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Spike Charger review: Spike Charger

Spike Charger

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
4 min read

Editor's note: This review concerns a prototype version of the Spike Charger. The eventual product available to consumers will see a different version that does not use the charging sticker described here.


Spike Charger

The Good

The Spike Charger successfully powers your cell phone without a wired connection.

The Bad

The Spike Charger has a cumbersome design and setup process.

The Bottom Line

The Spike Charger delivers wireless power to your cell phone but there are better competing products for the time being.

Even in an increasingly wireless world, you still need those pesky wires to charge your cell phone. But as charging technology gets more high tech, even that requirement is changing just a bit. Earlier this year we reviewed the WildCharger, which delivers power to handsets without a wired connection. Now we look at a different take on the concept with the Spike Charger from Wizdex. As with the WildCharger, the Spike Charger doesn't do away with wires completely; you still use an electrical outlet, but you don't connect anything to your phone. The Spike Charger works with almost any model of cell phone but it's neither as elegant as the WildCharger nor is it quite as effective. As such, we'll wait for the second-generation model. At $40, the Spike Charger isn't excessively cheap, but it costs half as much as the WildCharger.

The Spike Charger consists of three parts: an AC adaptor, the charging base, and a charging "sticker" that you attach to your phone. The final component is the most important as it delivers the juice to your handset. The sticker is a paper-thin plastic rectangle about the size of two quarters put together. Attaching it to your phone involves a few steps but it takes just about a minute if you follow the directions carefully. First, attach the sticker's positive and negative connectors to the corresponding conduction points on the battery. Reversing the polarity isn't a huge worry; the battery won't explode or anything, but the charger won't work if you get it wrong. The connectors use an adhesive material, but they're easily removable and they won't damage the battery.

After attaching the connectors, you'll need to replace your battery and cover while wrapping the sticker around to the outside of your phone and affixing it to the rear face. Finally, connect the charging base to an electrical outlet before placing the phone on the base with the sticker facing down. If you've done everything correctly, your phone should start charging immediately. A green LED on the charging base will flash to show that charging is underway.

We tested the Spike Charger with a Sony Ericsson S710a and a Nokia 6131. Both phones started charging immediately but we noticed that that S710a couldn't charge all the way. That may have something to do with the phone but the battery meter never went above about 80 percent. Also, even when we knew the phone was receiving power, the S710's battery indicator never registered that as such. Fortunately, we had better luck with the Nokia handset. We were able to charge it all the way, and it took about the same amount of time as a standard charger. We didn't run full battery tests on either phone but each handset's charge seemed to last for a respectable period. Likewise, we didn't try using the Spike Charger on a completely dead battery.

Those issues aside, our main complaints center on the Spike Charger's design and setup. While you could place a phone anywhere on the WildCharger's base, the Spike Charger's base has a very specific charging point in its center. Unless you put your phone on that exact spot, the charging won't commence. Even when you place it in the correct position, the slightest touch will suspend charging. Indeed, when we left the Spike Charger for a couple of hours we noticed it would turn off at unexplained moments. Moreover, we weren't crazy about affixing a sticker to our phone. Not only is a bit unsightly, but also we just don't like applying an adhesive to any of our gadgets. It didn't leave any marks, and we could remove it when not in use, but it's still a bit unsightly.

The setup process also is rather clumsy. Depending on the shape of your phone's battery and the fit of the battery cover, it can be difficult to place everything correctly. Particularly on the S710a, we had to play with the sticker for a few moments to attach it securely. And even once we got it right, the whole arrangement was still rather cumbersome. On the upside, the sticker will work with more than one model of cell phone. In comparison, the WildCharger is compatible only with the Motorola Razr V3.

Sure, we had a few complaints, but the Spike Charger does accomplish what it sets out to do. Eeven better, Wizdex says it is designing a new model that will ditch the sticker entirely. Instead it says it is working with a few manufacturers to embed the Spike Charger technology directly into phone batteries. We'll wait for that product to give the Spike Charger our most sincere endorsement.