Crowdfunding Spotlight: Swich

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Swich

Jul 9, 2014

This week’s Crowdfunding Spotlight shines brightly on what might end up being the best looking product we have ever featured. For those who spend a majority of their day at a desk wires really become somewhat of an unexplainable annoyance. For the more refined taste, an elegant, serene work space is the pinnacle of productivity. Now more than ever work is done via smartphones and it is very important to have them at our beck and call. This leads to wires and inelegant solutions such as vertical docks that limit the ability to handle the phone when necessary. Slovenian designers Lutman Design have taken the traditional phone cradle, removed the wires and reclined the phone towards a more natural position. The device is called Swich and I am truly smitten.

The first part is really the Swich’s biggest selling point. Using inductive charging standard, Qi, Swich will charge any appropriately enabled device; which at this point is simply the Nokia Lumia and Nexus 5, or any device with a Qi receiver. The aftermarket receiver is what most consumers will opt for, and for $10 Lutman will provide iPhone users with a special charging case of their very own. Even though the field at the moment is limited, the Swich is banking on the reasonably safe bet that wireless charging is the way of the future and some day soon smartphones will come without the ubiquitous micro-USB ports. This technology is built into the stand and is underneath a layer of micro-suction material to ensure no slippage.
What is possibly even more impressive than the wireless charging or micro-suction surface is just how elegant this device looks. The either white or black ceramic base and surface are joined by a delightfully arched piece of stained American dark walnut. The inclusion of high quality wood between two matte piece of ceramic make the Swich truly a modern work of art, and no designer would think twice about putting this device in their office. I am glad to see that it is also not as overpriced as I feared; a standard Swich can be had for around a $140 donation. Unsurprisingly, this project has already been funded but there are still 20 days to go, and with speakers, different colors, and even multiple designs promised through stretch goals there is no reason not to jump on this project right now. For those looking for something both convenient and beautiful to charge their phone at home or work look no further than Swich.

TYLT Vu Wireless Charger Hardware Review

TYLT Vu Wireless Charger Hardware Review

Jun 11, 2014

Wireless charging is becoming less of a novelty, and with the TYLT Vu Wireless Charger, it is easy to see why aesthetics can become a big part of the picture.

Off the bat, it definitely wins style points, with its deliberate angling and tapered look. The surface area is lime greenish with a subtle logo on the face, and black on the underside. The uneven, inverted V is very becoming, and the hard plastic feels solid in hand. The charger officially comes in at 7.5 x 3.5 x 0.5 inches, and weighs less than 5.7 ounces; it also boasts output of 5W off input of 12V/750mA.

The package contains a charger and documentation as well, and also comes in red, blue and black.

Setting the charger up is intuitively easy, and involves connecting the included wall charger via the port at the bottom of the device. The unit feels fairly firm, with no undue chance of tipping over. The broadest end of the unit bends into a brief lip, and this main part forms the main charging surface. In practice, the surface area is very liberal, which allows for relaxed placements. When paired with a few Qi-enabled devices, the charger immediately recognized them and started working immediately, as shown by the charging indicator on the devices. Charging is noticeably slower than wall charging, but this is something that is true of every Qi-enabled charger I have used.


I would have liked an indicator on the charger itself, or even a vocal signature; if a device does not have an indicator, it can be hard to confirm charging if the screen is off. Also, the sleek design is easy on the eyes, but might make usage in places like a car a bit harder to pull off.

In any case, hats off to TYLT for making a modern charger that is cool enough to be as stylish as it is functional.

RAVPower Qi-Enabled Wireless Charging Pad Hardware Review

RAVPower Qi-Enabled Wireless Charging Pad Hardware Review

Jun 3, 2014

It’s all about mobility these days, and frankly, that’s exactly how I want it. When it comes to smart devices and accessories, there is always room in my hear for tools or combinations that lessen the need for other tools, and especially for those that remove the need for wired and tethering.

Wireless charging is not exactly news anymore; the concept of inductive powering and gradual industry acceptance of the Qi standard is something all techies and enjoy. For those already on the train, accessories like the RAVPower Wireless Charging Pad will be great additions to one’s personal mobile ecosystem.

We got a white unit to review (the item also comes in black). It is not too big, but a bit removed from being diminutive; the exterior parts are made of hard plastic, and is a rectangle barely bigger than the HTC One M8, and feels lighter too. Officially, it is 5.7 x 3.11 x 0.31 inches, and under 5 ounces in weight. The review box also contains a micro-USB cable, plug and instructions.


The continuity of the frame is only delicately interrupted by a micro-USB charging port at the “top” of the unit and a tiny LED at the bottom; at the front, there is a the company logo that serves as the charging sweet spot and slip guard, along with the written version of the logo.

Setting it up is as simple as it gets: wall plug cable to unit, and it’s on. The unit promises an output of 5V 1A max. I used it with an HTC One M8 and N5, and it worked well. With the former (which uses a third-party Qi element), the charging is slower than a wall socket.

The ease of placement makes it great for everyday use, though I admit I would have liked a physical guard in addition to the ant-slip mechanism.

It’s a fun gadget, and perfect for times when a device might be asleep for an extended period, like overnight.

KickStarter Spotlight: Synergy

KickStarter Spotlight: Synergy

Aug 14, 2013

For the uninitiated wireless charging seems like a folly. Something that is inherently impossible that does not seem logical. Well, wireless charging is, in fact, a real thing and it is expected that the next generation of smartphones will include some kind of wireless charging capability. This is all well and good but for now the mats that these devices are charged on are quite bulky and mostly just take up space. Not to mention that the phone is essentially paralyzed and inert lying down on a table during the charging process.

Hailing from Austin, Texas Daniel D’Agostino and his impressive KickStarter project, Synergy, set out to change the landscape of wireless charging forever. By creating a solid, well crafted stand and incorporating wireless charging into it, Daniel has created a device that allows for the most convenient charging experience to date. Synergy is perfect for offices and is especially useful in the car. No suction cup gimmicks here, simply place an adhesive base plate behind the rear-view mirror and snap Synergy on before setting out on the morning commute. Thanks to programmable NFC tags a specific program or action can be run upon connection making this process even more user-friendly.


Synergy uses Qi; a standard in the world of wireless charging, but most current generation smartphone will have no problem connecting to the device via a separate case that attaches to the incredibly powerful rare-earth magnet. The feature that impressed me most after looking at Synergy’s KickStarter page had to be the strength of this magnet; as there seemed to be no way to accidentally shake or push a phone off the stand. Wether this magnet is harmful to a phone remains to be seen, but at least the phones in the video seemed to be working just fine. I would just advise keeping wallets well clear of this face.

Synergy comes with two “base stations” one for the car and a 1.5 lb bedside stand. The actual mounting plate does not carry a charge but draws the power from these stations and plays the middleman. The front face even lights up for a few seconds when an object comes within a few inches of its proximity sensor which facilitates nighttime charging. Personally, I am excited to see this project reach the shelves; not only for Daniel, but because of all the competing products that will expedite the arrival of ubiquitous wireless charging. This could be the catalyst for the future, but only if it is funded by Saturday, August 24th.