Wireless charging is a thing that many people can’t live without and those who think it’s a waste of time have probably never used it.
Even though it was late to the party, Apple itself embraced wireless charging many years after Android devices, and its latest-generation iPhones (iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X) all come with a glass body to power this feature. Surprisingly and contrary to Apple’s legacy, new iPhones support the universal Qi wireless charging and not a proprietary system as many have expected.
Qi wireless chargers are all over you look these days, but their build quality, output, and support depend on a series of factors. And in many cases, the price you’re ready to pay is what makes the difference.
Chinese company Doca has built its very own wireless charger for cars that integrates a Qi module and which supports the majority of phones out there, simply because it comes with an adjustable mount that can fit most sizes, including the smaller Samsung Galaxy S7 and the bigger iPhone 8 Plus. It can be purchased from Amazon for just $28.99.
Since it supports Qi, this small gadget works with all phones that support wireless charging, though the manufacturer mentions the Samsung Galaxy S8, iPhone 8, iPhone X, and a bunch of other HTC models as compatible devices. The car charger/cellphone dashboard holder comes in a small box that includes the wireless car charger itself, a micro USB cable, an air vent clip, and a user manual.
There are two ways to use this charger in your car, and each comes with its own advantages. First, it’s the sticky suction cup that uses adhesive to mount to any flat surface, but this takes a little bit more space on your dashboard and I found it pretty annoying at certain times. Second, there’s the air vent which makes the charger a little bit less intrusive, though this means that your car’s air vent design allows to use such a dock. Also, keep in mind that heat could affect the performance of the charger and the phone itself.
“It works with nearly every phone.”
Setting up either of them doesn’t take more than just a couple of minutes, and I’ve found that the mount is generally very sturdy and never falls off. This is mostly thanks to the adhesive on the suction cup, but the air vent holder stays in place at least as good.
No matter which version you choose, you need to plug in the provided micro USB cable to the car charger. With the right charger, Doca’s product can offer 7.5 watt charging, which for some phones is enough to enable fast charging – it’s important to know, however, that a wireless charger won’t match the output of a typical socket charger that on some models, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, can generate 15W charging.
The charger itself is pretty nice quality and depending on your phone, it provides nearly the same performance as the original charger. For example, on the Samsung Galaxy S8 it takes approximately two hours to recharge the phone from 5% to 100% when keeping the screen on for navigation. Of course, numbers can vary, but given its specs, expect the charging to be close to what a genuine charger can provide.
One of the things I liked about both modes is the attention that the manufacturer paid to details. While Chinese companies aren’t exactly known for the build quality of their products, this wireless charger comes with some nice touches that make it more than it’s supposed to be.
“You can also use it at the office.”
For example, even if your phone does not feature wireless charger, you can still use it as a phone holder because it has a small cutout at the bottom of the mount to plug in a cable. And also, while it’s primarily built for cars, you can also use it at the office thanks to the standing dock and the USB cable. The 360-degree rotating cradle holder allows a large array of adjustments, just to make sure it fits any angle.
As for the drawbacks, I discovered several of them, though for the price you pay, you really can’t ask for more. For instance, there are occasional rattles especially on a bumpy road, and this is rather annoying especially if you have a silent engine. Also, the dashboard holder can’t be used in all cars, and this also depends on the interior design of each vehicle. In a Mercedes G-Klasse, for instance, there’s no room on the dashboard to use the suction cup with an iPhone 8 Plus due to the design of the windshield.
The plastic build of the cradle makes it feel cheap, more than it actually is, and the release button for the arms produces a noise that you more often find on those cellphone holders that cost $1 on eBay.
There are inconveniences, that’s true, but there’s no doubt this little charger can come in very handy to those who want to use their phones for GPS navigation and also charge them at the same time. It has excellent grip, it’s super-versatile, and offers fast charging with two different modes to adapt to each interior car design, so for $29, it’s clearly a choice that deserves a chance.