Ever since smartphones and tablets became popular, the idea of just dropping them on a pad and picking them up later fully charged has been a lofty, if seldom-met goal. A few attempts have been made at wireless charging solutions, with Qi being the closest we’ve seen to an actual standard. Qi-compatible devices are still relatively rare, but between several Nexus, Motorola, LG, Nokia, and HTC phones, you might already have Qi compatibility and not realize it. If that’s the case, you can indeed charge your phone just by dropping it on a pad, or in the case of the $69.99 Tylt Vu, a stand. The Vu is simple, stylish, and a little pricey compared with plain Qi charging pads that often retail for around $40; even so, it could be the new resting spot for your phone or tablet.
The Tylt (pronounced “Tilt”) brand name is more on-the-nose than the Vu product name. The charger is effectively just a 7.5-inch-long, 5.6-ounce one-piece plastic stand that holds your Qi-enabled mobile device at a 45-degree angle, tilting it in the process. It’s available in black, green, red, and blue for the ski slope-like top side, with each color version held up by a black plastic underside. It has no buttons and only a single colored indicator light under the lip of the stand. The back edge of the charger holds a thin, proprietary power port for use with the wall adapter.
It’s simple to use. If your smartphone or tablet supports Qi, or has a Qi adapter/sleeve (many of which are available for the iPhone 5s), just put it on the stand with the Qi node (usually in the center of the device) over the Tylt logo. The device should start charging immediately, and the indicator light on the Vu will change from red to green to show this. I set a Nexus 5 and a Nexus 7 to charge simply by dropping them (separately; you can’t charge multiple devices with the Vu) on the stand and waiting. The Vu automatically goes into sleep mode once the device is fully charged, periodically monitoring battery levels to top it off if necessary.
Qi charging isn’t quite as fast as plugging your smartphone or tablet directly into a USB wall charger. It topped off the Nexus 5 in just three hours, which is slightly slower than when using a wall charger. However, the Nexus 7 took more than five hours to go from completely dead to charged on the stand, when it charged within just three hours with a wired charger. As a general rule, smartphones will charge faster than tablets regardless of your charging method. But if you’re in a hurry and need to power your tablet, you’re better off plugging it in. The Vu seems to be a better overnight charger for larger Qi-compatible devices than as an a-few-hours-here-or-there charger.
The Tylt Vu is a handy device if you have a smartphone or tablet that supports Qi and you want a simple drop-in charging solution at home. It doesn’t seem quick enough to replace a wall charger when traveling, and the proprietary power connection makes it less convenient to carry around. But for a simple nightstand/desk charger on which to leave your phone or tablet, it’s a nice little stand. At $70 it’s a bit pricey, especially if you need to get an adapter or sleeve for a non-Qi-powered device like an iPhone, but if you’re a Nexus or Droid user this charger might be right up your alley.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc