TYLT Vu Wireless Charger review

8

Daniel Bader

April 27, 2014 2:34pm

Wireless charging is a first world problem. It’s a scratch to an itch you didn’t even know existed, but once it’s there you can’t stop scratching.

The idea behind the practice is so sound as to be obvious: remove the need to insert a charging cable, or obviate a docking station, by placing the device on top of a charger. Wireless charging uses induction to transfer an electric charge between two objects which, in the case of a phone and its dock, are metal coils usually placed near the bottom and top respectively. The ability to place one’s phone down to begin charging and quickly remove or replace it has been the reason for its wide adoption.

To date, wireless chargers have generally been large, ungainly utilitarian disks, which are fine for the act of charging itself but reduce sight lights and take up space. Tylt, an accessory company with a focus on design, has differentiated itself by recreating popular products that are both attractive and tend to improve the functionality of their less attractive counterparts. Some companies, like Nokia, have attempted to pretty up the idea of wireless charging, but in my opinion, Tylt does it better.

tyltvu-1

Design & Construction

This is true of the Tylt Vu, the company’s first wireless charger, which is based on the Qi standard most popular in the industry to date. The Vu is not only compatible with a number of on-market devices (more on that below), but it keeps those devices functional while charging by propping them up in a horizontal or vertical position.

Take most phone docks today: it forces you to plug in your device in one direction, with a single orientation. For the most part, that’s easy: iOS-based devices all have their 30-pin or Lightning ports at the bottom, so it’s easy for manufacturers to develop products that suit most needs. But Android and Windows Phone devices, the only ones with built-in wireless charging, come in myriad stylings, sizes and charging port placements. To develop a single dock for all of them would be impossible.

Tylt’s Vu takes on that disparity by building wireless charging into its 45-degree base. Compatible devices, like the Nexus 5 above, are placed at an angle that makes articulating your finger easy, and it can be used as both a stand and charger. Cooks, for example, may prop the Nexus 7 on the Vu while looking over a recipe, comfortable that it is fulfilling two functions at once. The beauty of the Vu is that because it uses a tri-coil design, it is able to “connect” wirelessly with more devices in more positions.

The soft touch plastic is durable and light, and though the stand is fairly long, it takes up little real estate as the gap between the two feet allow for other items to be stored therein.

tyltvu-2

Performance & Conclusion

Like all wireless chargers, there are trade-offs between convenience and performance. The Vu, once plugged into a wall socket with a low-overhead adapter, only charges your Qi-compatible device with a maximum current of 750mAh, well below the standard 1A-1.2A output of the average AC adapter (and far below the 1.5A-3A of the latest chargers). For devices with large batteries, this will extend charging time well into the 3-4 hour range.

The number of compatible devices, at least without third-party assemblage, is low. The Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (both 2012 and 2013), and likely upcoming products from Google will continue to support wireless charging. The Nokia Lumia 920 and upcoming 930 support wireless charging, but the Lumia 1020 would have been too thick, so Nokia sells a bracket separately. The Galaxy S4, S5 and Note 3 support it, too, but the replacement backings are expensive and add thickness to the product.

Then there’s the issue of a competing standard. While Qi seems to be the winning horse at the moment, a number of big names have signed on to the Power Matter Alliance, or PMA, including AT&T, Starbucks and even Samsung. This isn’t to say that one will go the way of Betamax anytime soon, but it’s concerning when new standards obsolete existing hardware.

The Tylt Vu is available in four colours, including red, black, blue and yellow, and costs $69.99 USD. Shipping to Canada is a steep $30.

Recommended.

8

Final Score

  • Jules Landry-Simard

    Nexus 4 twice in the list, guess one is Nexus 5

  • Jordan

    $100 for me to get my hands on this? I think I’ll just keep plugging in my usb cable…

  • Darryl Friesen

    I wish the angle was adjustable; 45 degrees is too flat. I’ve been looking at getting the Nokia DT-910 which is also Qi, is reported to be compatible with the Nexus 5, but holds the phone more upright. Cost is about the same once you add that $30 shipping onto the Vu

  • Mello kc

    Bought mine on boxing day sale. 50‰off. But the shipping does kill. They had a glitch on their website during boxing day too where it was 50$ off.. The charger came up to $19.99 plus 30$ shipping but it didn’t let people/me check out XD.

  • Craig Cooper

    Bought one of these for 50% off for Black Friday and liked it so much I ended up buying 2 more for beside the bed and the office. I love that I can charge in both portrait or landscape (Nexus 5) and works even with a fairly thick case on the phone. Highly recommend if the price tag doesn’t scare you off.

  • Ry29

    A feature that should be stock in modern phones. Hard to believe the Palm Pre introduced this handy feature 5 years ago, and still only a handful have implemented to date

  • ShadowFist23

    I don’t get wireless chargers. Plugging a phone isn’t so difficult, and I can then still move my phone around and use it while it charges. A wireless charger sticks in one place and if you move your phone it stops charging. Seems like a weird thing to spend money on.

    • Darryl Friesen

      My Nexus 5 lasts all day, so I only need to charge it overnight. A wireless charging stand like this (or the Nokia DT-910) is a nice convenience. I don’t have to fumble for cables in the dark, and the phone will turn on Daydream mode when placed on the charger, becoming my digital alarm clock.

  • J. W.

    As nice as this charger looks, it’s hard to justify the cost.

    Time to think of some custom stand designs for my DT-900 charger…

  • Anthony Johnson

    It seems
    impressive wireless charging pad but the cost is expensive as compare to
    other chargers. Charging base is also small which I think do not able to charge
    my Nexus 7. Well I recently purchased one for my Nexus 7 (2013) from Amazon by
    CHOETECH with wide charging base and 7000mAh, with price range much less then
    it.