Hands-On With Energizer's Inductive Charger: Universality Is On The Way

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We're big fans of wireless charging here at LAPTOP, but the gap between Good Idea and Good Execution can be wide. There are elegant implementations like Palm's touchstone charger, and innovative thinking such as Powermat's wireless-enabled batteries for phones. But one big drawback to the trend has been the non-universality of the different products and solutions. Not that this is anything new in tech.

Battery giant Energizer isn't new to the wireless charging space, but their Inductive Charger does introduce an interesting element to the mix: Qi technology. Qi is the international inductive standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium. That means consumers can move between Qi charging solutions, batteries, and covers even if they're made by different manufacturers.

Other than the inclusion of Qi, the Inductive Charger is pretty similar to other wireless charging stations we've seen. Currently it comes with a rubberized case for the iPhone 3G/3GS -- a replacement back for the BlackBerry Curve 8900 is also available. Once the case or back is on your phone, just set it on the device to charge.

The Inductive Charger was able to fully juice an iPhone battery in just under 3 hours. Unlike the Palm Touchstone, the pad doesn't hold devices in place magnetically. This is by design -- Energizer left the magnets out so that users could place devices any way they like. Still, the charger can only do two phones at once plus an additional device via the build-it USB charging port.

Though the product only supports two phones at the moment, the Qi technology means that it will be compatible with other sleeves or devices with Qi charging built-in in the future. Still, $89 for the charger and $35 for the iPhone sleeve is a lot to lay down for a product that doesn't yet work with many devices. The convenience of just dropping your phone on it to charge is tempting. Aside from the price and short list of compatible devices, this wireless charging pad works well.

The Energizer Inductive Charger will be available at Target and target.com in October and via Amazon.com starting in November.

Xavier Harding contributed to this story.

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