Nexus Wireless Charging Orb Review

April 3, 2013
25 21 15

nexus wireless charging orb side aa 1600

In a time when most electronics products tend to adopt multi-function capabilities, it is rare that we witness the emergence of hardware that is specialized in just one function. Wireless chargers fit exactly into the category above, but should they also fit into our homes?

Today, we take a look at the Wireless Charging Orb for the Google Nexus 4.

Functionality

The Nexus Wireless Charging Orb’s name is pretty explanatory, since it’s a wireless charger that hails from Google’s official Nexus line of hardware products. As for the “Orb” part of the branding, that’s pretty obvious as well, with the charger being shaped like an angled, half-cut orb.

nexus wireless charging orb in hand aa 1600

Please note that, although the Wireless Charging Orb is a Nexus product, it doesn’t mean that it only works with the Google Nexus 4. The Orb can load the battery of just about any device that features Qi wireless charging capability. We have tested it with the HTC Droid DNA and it works just fine.

Design

Your smartphone sticks to the angled surface of the Orb thanks to a plasticky material that surrounds the middle. The smartphone can be placed in either portrait mode or landscape mode (ideal for consuming video content at your desk). In addition, the 120 grams Wireless Charging Orb is easy to set up: place the device on your desk, connect it to a plug via the microUSB power cable, and you’re all done.

nexus wireless charging orb back plugged in aa 1600

Charging Times

According to the quick start guide, the Orb should charge a dead 2150mAh battery in about four hours, under perfect conditions. However, the same guide also mentions that there are a lot of factors that can alter the charging time, a fact that we’ve noticed ourselves when the Orb was done charging a dead Google Nexus 4 in around six hours. By comparison, we have managed to accomplish the same task in just 3 and a half hours using a standard USB charging cable.

Video Review

Takeaways

The charging time is not something to write home about, but the Wireless Charging Orb doesn’t provide just an easy way to charge your smartphone.  It also acts like a docking station while you are at your desk. Using the Orb is so convenient that power will flow more often into your smartphone, than it does when you have to perform acrobatics to find and use the USB charging cable.

nexus 4 wireless charging orb android aa 1600

To be honest, most of the things we love about the Nexus Wireless Charging Orb stand true for all wireless chargers out there. In addition, given that the $60 price tag is also comparable to these other chargers, the decision to purchase the Orb can be based solely on personal preference.

As far as the team here at Android Authority is concerned (a team where the Nexus 4 is quite popular), this is our favorite wireless charger out there so far.

What is your take on the Nexus Wireless Charging Orb ? Is it the wireless charger to get, or would you rather wait for better charging times before you switch to this new technology?

Mike Andrici contributed to this review.

Comments

  • tomn1ce

    4-6 hours to charge the phone….I prefer to plug it in and have my phone charged in 1.5-2hrs…I’ve been wondering how long it would take for the phone to be fully charged…thank you for answering my question….

  • Smitty

    How do you keep your phone from slipping off the orb? Since day one I can’t get it to stay on longer than 10 minutes without it falling off. I’ve cleaned both the back of my phone and the surface of the charger. I also read someone uses a business card in the front of the orb to change the angle slightly, but nothing has worked for me.

    • AndroidBrian

      My Nexus never slips off. I have a clear TPU case on mine though

    • http://www.facebook.com/geno.wardelli Geno Wardelli

      I have the same problem.

      • Brian

        Put a penny or something similar under the front of the orb. It reduces the angle and has fixed my issues with the orb.

  • http://www.facebook.com/geno.wardelli Geno Wardelli

    I can’t keep my phone from slipping off the Orb. Two minutes and slips off with little charging. Would never recommend.

  • Rwmartin

    #androidauthority I really like my Nexus and being able to charge it without plugging it in would be even better.

  • mountainloafer

    Love my orb. No slippage what so ever. I have the bumper and a dbrand skin on the back. I read in a forum that the slippage could be from early units. They contacted Google for a replacement and now it sticks.

  • Dan Harsh

    #androidauthority I’ve been waiting for this thing to come out since day one ordered my nexus in the first batch waited and waited for delays blah blah blah needless to say lots of waiting but ultra worthwhile phone would be fun to have a simple charger like this.

