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Nexus 4 Wireless Charger (Orb) hands-on

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Nexus 4 Wireless Charger (Orb) hands-on
We heard about the Nexus Wireless Charging Orb the same day that the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 were announced, but unfortunately it took another three months between the release of the Nexus 4 and the release of the slightly renamed Nexus 4 Wireless Charger (though we prefer to call it the Orb). We finally got our hands on it on Friday, and it's time to give you our hands-on impressions.

When it was first announced, the Orb was likened to another Matias Duarte creation, the Palm Touchstone, and it certainly does have some similarities, although the Orb is obviously an orb; and according to the label, it was designed by LG. The design is nice enough, but it doesn't really stand out in any way. The small form factor will easily fit in with any other objects you have on a nightstand or desk. Of course, while the Orb will wirelessly charge your Nexus 4 via induction charging, the Orb itself does have one USB connection so it can draw power from the outlet, so you won't be able to completely free yourself of wires on your desk.

The outside is a matte plastic that feels quite good to the touch, and easy to grip (not that you'll have much occasion to pick up the Orb). The bottom rim is also rubber, so the Orb won't slide around on your desk (unlike the extremely slippery Nexus 4). The outer front rim is a smooth hard plastic, and the rest of the front face is a somewhat sticky rubber. The rubber makes dropping your Nexus 4 onto the Orb soundless, and smooth, but it is also prone to picking up dirt and dust. The face of the Orb has magnets to hold the Nexus 4 in place, no matter how you put the device on the Orb, giving it a clean, free-standing look.

The only issue we have with the Orb is the price. While the device is well designed, solidly-made, and offers freedom from fumbling with USB cables, we're not totally sure it's worth $59.99. That's not really Google's fault though, as the price is in line with the competition. Similar wireless chargers from Nokia retail from $50-80, so it's more just the "early adopter tax" on cool new hardware. We're also slightly concerned that this will be an accessory just for the Nexus 4. It seems reasonable that the Orb would work with future Nexus phones, but Google hasn't yet said one way or the other. 

If the price isn't a dealbreaker for you (and you've been able to get your hands on a Nexus 4), you can get an Orb via the Google Play Store.

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posted on 18 Feb 2013, 11:58 1

1. _Bone_ (Posts: 2155; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

Cool but pricey for a coil and a magnet wrapped around with plastic. You are basically playing for the technology built in the phone.

posted on 18 Feb 2013, 12:40 4

2. Troysyx (Posts: 181; Member since: 30 Jul 2012)

Bought it and received it on Friday. Its fantastic, a lot smaller than i was originally expecting (which is a hug plus). It is great for people with jobs at a desk (yours truly) as it saves the hassle of plugging your phone in and out while going away from you desk. just sit down, plop it on the charger and you're good to go. Price isnt TOO bad, seeing as how a basic flat charger (energizer) goes for $45 without shipping. I love the angled face so that i can look at emails, texts, streaming radio, and anything else while not having to pick up the phone.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 07:52

10. Aeires (unregistered)

Love mine too, picked it up after getting my tax return. After having my N4 slide off the sofa arm rest while being plugged into the usb charger, I knew this was something I wanted to pick up, regardless of the price being on the higher end. It's worth it to have peace of mind and the ability to just grab your phone and go.

posted on 18 Feb 2013, 12:48

3. imkyle (Posts: 1086; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)

If it was $39.99 plus the shipping and tax I would jump on it, but $59.99 plus the shipping + tax is around $71. Little too much for me.

posted on 18 Feb 2013, 14:46 2

4. WirelessCon (Posts: 311; Member since: 11 May 2010)

This should only be $20. Maybe $30 if they wanted to be uppity.

Google is a big failure on accessories for the Nexus 4.

Otherwise I love the phone.

posted on 18 Feb 2013, 15:42 7

5. Android802 (Posts: 5; Member since: 31 Oct 2012)

Show me a wireless charger for $20 or $30. I bet you'l have a hard time finding one. They are all around this price.

posted on 18 Feb 2013, 18:05

6. papss (unregistered)

He'll for 75.00 I'd order a Nokia fatboy pillow.. This orb does look cool as hell

posted on 18 Feb 2013, 19:45

7. Owlet (Posts: 450; Member since: 21 Feb 2011)

I bought this for my DNA. I really like it. It doesn't get hot, looks cool, charges pretty quickly. I wish it was cheaper, but oh well.... Hope the next HTC flagship has wireless charging built in, cause I'm sure I'll have to get one. :D

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 02:21

8. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)

"Sorry! Devices on Google Play is not available in your country yet.
We're working to bring devices to more countries as quickly as possible.
Please check back again soon."

fvck that s**t....americans are so lucky,

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 06:42

9. StuiWooi (Posts: 91; Member since: 19 Feb 2013)

I really like the background on the nexus 4 in the pictures, can anyone share it with me??

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 08:36

11. hf199 (Posts: 25; Member since: 14 Sep 2012)

Remember the Palm Touchstone costs $75! when it came out. But it also did a lot more than the Orb.

posted on 20 Jan 2014, 01:11

12. aoke.george (Posts: 6; Member since: 20 Jan 2014)

hey guys, there is George from China, who do the wireless charger business. if somebody want to purchased any QI wireless charger transmitter or receiver. Pls add my skype:yang.geogre or sent a email to yang.george@outlook.com

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