange, and like any surface, it comes with pros and cons. From a design standpoint, the countertops look fine. It's an acrylic material, and surface-level scratches can be buffed out easily. But it's susceptible to heat damage, unlike higher-end stone counters.

We installed Zodiaq Quartz countertops at the Smart Home, which will set you back $75-$90 per square foot, but it looks sharper and boasts better durability. Deciding whether to purchase DuPont Corian or Zodiaq surfaces will just depend on your budget and particular kitchen needs.

The price that really stands out to me, though, is that of the chargers. Ostensibly, the high price of up to $200 per charger is earned by the convenience of wireless charging in a countertop. But that doesn't explain why the chargers cost so much more than the quality, standalone wireless chargers you can find online for $30-$60. Even chargers embedded in furniture from online stores like IKEA cost significantly less than DuPont's.

The DuPont chargers also offer almost nothing special, besides their incidental attachment to the countertop. Although DuPont says the charger is made to have greater range than most others (since it has to connect through a countertop), they end up taking more of your time than usual trying to find a charging connection. And it's not just finding the sweet spot above the charger; it's also finding the exact orientation necessary to maintain that connection.

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Rather than the whole countertop surface acting as a charger, the wireless charging device will only charge mobile devices placed directly above them.


While finding the perfect spot is usually quicker for phones with either Qi or PowerMat charging receivers built-in, (think 5 to 10 seconds), one of the two chargers in our counter took consistently longer to connect to our Qi-based Samsung phone. At times it seemed like both charging spots in our Charging Surface disappeared altogether. As you quickly realize using any wireless charger, it takes awhile using it to find the exact spot to get a good connection. The DuPont chargers were far worse than usual.

iPhones need not apply

To use the Charging Surface without additional accessories, your phone must have wireless charging built in. Corian works with more devices than many other wireless chargers, since it's compatible with both Qi- and Powermat-enabled devices, the two big wireless charging standards. Newer Android phones don't have any issues here, but older models and all current iPhones require a Qi or PMA adapter to make the connection.

Corian offers a pack of three adapter dongles (Apple 30-pin, Mini-USB, and Apple Lightning) along with the chargers, and additional packs for $40 each. The need for adapters isn't Corian's fault, but it's an issue that will need to be solved before wireless charging becomes mainstream.

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For phones that don't support wireless charging (including all iPhones), you'll have to use plug-ins like this Corian PMA ring.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

While DuPont Corian's Charging Surface does connect directly to new Android phones, it doesn't offer a Quick Charge function, a feature with which new charging cords have significantly reduced charging times. That means until such a feature is added, users making a brief stop home between errands will find more use in a Quick Charge cord than a standard-speed wireless charger like DuPont's.

Who should buy this?

Even if you're already interested in Corian countertops and see the chargers as a small added perk, reconsider. To keep track of the tiny spot where the charger makes a reliable connection, you may have to mark the countertop like we did, which will likely look tacky. For those who want wireless charging, you can get it elsewhere for much less money and commitment. For those who want convenience of furniture-embedded charging, you can find it for considerably lower prices -- just look at this $60 wireless charging nightstand.

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The wireless charging connection is somewhat more reliable with Android devices such as this Samsung phone, but even with the Samsung, it never felt convenient to use.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

You might be asking, "Is it really that bad? I mean, it at least works, right?" And that's the problem. Even against the lowest standard of performance -- whether it charges a phone -- the DuPont Corian Charging Surface is unreliable. Yes, if I stand above the counter, find the spot and place the phone carefully, I can get it to connect somewhat consistently (though less so when I'm using a Qi or PMA ring). But if I place the phone on the counter naturally, say, while walking by, I am rarely successful at achieving a connection.

None of this is to say charging countertops are a bad idea. In fact, done right, they'd be one of my favorite parts of the CNET Smart Home. DuPont Corian Charging Surfaces just don't do it right. Don't splurge on this until either the tech or DuPont's design improves.

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3.5

DuPont Corian Charging Surface

Score Breakdown

Features 3Usability 4Design 3Performance 4
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