  • JayJ

    I have a WCP-300 and love it, wish the WCP-700 was available here in the UK though…

  • lg

    #androidauthority wish could have one of em !!

  • YashaFromRussia

    #androidauthority my nexus 4 is with me everywhere I go. its battery life is known to be far from the best, so i always have to carry around the cord and look for a power outlet in local restaurants around the campus. it would’ve been just amazing if i had one of these :)

  • Jeff Rulifson

    To stop the sliding: Simply buy a screen protector for the back of the Nexus 4, one specifically for the back that has the cut-outs in the right place. Install it and the Orb works perfectly. I even use an Orb in my car and the Nexus 4 never moves, at all.

  • Project Qitah

    The tech:

    As far as the technology goes, it’s not for everyone, at least not for those who have a clean, organized desk with just a wire on it. Heck , the wireless charger will also require a cable. That said, there are a lot of us who like it better still, and that’s what wireless charging does. It takes away one pain. Tethering.

    I think the bigger picture (and this is why those who have used it are raving about it) is that if the charger is designed well enough, you won’t have to remember to charge anymore. That would make me tick! Hint-i’m workin’ on it :)

    The Nexus4 problem:

    I found out that the Nexus4 is not Qi certified upto hardware version 11. To check yours, hold the volume down key while powering off. I got mine in Feb 13, but people who got it in June also have version 11. On the WPC website, only HW rev-12 is certified. http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/products/details/210/mobile-phone

    That said, version 11 is almost Qi compatible and the orb is made specifically for it. It doesn’t help that the Nexus4 either slips off the orb or sticks to it like a gecko while trying to lift the phone! Or that I have to align my phone more than half the time to get it to charge – this is fatal, all i wanted from my wireless charger was to get rid of the hassle of plugging in..and having to align is as disturbing IMO.

    Other devices – Lumia 920, Samsung S4 (accessories), HTC Droid DNA, LG optimus are all Qi certified out of the box..all you need is a Qi charger.

    Now here’s why i know this stuff:

    I got the Nokia DT-900 few months back (Google’s orb is not available in India) and had a tough time with my Nexus4, read so many forums on xda and otherwise to find the right solution. But everyfrickinbody has some issue or the other, whether with the Nexus4 or any other Qi phone (like the Nokia Lumia 920, HTC droid, etc.)

    Now my old guy, with a couple of other old ones have this high freq inductor/transformer making workshop and I told them I want us to make a wireless charger, and do it right! They said we ain’t got the money – ha! I said I don’t need no money, I just need ur tech and tools..ur brains and grains! With a grin, it was okay’d And 2 months in, we’ve got the Qi compatible electronics ready and tested!! Now we just gotta design a good form. We even have a name – Qitah (say cheetah)…hehe, yeah.

    Here’s are the pain points we’ve addressed uptil now:

    a) Phone Alignment – it’s a 3coil configuration that allows free positioning. After all, what’s the point of a wireless charger if you still gotta put in effort for the phone to charge

    b) Remembering to charge – we realized while brainstorming that the major pain point is not of plugging in a wire with your wall charger..in fact it’s remembering to charge your phone daily. Even if I forget to charge once a week, it’s kinda disastrous. We are really working hard and smart to tackle this with the form design

    c) Looks – Apart from the orb, all the other solutions (mostly pads) are uhhgly!! And the orb is so painful with ‘sticky’ issues. Hey, if the Qitah is to sit on your office/home desk, it better look so frockin awesome yet unintrusive that you feel great about it!

    d) Travel/Incline – it’s pretty sad that we either have pads or inclines in the market. We are hell bent on coming up with a travel friendly design to get rid of this simple pain point.

    Here’s where I need all your help..tell us your pain points! tweet “@projecQitah”, post on facebook – “projectQitah” and let us know what you want it to be like. I’ll be following up on all suggestions/criticisms.

    Cheers!

    wapeye

  • katline hunt

    Just got the Nexus wireless charger from Amazon and they are going absolutely crazy with the discounts with these brands. If you don’t have a promo code, you can use this one: http://amzn.to/1iyFZfq – before they take it down.