Swich wireless charger: Great design, or too expensive?

July 14, 2014
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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?

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