by Joe White
November 9, 2013
Update: Please see the update below. Earlier this week, we told you about iQi Mobile: a Qi-powered wireless charging solution for iPhone. Since, creator Bavan Pala has been in touch, and offered AppAdvice the chance to go hands-on with a prototype of iQi Mobile, in order to see how the accessory - which can be backed online at Indiegogo from just $20 - stacks up. How could we resist? First, however, for a recap of iQi Mobile, we'd recommend checking out our original article. As we explained:
The Qi iOS receiver the project advertises is actually around the size of a credit card, and as mentioned, it can therefore be slipped behind an iPhone or iPad, while the iDevice is housed within a soft case. If you really wanted to, you could even tape the iQi Mobile receiver to the back of your smartphone, tablet, or case, if the fit is too tight. This small receiver connects to one’s iDevice using a Lightning connector ribbon, which can be safely plugged into an iPhone or iPad and left there. After configuring iQi Mobile in this way, when you rest your iDevice on a Qi charging pad (such as the one pictured above), your smartphone or tablet will charge wirelessly.After receiving our iQi Mobile prototype, what we can vouch for from the off is the product's size - which is indeed impressive. Though iQi Mobile touts itself as being "credit card sized," the prototype we received is even smaller, clocking in at perhaps two-thirds of the size of a usual payment card. It's also pliable, to an extent, and is indeed thin enough to slip inside the back of a soft iPhone case. If you keep up to date with our product reviews, you'll remember that I recently reviewed Piel Frama's FramaSlim for iPhone. As such, I decided to modify the case using iQi Mobile, in order to see if - with a bit of tape, and careful alignment - I could successfully turn the leather book-like product into a Qi wireless charging receiver. Using iQi Mobile, this was incredibly easy to do. The Lightning connector in the product fits perfectly within the Lightning port of one's iDevice, and doesn't stick out or extend beyond the dimensions of the handset itself. This means users need not worry about the safety of their iPhone's Lightning port; it doesn't feel like iQi Mobile will catch, or slip out, which is something I was originally concerned about. The product's Lightning connector is attached to the receiver itself using a ribbon, and I was then able to tape iQi Mobile to the back of my iPhone case easily. As an alternative setup, iQi Mobile can be used with "thousands" of soft cases for iPhone: just slip the thin Qi receiver behind the handset, house it within its case, and you'll be good to go. Once you're connected and ready to go, you can then start charging your iPhone wirelessly. It goes without saying that this is an insanely convenient means of charging up a smartphone. For this, I found that the Koolpad (which you can pick up online for $35) worked best: it promises to keep the temperature of the iPhone and the Qi charging pad down, which is something other Qi charging pads and pucks don't always achieve. Of course, charging occurs at a slower rate using Qi, but this is easily countered by the convenience factor alone. Charging your smartphone using iQi Mobile is as simple as placing it atop a charging pad: within one second, the iPhone will emit its charging alert, and you can leave your handset alone to charge up. Plus, if you need to send a message or take a call, interrupting the process is as simple as picking the iPhone up. Creator Bavan told us that minor changes still need to be made to iQi Mobile, before it reaches Indiegogo backers in December. These include improving the quality of the iQi Mobile receiver, and particularly, making the corners more rounded and the material less slippery. Bavan also plans on making the receiver even smaller, in order for the Apple logo to be displayed when using a clear case with iQi Mobile. However, all that being said, the prototype I tested worked incredibly well. Some folks might not like the sound of connecting their iPhone up to a product such as iQi Mobile, but in my experience, the product is difficult to fault; the Lightning charger is passive when the handset isn't charging, and as noted above, iQi Mobile fits perfectly within the port itself. Moreover, this is likely the closest we'll get to charging our iPhones wirelessly using a seamless, unobtrusive, and native-feeling solution. For more information, including the option of backing the project, head over to iQi Mobile's Indiegogo page. As mentioned, you can preorder a receiver for a contribution of $20, while a receiver plus a charging pad will set you back $65. Shipping is free to the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Check back with us in December, because we'll be publishing an in-depth, hands-on product review of iQi Mobile once it's released to the general public. Update: iQi Mobile works even better with Apple's official iPhone 5s Case, as you can see in the below image. Once installed, the wireless charging solution is barely noticeable. See also: Kick Back And Enjoy The New RUGGD iPad Air Case From Tylt, Today's Best Apps: Rayman Fiesta Run, QuizUp, Pathogen And More, and Facebook Update Brings The Post Editing Party To iPad Users.