I love the convenience of Qi ("chee") charging, which is now an option in most midrange and premium phones. Just lay one on a Qi pad or stand and presto: magic electricity transfer.
Of course, that's one more thing cluttering up your desk, nightstand or whatever. And they're not the most attractive-looking things, either. Thankfully, wireless charging pads are starting to work their way into other products: desk lamps, end tables, Bluetooth speakers and so on. Here's a look at some of the more in-Qi-nious places you'll find them. (Note that all prices listed here were accurate at the time of writing, but are subject to change.)
Let's not question the logic of laying your phone right next to a steaming hot beverage, shall we? Instead, let's celebrate the weird mish-mash that is this little block of heat and power. One half: Qi charging pad. The other: coffee warmer. The only real problem I can see, apart from worrying about accidentally sloshing coffee onto your phone, is that the warmer is designed to work only with flat-bottomed mugs.
If you work at a desk, chances are you use a desk lamp -- or could use one. This LED model features touch controls, five lighting modes, a USB port for charging other devices and, in its base, a 7.5-watt Qi charging pad. There continues to be a $3-off coupon you can clip on the product page, which would bring the white model (currently $37) down to $34.
Mouse pads are still a thing? They are when they double as Qi charging pads. If you're going to keep your phone at arm's length anyway, why not get a two-fer? This particular pad can deliver 10-watt charging to phones that support it, but you'll have to BYO USB port. If your laptop has one, great, otherwise you'll need an AC adapter. Be sure to apply the 5% coupon on the product page to bring the price down to $16.24.
So it's an end-table/nightstand with a Qi charger flush-mounted into the top and a Bluetooth speaker built into the table? And it's portable for some reason?! I am so in.
This table, or one like it, was the impetus behind this whole roundup. Other, slightly taller, models I've seen were priced in the $180-$200 range, so finding one for under $100 is pretty exciting. I actually like the design here a little better, too.
In addition to the charging surface, you get physical play/volume controls and a USB port for charging wired devices. I can't fathom why you'd want a portable table -- it has a 4,400-mAh rechargeable battery (good for up to four hours of music, according to the vendor, not including any phone charging you do) -- but I honestly don't care. Speaker-charger-table!
Remember speaker docks? Back in the early smartphone days, you'd plop your phone onto a charging cradle that was integrated into a speaker. Today, you can do the same thing, but without the physical connection: The speaker is Bluetooth, the charger Qi-powered. This particular speaker has an admirably sporty look, and it supports quick NFC pairing (if your phone does as well). It's not portable, though, just in case you were hoping to take it outside.
This was previously selling for $59, but it's currently listed at $50. As with so many of these products, prices are subject to change.
A growing number of portable power banks have integrated Qi charging pads, meaning you can finally leave the cord at home when you travel. But this one ingeniously doubles as a desktop stand, meaning it keeps your phone charged while you work, then comes with you for mobile-charging duty.
At first blush, the PowerPic resembles an ordinary 5x7-inch white picture frame. But of course it's also a Qi charger, one that delivers up to 10 watts when you place your phone inside the frame. That's pretty clever, even if it does block your photo while charging.
The PowerPic lists for $90, but it's currently on sale for around $62. (FYI, I've seen it as low as $50.) Still a little pricey, but that doesn't change the fact that I totally want one.
A growing number of alarm clocks offer built-in Qi charging pads, but I like this one for a couple reasons. First, it looks cool. Second, because the base of the clock is also the charger, it's easier to fumble for in the dark. With brick-like clocks that integrate the pad into the top, you're less likely to hit the sweet spot -- and more likely to accidentally graze a control button.
Have you found any other cool Qi-equipped products? A toaster oven, maybe, or a vacuum cleaner? Tell us about them in the comments!
Originally published previously. Updated to reflect new products, prices and availability.
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