Swich wireless charger: Great design, or too expensive?

by: J. Angelo RacomaJuly 14, 2014

swich mobile stand

Great technology is best with great design. This does not involve only aesthetics, but also usability, accessibility and functionality. When wireless charging technology came into fashion, for example, the intent was to enable untethered powering-up. However, design limitations resulted in some difficulty creating chargers that are both easy to use and well-designed.

Case in point: While wireless charging gives you the convenience of just placing your device on a desk, mat or a car dashboard, you won’t be able to use it as easily as if the device were simply plugged in via wires.

A Kickstarter project called Swich tries to address this limitation, with the developers promising a “visually attractive and highly usable stand” that holds the device at just the right angle for viewing. Swich is Qi-compliant, which means it will work with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5, LG Nexus 5 and other compatible devices from Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC and the like.

swich stand

The charging stand is built from ceramic and American dark walnut, and the creators promise construction from “sustainable” materials. The surface of the charging mat itself is made from a micro-suction pad, which ensures a good grip on virtually all smartphone surfaces and cases, so your device won’t simply slip off due to the angled nature of the wireless charger.

Another key feature is that Swich swivels, so you can quickly switch across landscape and portrait modes.

The campaign has targeted a goal of $25,000, and backers have pledged $41,733 as of writing, exceeding the funding goal by 67 percent. If the campaign reaches $50,000, the team promises to build in three additional colors (apart from the default white). If it reaches $100,000, the team will include a built-in battery so users can charge even while away from a power outlet or during power outages.

Swich charging mats colored

Not everyone is sold on Swich, however. For example, some point out that $170 is too expensive for a wireless charging device that’s just essentially a table-top cradle. Branded charging mats from Duracell, Panasonic and Energizer sell for $60 to $70, while generic power mats sell on Amazon for about $25. Perhaps if the developers reach their stretch goal of $100,000 and actually get to include built-in batteries for portable charging, the cost would be justified.

This again illustrates the usual question posed at crowd-funding campaigns: Are they innovative enough to warrant the price premium, or should we wait until the technology matures and items actually retail in the open market? This reminds us of crowd-funded projects like Pressy, which underwent several delays before finally shipping. Still, with more than 250 backers to date, it seems that accessories like Swich have enough interest to keep going.

Do you think Swich is a good idea, or should we just go for other power mats that retail for a fraction of the price?

  • Brandon Power
  • toiletduck7

    its way too impractical and expensive…

  • A6

    They should offer a version with cheaper materials. I don’t need ceramic and walnut. I need an affordable yet practical Qi charger.

    • Bob

      Plastic all around, cheap bastard. You can tell from a mile if somebody uses android, all cheap bastards

      • A6

        It’s all about choices. No need for me to waste money. You can waste all you want… To each his own.

  • not that bob

    It is, without doubt, overpriced by at least 500%. Ceramic and Walnut in fact, are cheap materials as they are easy to work with and tooling is cheaper. This brings down labour costs.

    There are better looking, higher quality, less expensive products out there that don’t (falsely)claim to be unique

    Another kickstarter based on greed instead of thought.

    • Gerald gibson

      Rather than greed looking at several different projects I think that they may be more guilty of trying to produce a product at too small a volume to get proper costs. Ie they would be buying material at a retail level rather than OEM cost level. Would run their price up very fast

  • todini

    I stuck my Nexus charger to a $12 stand.
    I lurv it.

  • Humberto Hernandez

    Bitch please, anything that is being sold from a kickstarter (or similar) is going to be expensive as hell! Just look at pressy…

    Those products are for people with tons of money to waste/spend (depending of the utility of the product)

  • Terry Parker

    It’s only a 1Amp charger and way too much for some coolness factor. I want one that puts out 2Amps and $40 – $60. It really shouldn’t be a problem. I think you have a slight problem if you are trying to impress someone with a charger.

  • I just got a nice nondescript wireless charger from amazon for like 19$ and there were cheaper ones I personally wouldn’t pay 170 for that I could make one myself for a few dollars worth of materials.

  • Jay

    $170 is way to much to spend on any accessory for my phone. I spent almost that much on the phone itself. If you’re using high end materials that would make it this expensive, then use different materials. In this case the materials are not even high end. Just way to much money.

  • aiiee

    I just bought one. Love it. Quality inside ( electronics NOT chinese!) and out. Looks gorgeous. A pleasure to own, unlike cheap chinese crap that fails soon after one buys it. You want cheap? There’s plenty of choices. You want good design? Not so available. Leave Swich alone haters.