A Gift For Geeks: Charge!

two-chargersCell phones, tablets & related accessories are very personal items. I am increasingly of a mind that items of technology are too personal to be a gift. However, there are a few some cases where that’s not true. For example, unusual chargers.  In particular, high-current USB chargers built into standard receptacles.

These handy devices cost around $20 and are available from a variety of sources. Locally, I have found them at Lowe’s and Home Depot, although Amazon has a great selection which afford you the opportunity to match a particular décor. Those who are handy with a screwdriver might include the act of installation along with the gift itself.

If that’s not your thing, you might consider a wireless charger. Where a year ago wireless chargers were still pricey, in the $50+ range, they have since fallen to $25 or less. It takes a little research to determine if your intended target has a  mobile device that features one of the common wireless charging mechanisms, the most common of which is known as Qi.

From my own experience I know that our Nexus 4, Nexus 5 & Nexus 7 mobile devices all have Qi wireless charging built-in. If their cell phone, like the almighty iPhone,  doesn’t have Qi built-in you can add it by way of aftermarket  wireless receiver. These are also very affordable, and available in designs that fit just about any phone.

Wireless chargers potentially extend the life of the handheld device by avoiding the mechanical wear & tear common to repeated use of the micro-USB charging port. Further, a wireless charging stand puts a tablet at a convenient position resting on a desktop or night stand. That makes it more practical to use the device as an alarm clock or streaming music player. It’s reliably held at an appropriate position even while keeping it continuously powered.

Advanced chargers are good gift ideas.They are items that people usually don’t buy for themselves, yet they can significantly improve quality of life with handheld devices.

Asus Launches Official Charging Docks for Nexus 7

Asus PW100 Qi wireless charging stand for Nexus 7 (2013)I really enjoyed my Nexus 7, so much so that after 18 months of use I bought myself the 2013 edition and gifted the original to a friend. I also had the much delayed charging stand for the original Nexus 7. No such device was available for the newer model, until today.

Today Asus released a pair of charging docks for the little Nexus 7 tablet. The first dock is a wired device featuring an HDMI output port. It’s priced at $50 which seems little steep, but not much more than  the dock I had for the older tablet.

In contrast, the ASUS PW100 Wireless Charging Stand sells for a whopping $90! That seems just a little beyond reasonable for a single position Qi wireless charger. As I’ve mentioned previously, this pricing makes it seem like manufacturers are intentionally limiting the rollout of wireless charging.

Late last year I bought a Qi charger for just $30, gifting it to the Mrs for her Nexus 4. Happily, given the premature demise of her Nexus 4, that charger works just as well for her shiny red Nexus 5.

Needless to say, I will not be ordering the new ASUS PW100 Wireless Charging Stand which is just today available from Amazon.