GEAR4 PowerPad wireless iPhone charger review
With wireless charging being the current crazy, its no surprise to see GEAR4 putting forward a solution for the iPhone.
The unit consists for two elements, the first is the inductive charging pad, on which you'll have to place you iPhone. The second element is a case into which you'll have to place your iPhone. Put one on the other and you have wireless charging.
The case is needed because the iPhone doesn't contain the necessary technology to support wireless charging. The case has a rubberised effect on what is otherwise a plastic body, which splits into two pieces. The top removes so you can slide your iPhone into the case, connecting with a dock connector at the bottom, which is how it makes contact with the battery.
Adding the dock connector does extend the length of your phone, with the rest of the case adding bulk – although you do have the added benefit of the protection that the case brings. The case measures approx 127mm in length (compared to 115.5mm) and is 19mm thick (compared to the iPhone's 12.3mm).
It doesn't contain a battery of its own, so it won't extend the battery life of your iPhone.
The PowerPad itself is constructed from plastic with a depressed matte area where you place the phone. It is otherwise finished in black gloss and looks minimalist enough. The power pack plugs in around the side and four rubber feet on the bottom stop it from sliding around.
GEAR4 claim that the PowerPad will charge your iPhone at the same rate as a regular charger and we found this to be true. You simply place your iPhone onto the correct place on the pad and off it goes.
A blue LED illuminates showing that the charger is working, but you won't necessarily need that LED, because of the noise. Yes, the PowerPad might be wireless, but it isn't silent.
Place your iPhone on the PowerPad and you'll hear and excited chirping coming from the pad, which then slows down into a regular chirping about 4 times a second. If you have the PowerPad on your desk in a quiet office it may well drive you mad.
We tested the PowerPad initially in the kitchen and it could be heard over the sound of the fridge. Then set on a desk next to a Mac and it was a distraction. If you was going to put this in the hallway and not spend much time near it, then fair enough, but for us, the noise was irritating.
And that's not all. We also found it clicking away, albeit faintly, whilst there was nothing on the pad. A handy reminder to turn it off at the wall.
The PowerPad is an effective wireless charge if you happy with the increased size that the case brings to your iPhone. The case will also give you a degree of protection, but it would have been nice to see options over the standard black plastic.
But the noise that comes with this charging solution might be too much to bear. In a noisy environment, like an office with aircon, heaps of computers, phones ringing, or even music, it won't be much of a problem. But in a quiet home office, or next to the bed a night, and it might just be too irritating.