Nexus 4 Wireless Charger review: Big on charging, low on features

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MSRP: $59.99

The Good The Nexus 4 Wireless Charger powers phones without cords, is compact, and doubles as a convenient stand.

The Bad The Nexus 4 Wireless Charger powers just one device at a time and attracts dirt easily. It also lacks a way to alert you when its charging.

The Bottom Line The Nexus 4 Wireless Charger is convenient for Nexus 4 owners, but other solutions from Powermat and Energizer offer more extra features.

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7.0 Overall

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Inductive, aka wireless charging technology, is gradually working its way into today’s smartphones, and the LG Nexus 4 is one of these lucky handsets. As a result, LG has created a tailor-made inductive power solution for its popular Android device. Called the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger, and sold by Google for $59.99, this useful gadget powers the Nexus 4's battery without unsightly cords. It performs as advertised too and also doubles as a handy phone stand. It’s not as capable as competing wireless charging solutions, however, such as the Energizer Dual Inductive Chargeror the Powermat 24 Hour Power system, which can power multiple gadgets at once or charge portable battery packs for the road.

Design The Nexus 4 Wireless Charger looks unlike any phone charger I’ve seen, and that goes for wireless chargers, too. The most similar gadget I reviewed, the Energizer Dual Inductive Charger, sports a large rectangular charging pad that’s inclined at a slight angle.

Powering up is just a matter of dropping phones on the charging pad. Sarah Tew/CNET

In contrast the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger is compact and orb-shaped. About the size of your average tangerine, the device is much more portable than Energizer’s unit. That said, the Dual Inductive Charger features twin charging zones to power up two smartphones at once, plus it has a USB port to offer juice via wired connection.

Of course for all the Energizer’s capabilities, the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger is crafted with a greater attention to detail and usability. It’s also clear that LG, the manufacturer of the product, built it exclusively for its Nexus handset. For instance the device’s flat, circular charging area is coated with a rubbery surface, the better to grip the slippery glass back of the Nexus 4.

One drawback to this gummy texture is that it attracts lint and dirt easily. You might want to think twice about toting the Wireless Charger in your bag unless its innards are in pristine condition or the charger is properly covered.

The charger is compact and grips phones tightly but attracts lint and dust. Sarah Tew/CNET

At a steep, almost 45-degree incline, the Wireless Charger’s platform places the Nexus 4 at a comfortable viewing angle. This coupled with the gadget’s small size make it a cinch to drop onto nightstands or cluttered desktops. A rubber ring on the bottom of the charger helps it to stay firmly put.

The charging pad creates an excellent phone stand for the Nexus 4. Sarah Tew/CNET

With a bare minimum of connections possible, the device has just one lone Micro-USB port at its rear that links to a bundled AC adapter and cable. Be advised, however, that while you may be tempted to connect the device to alien AC adapters (i.e. other than the one that came with the device), LG strongly discourages users to do so or risk phone damage.

The Wireless Charger does support the Qi wireless power standard that's available on multiple phones including the HTC Droid Incredible and Nokia Lumia 920. Google told me that you can use it to power up similarly equipped handsets, but I didn't have any other Qi-compatible phones handy to confirm this. Additionally, it will charge phones when connected to laptop or desktop computers, given power is flowing through their USB ports.