CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Uniden Wireless Power Starter Kit review: Uniden Wireless Power Starter Kit

Uniden's charging solution couldn't be easier to use, but a full kit is rather costly.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
4 min read

Update: Since the release of the Uniden Wireless Power Starter Kit, the price of the kit has dropped. Throughout our review we referred to an RRP of AU$149.95 for the Starter Kit including one multi-connector adaptor. The new price is AU$129.95 and the Starter Kit is now available with an iPhone sleeve option which replaces the multi-purpose adaptor. The Deluxe Kit is also cheaper at AU$179.95 RRP and comes with one adapter and one iPhone sleeve.


Uniden Wireless Power Starter Kit

The Good

Stupidly simple to charge. . Power sleeves available for iPhone and Blackberry. . Charges quickly.

The Bad

Small mobile-phone centric range of tips. . iPhone case is very snug. . No iPod/iPhone plug available. . Expensive for a full five disc fitout.

The Bottom Line

Uniden's charging solution couldn't be easier to use, but a full kit is rather costly.

Read any smartphone review here at CNET AU, and you'll eventually hit the paragraph where we bemoan the state of power consumption across most of them. Heck, even some feature and standard phones struggle with power consumption issues. King of them all is undoubtedly the iPhone, a device known to chew up power simply because you looked at it funny.

You can carry around a power plug with you wherever you go, or any of a number of batteries or battery cases, but the promise of Uniden's latest charging solution is a little different. It's wireless, or at least it claims to be.

The core item in the Wireless Power Starter kit is the WPP15W wireless power pad. It looks rather like an oversized USB coffee cup warmer, with bright silver stripes running down its body. As if to prove that you can't get something for nothing, it connects to the main via... a wire. That's one wire already in a supposedly wireless power pad, but to be fair, unless you were going to incredibly slowly charge it via solar, in the manner of the SolarGorilla, it was always going to have to draw mains charge somehow.

The pad can support up to five devices, but you'll need five adaptors or cases to make that a reality. The standard $149.95 starter pack comes with a single "disc" adaptor that takes one of eight tips for charging most (but not all) common phone types. Tips is a bit of a misnomer, however. These are tips that connect up to what are undoubtedly wires. Again with the wires on a wireless product, Uniden? At least they're not long enough to get tangled with each other, but at the same time, that makes them rather easy to lose.

The tips cover phones from Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia and LG, as well as a single mini USB and two Micro USB cables. One is designated for Motorola phones, while the other is simply labelled as a Micro USB cable. The labelling is a neat idea; we've seen plenty of chargers that just assume you'll know what a given plug is for by sight, and this eliminates that problem.

Remember how we mentioned the iPhone being the hungriest of power-chewing beasts earlier? Well, guess what you don't get in the standard kit?

An iPhone/iPod dock connector tip.

Uniden do have a solution for iPhones and wireless charging, which revolves around a full protective "Power Sleeve". This can be purchased outright for AU$59.95, or as a larger starter kit for AU$199.95, or as a kit with the pad but none of the tips for AU$149.95. It's also possible to buy other power sleeves for iPod Touch (although which generation Touch isn't clear), and Blackberry Bold 9000, Pearl 8100, Curve 8300 and Curve 8900 models for $59.95 each. It's also possible to just buy the charging pad for AU$99.95 outright, although quite what you'd do with just the pad and no charging connectors eludes us. Annoyingly, you can't buy extra discs to make use of the extra tips separately. Each disc comes with eight tips and will cost you AU$49.95 a time. There's also no additional tip ranges available for charging other portable gadgets, so unless your gadget takes micro or mini USB, this isn't the charging solution for you.

Uniden supplied us with the starter kit with the iPhone power sleeve, so we tested that, as well as the disc connector with a variety of phones. The disc works very simply indeed, attaching magnetically and lighting up when it's getting charge from the pad, which lights up simultaneously to show that it's charging something. Charge speeds are good, with most phones charging in similar time frames that you'd see from regular wall chargers.

The iPhone power sleeve also works nicely, and there's a definite charm in dropping the case with phone inside onto the pad and almost simultaneously hearing it chirp to indicate charging has commenced. The case itself wraps entirely around the dock connector on the base, and is a very snug fit. This introduces two small problems. Firstly, you can't dock the iPhone with anything when it's in the case. Secondly, removing the case or putting it back on is tougher than most iPhone cases. It certainly won't fall off, that's for sure.

Uniden's Wireless Power Starter Kit isn't entirely wireless, but it's close enough. It's quite foolproof to use, but fully equipping a pad to charge the up to five devices that it'll support from a relatively small pool of devices isn't going to be cheap. You'd be up for a minimum of AU$349.75 for a full five disc solution, leaving out iPhone charging altogether.