Satechi is the latest Apple accessory maker to get into the wireless charging game with its new Qi-certified wireless charger, sporting the company’s signature aluminum design and providing full charging power for both Apple’s latest iPhones as well as other Qi-compatible smartphones. Like most of Satechi’s products, the name of this one is the usual mouthful: the [Aluminum Type-C PD & QC Wireless Charger]. It’s available in either silver or space gray to match the Apple aesthetic.
Satechi’s wireless charger comes in a simple package that includes the charging unit itself — a disc about four inches in diameter — and a 3.5-foot USB-C to USB-A cable for connecting to a power source. Sadly, however, you’ll need to provide the power source yourself, since Satechi doesn’t include one in the box, and to complicate things further, the company recommends that you connect it to a powered wall USB port, and not a computer.
As the product’s wordy name implies, Satechi’s wireless charger uses a USB-C port for power that supports the USB-C Power Delivery 3.0 and Quick Charge 3.0 specs for power. While we’re not sure how much this matters for a wireless charger — it’s still limited to only 10 watts of output, of which iPhones will only draw 7.5 watts — it’s still good to see companies sticking with USB standards, and Satechi has already been in the USB-C game for a while now with MacBook accessories and wired charging stations. However, this ends up creating an odd sort of scenario, since Satechi only includes a USB-C to USB-A cable in the box, meaning that you’re not really using USB-PD unless you not only supply your own USB-C power adapter, but also a USB-C to USB-C cable to go with it. Again, however, a wireless charger doesn’t need the power that USB-PD delivers, so this feels more like marketing spin than anything that offers a practical benefit, although it’s worth noting that Satechi’s product page suggests that you’ll only get full charging speeds by “using [a] Quick Charging (QC) or USB-C Power Delivery (PD) adapter.”
In terms of actual use, however, Satechi’s wireless charger appeared to charge at the same speed as any other 7.5-watt charger, even when used with a normal USB-A charger with the supplied cable. In that regard, the charger works just as well as most of the other wireless chargers we’ve tested, with support for foreign object detection, temperature sensors to prevent overheating, and an LED to display charging status. A rubberized top should keep your iPhone from sliding off, but here’s where Satechi made a rather odd design choice; a raised cross on top of the charger means that an iPhone won’t lay completely flat, resulting in it wobbling a bit and easily spinning around. This makes the experience of using it feel considerably less stable, and while the iPhone won’t exactly slide off by itself, it’s more easily knocked off than we’d expect, particularly if you happen to tap a corner hard enough to start it spinning. We’re not sure what Satechi was thinking with the raised plus sign, but it’s definitely the single major detractor from a product that’s otherwise nicely designed.
Satechi’s Aluminum Type-C PD & QC Wireless Charger comes in at a fairly reasonable price of $45, but you’ll need to factor in the cost of providing your own power adapter to go with it, which makes the price less competitive when compared to many of the other options out there. Further, while we liked the aluminum base aspect of the design, we do wish the top pad provided a more stable resting place for the iPhone. This may be less of an issue if you’re using certain types of cases, but it’s definitely something you’ll want to keep in mind in terms of where you’ll place this charger. If you like the design, Satechi’s wireless charger is still worth considering, but we think there are better options out there.
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