At a glance, you might mistake iOttie’s new iON Qi wireless charging pad for something coming directly from Google. Of course, you’d probably pretty quickly remember that the Pixel line doesn’t support wireless charging for whatever reason so that wouldn’t make any sense, but that hasn’t stopped iOttie from crafting a device with Google’s fingerprints all over it.
Google doesn’t own the copyright for making gadgets with a fabric finish, but they’re pretty much the only company that’s consistently doing it. It’s unique and weird, in a good way, but you don’t see many devices that pretend to be carpet unless it’s from Google.
The construction of the iON is pretty solid, offering a pretty lightweight charger to sit on your bedside stand that somehow manages to blend in with an end table while still looking pretty striking. Chargers are boring but the iON is actually pretty cool. That plain gray fabric just looks very professional.
It’s ported in the back above the USB ports, likely to help dissipate heat, and it doesn’t weigh much at all. There are four small nubs for feet on the bottom to help keep it off of a surface just slightly, and an embossed plastic ring to indicate where the charging coil is hidden underneath the surface.
Oh, but let’s back up to that USB port. You’ll see a regular USB A port to charge another device that’s not wireless charging capable, and a USB C port. I’ve spent the first part of 2018 complaining about the lack of USB C ports and charging on most accessories, and we finally got one that you can charge with the same cable you use to juice up your phone. All is right in the world, at least with the iON.
Now that USB C port doesn’t do anything special with charging, unfortunately. iOttie promises fast wireless charging, which means 10W of charge to a newer Samsung device and 7.5W of charge to an iPhone, with everything else getting the standard 5W of output. However, since the USB C cable can deliver up to 18W of power to the charging pad, that means you can draw up to 12W of power from the USB A port on the backside, which is great for something like a tablet that you frequently charge at night.
iOttie includes a faint white light to indicate when your phone is charging, which contrasts from the typical blue that you see on most other chargers. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of the blue light. It stands out a little bit more and doesn’t mingle in with overhead lights as much, but I can see why iOttie went for the unassuming option with the iON.
When you’re debating on whether or not you want to invest in a wireless charger, you’re most likely going to think about where you’re going to put it. Most of the other chargers we’ve reviewed have been great for a variety of situations, but up until now I’d never thought we’d need a recommendation for an office or professional setting. The iON make a very compelling argument on why we do need that.
The heathered fabric just looks like it belongs on a clean desk next to some pencils, and that white light takes away the nerdy, gadgety vibe you get from some other accessories. iOttie even offers it on three colors (Ruby, Ash, and Ivory) to coordinate it with the rest of your office furniture. Combined with the simplicity of using the next standard of USB cable and the option to plug in any old wired device and you’ve got a winner for your work desk.
At $49, it’s a little pricey, which is another trend we’re seeing. I think iOttie manages to make that price point a good value proposition with the sleek design and USB C port, but we’re getting dangerously close to the point where these chargers are going to need to offer some kind of major new feature to continue justifying their price tags.
Buy it now: Amazon