If you've been waiting as long as I have for the AirPower, you must have been really disappointed when Apple suddenly canceled all work on the AirPower, the so-called perfect, multi-device wireless charger that would clean up the mess of charging cables for your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods.
Fortunately though, regardless of the fact that no third-party charger does exactly what the AirPower had promised (because really, that is impossible), there are already quite a few similar charging docks on the market to satisfy those who are eager to have an all-in-one wireless charger.
The thing is, there are so many AirPower alternatives out there, how do you choose the best one?
1. What are the popular ‘AirPower’ alternatives?
Many wireless chargers claimed to match the AirPower's design and features or work in the same way, but only a few have been well-received by the public, let's take a look.
1) Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock
It should come as no surprise that Belkin has established a competitive position amongst the common third-party wireless chargers.
As one of the very few wireless chargers authorized by Apple, it's the typical wireless charger that can charge your phone and Apple Watch simultaneously. This is a good one to choose when you don't need to charge other devices such as your iPad or AirPods.
2) Samsung Wireless Charger Duo
Similar to the Belkin Boost Up wireless charger, the Duo is capable of charging two Qi-compatible phones simultaneously or one phone and the Galaxy Watch, both charging areas support fast wireless charging, and it can charge iPhones too. However, when you look a little closer, you can tell that it's a product made for Samsung users.
3) Nomad Base Station
Nomad has been in the wireless charging game since the start, their Nomad base station can wirelessly charge up to 2 phones simultaneously, and it looks pretty neat. For anyone who has more than one phone to charge, this could be the ideal choice.
4) IKEA Triple Pad Wireless Charger
With one up on the Nomad, the Ikea Triple Pad can charge up to 3 Qi-certified phones at the same time, although this is limited to standard and not "fast charging." It is also limited to charging phones and cannot charge an Apple Watch or AirPods. It's what you might call a 'basic' charger, similar in functionality to the Nomad Base Station, but lacking some of the more advanced functionality that you can get with others.
So, the real question is, how to choose from those wireless chargers?
2. How to Choose The Best Multi-device Wireless Charger?
Whilst the key factor in selecting a charger most of the time is the price when it comes to wireless multi-device chargers, there are a few additional points to consider. Some of these should be taken seriously; otherwise, you could end up with something very limited.
So, let's check the points one by one.
1) How many devices can it charge?
You have to admit it; most of us hate to see clutter, especially messy cables like this:
The fact that many of us now have multiple devices that need to charge every day, and each device needs its own cable and AC adapter (even when you have different wireless chargers for them) it makes the situation even worse.
The answer is to have a desk organizer that can charge all your devices at the same time and remove the clutter.
Hang on though, there is also the problem of the shape. Most of the chargers out there seem to have been inspired by the AirPower (even though it's dead now). Consequently, they all tend to look like this:
Think about it this way, let's assume that you have AirPods, an iPhone and an Apple Watch, then there's no doubt that a wireless charger similar to AirPower would fit the bill instead of this one that can only charge an Apple Watch and an iPhone.
So, you see, you need to choose one according to how many devices you have to make sure you get the right one.
2) How reliable is it?
When we choose an electronic product especially a wireless charger, it’s important to know if it’s reliable. Like many other certification processes, such as ISO 9001, the "MFi license" is Apple's intense and selective certification process to ensure the quality and reliability of each and every product. Besides which, all 3rd party manufacturers are required to obtain certification from Apple if they want their products to work correctly with the Apple iPhone/iPod or iPad.
Some of you might be thinking: how do you check if your wireless charger is MFi-Certified?
The answer is simple, check the packaging of the wireless charger or look up the info online. If the product's packaging has a "Made for iPhone" or "Made for iPad" badge, then you can usually trust that it's MFi certified.
3) Will your device charge anywhere on the product (position sensitive)?
Picture this; you wake up in the morning only to find that your phone is dead as it accidentally moved off of the charging point.
The answer is that you need a wireless charger like the AirPower that doesn't require the device to be meticulously placed on a specific spot on the charging mat. What this means is that the charger needs multiple charging coils embedded throughout so that your device charges where you place it, just like this:
It means that you will never need to hunt for the charger's 'sweet spot' again.
4) How fast is your charger?
