While the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus now include wireless charging capabilities, it’s fair to say that this feature may not be enough to convince users of older iPhones to trade up to the latest model — especially considering the otherwise narrow gap between the iPhone 7 and new iPhone 8 models. Hence, we’re convinced there’s still a market right now for wireless charging solutions for older iPhone models, and this is even more true for accessories that provide utility beyond simply charging, as is the case with Bezalel’s new Omnia Wireless Car Charger — a vent-mounted car dock that’s designed to work with the company’s own Latitude Case to provide an easy way to keep your iPhone juiced up on the go without having to fuss around with cables.
The Omnia Wireless Car Charger is sold individually for $60. To use it with an iPhone you’ll need to purchase the appropriate Latitude wireless charging case, which sell for between $45 and $60 depending on the model of iPhone and whether you purchase the case along with a charging accessory. The Omnia package also includes a two-foot USB to USB-C cable and dual-port 5V/3A car charger, allowing you to power a second device in addition to the wireless charger.
The Latitude case is a surprisingly slim TPU-style case that snaps onto the iPhone and provides basic protection and a reasonably good grip. A felt interior backing helps protect the iPhone from scratches, and buttons are framed and exposed rather than covered. The bottom of Latitude is left open with a Lightning cable connector that can easily be detached to connect headphones or even use your iPhone with a traditional dock. It’s a nice, functional design, and we were definitely impressed with how slim Bezalel was able to make the case compared to other wireless charging cases we’ve seen. Latitude is compatible with both Qi and PMA standards, so it will work with other compatible wireless chargers, and not just those by Bezalel.
Omnia attaches to the air vent on most cars, much like other mounts we’ve seen, making it easy to install and even to swap between multiple cars without too much effort. It can be rotated 360 degrees and positioned to just about any angle, and the spring and ball joint mechanism is tight enough that it won’t move around by itself. A USB-C connection is used on the bottom rather than micro USB, and the included two-foot cable should be long enough to reach the power outlet on most cars; while the cable might be a bit too short for some vehicles, we also appreciate not having to deal with too much cable. Of course, you can always swap in your own USB to USB-C cable if you need a longer one. Once installed, using Omnia is simply a matter of putting your Latitude-encased iPhone up against the charging pad. It will magnetically attach and align itself with a strong enough magnetic field to hold it in place, and begin charging as long as power is being supplied to the Omnia by your vehicle — a Bezalel logo on Omnia will light up blue when the wireless charger is powered. Removing the iPhone is also as simple as you’d expect — just grab it and go.
Sadly, despite Bezalel’s claims it would seem that Omnia does not properly charge the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus directly; both iPhones would initially report charging when first attached to Omnia, but would stop charging after about 30 seconds. Further, Omnia’s magnetic field is not strong enough to reliably hold even the smaller iPhone 8 in place, so we’d be extremely hesitant to use Omnia with the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus without the Latitude case, even if charging otherwise worked properly. It’s worth noting that the iPhone 7 versions of the Latitude cases work fine with their respective iPhone 8 models, so using the case is an option for iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus users.
The included USB car adapter can supply a total of 3 amps split across both ports, and Omnia itself draws 1.5 amps, supplying 7.5 watts of power to the Latitude case, making it 50 percent faster than a wired charge with the power adapter that Apple includes with the iPhone, but still not as fast as charging with a 2.1 amp adapter. Notably, however, an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus with a Latitude case will also charge 50 percent faster than with Apple’s own built-in Qi charging capabilities, although Apple has promised that native wireless charging speeds will improve in a future iOS update.
With wireless charging capabilities having just been introduced to Apple’s iPhones, Bezalel’s Omnia Wireless Car Charger sits in an interesting place right now. While it’s not realistically usable by itself with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus — even if charging worked properly, it won’t securely hold an iPhone without the Latitude case — it’s still an appealing solution for those with older iPhone models who aren’t quite yet ready to upgrade, especially with the new iPhones spurring the development and deployment of Qi-compatible chargers. Wireless charging is especially handy in a vehicle mount, and we like the design and implementation of Omnia. While we’re disappointed it doesn’t work natively with the iPhone 8, it’s still an appealing solution that works very well for users with older iPhone models.
Company and Price
Model: Omnia Wireless Car Charger
Price: $60 + $45/$55
Compatibility: iPhone 7 / 7 Plus, iPhone 8 / 8 Plus (with case)