Admit it; We live in a fast-paced society, we need devices to be at-the-ready whenever we are, we want our phones to be charged faster to fit the rush of our daily lives. Not to mention, who doesn't want a phone that can charge in minutes instead of hours?
You may have heard of Fast Charge, Quick Charge (QC) and even USB Power Delivery (USB-PD), which are the most commonly used terms out there. But how do you know if your phone supports fast charging?
Check out the table which covers these three types of charging technology below:
This shows you the most commonly used voltage and current which you can find on the power adapter or the wireless charger itself.
5) Does it support every kind of Apple Watchband?
One of the most obvious issues with the AirPower was that it couldn't charge an Apple Watch that had the bracelet style strap, but it could charge an Apple Watch with the simple strap that you undo completely.
When you think about it, there are lots of different types of Apple Watch strap, and the charger must support all of them to be effective. Otherwise, you might have to get a new strap to support your new wireless charger (which does not seem like a good idea).
The charger should support every type of strap available and not limit what you can and can't use as a result of its design.
As you can tell, you can't charge your watch flatly on the charger.
This is another critical point that you need to consider when choosing the right wireless charger.
5) Is the design innovative enough?
Why does this matter?
Well, consider the technology that you are looking to charge with it, each one has been carefully designed and then specifically chosen by you to represent your lifestyle.
If you search "Multi-device wireless charger" online, you will find the most majority of them are similar to the look of the AirPower, a simple, flat pad. Whilst as a device that needs to be put on your desk, the charger should look aesthetically pleasing, something that organizes or even decorates your desk.
Why do so many fans covet Apple products? Because they care so much about the detail, a typical example: they take real pictures/videos to make iPhone wallpapers when many others would simply use photoshop.
Ok. We have covered quite a few different areas which are all key to selecting the best multi-device wireless charger. So, you are probably thinking, is there a charger that meets all of these conditions?
Well, there is one, so read on to find out.
3. PITAKA Air Quad - Charging Clutter-free, Living Organized
There are so many reasons why I would suggest this one when compared to all the others. But, to put it simply, it is the functionality and the design that makes it stand out from the crowd.
1) It supports charging up to 4 devices at the same time.
Except for the fact that there aren't many wireless chargers on the market that support charging for your iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods II, iPad, Samsung phone, other Qi-enabled phones, and more, this one allows you to charge all your devices however you want. See the pictures below:
It can charge your phone including Samsung and iPhone, your AirPods II wirelessly.
Or, charge your iPad, AirPods II, and phones with the connector.
Any way is the right way.
2) It enables you to charge your phone regardless of the position.
AirPower was designed with multi-coils to solve the frustration of needing to align the phone perfectly to get it to charge, and sometimes, depending on the phone, this could take several minutes. The Air Trio is designed in a very similar way, multiple coils embedded within the pad ensure that your device will charge immediately wherever you place it.
3) It charges your Apple Watch any way you like
Have you ever tried to charge your loop-banded Apple Watch on a flat wireless charging pad? It will drive you crazy.
The Air Quad's clever design makes it easy to charge your watch, regardless of the strap that you have on your watch.
With the convenient flip-up design, you can charge your watch, whichever orientation you like, flat or vertical. A simple push of the side button gives you both options.
4) It supports fast charging, wired or wirelessly.
Either the wireless charging base or the MFi certified terminal allows you to fast charge your phone with 7.5W and 10W, enjoy a cup of coffee and your phone will be 50% charged. How cool is that?
5) The devil is in the detail.
It can be hard to get a good night's sleep when the light from your devices keeps you awake. The Air Quad design even tackles the problems associated with annoying light by utilizing LDR technology to adapt its charging status according to its surroundings.
6) It saves your space and organizes your busy desk.
Which desk do you prefer? The answer is obvious. Not to mention the foldable charging stand and the flexible flip-up apple watch design allow you to save your space as convenient as you want.
And there are plenty of more clever features waiting for you to discover...
Choosing a single wireless charger is easy, whereas things get a bit more complicated when you need it to charge multiple devices all at the same time.
If you have more than one device that you need to charge, you need a charger that can cope with all of your technology, one which is adaptable, feature-rich and able to look good on your desk or in your home.
Let me take the pain and confusion out of trying to find the right one and make it real simple, take a closer look at the Air Quad, better still, sign up to Air Quad for the earliest deal available.
You won't regret it!