A few months back I checked out a Qi-compatible adapter for iPhone. The iQi is a gloriously “hacky” way to make your iPhone 5/5s/5c able to charge wirelessly on a whole range of Qi chargers. But the company’s latest product is perhaps even cooler than that.
The QiStone+ is the first portable powerbank that can claim to be completely wireless. Like most powerbanks, it holds a large battery inside to keep your iPhone charged when you’re away from a power outlet.
It stores 4,000mAh of power when fully charged, which should be enough to fully charge your iPhone two and a half times. It also has a Micro USB input for topping it up, and a USB output for charging devices that can’t take advantage of its wireless charging facilities.
But here’s where it’s different to every other power bank: It can charge Qi-compatible devices wirelessly, but can also be charged wirelessly itself. So it has a Qi transmitter, and a Qi receiver. Providing you have compatible phones and an existing wireless-charging base, you never, ever have to plug it in or use any cables.
Design-wise, its name comes from the obvious attempt to mimic the look and feel of a pebble. It’s obviously made from a cheap-ish plastic, but has a rough textured finish, almost exactly like the finish on the back of the Sandstone Black OnePlus One. Corners and edges are nicely rounded, making it very comfortable in palm.
On the top is a well-hidden capacitive power switch and a row of green LEDs used to inform you how how much power is left inside the “stone”. Underneath are four grippy rubber feet that keep it from sliding around when you put your phone down. But although it looks and feels good, there’s no denying that it’s cheap. Just giving the device a quick squeeze ensures you’re not left feeling it’s a classy, sturdy device.
Using it is just as frustrating as using any wireless Qi charger. Sometimes finding the center spot to get your device charging is a challenge. Especially if your phone is bigger than the QiStone. With the iQi adapter and an iPhone 5s, I’d say I got the right spot first time about 90% of the times I tried.
In most instances, I found myself using it at night. Personally, I hate having wires and clutter on my bedside table, so to have a wireless device that looks attractive sitting there that I can just my phone down on at night is great. Once it gets empty, I charge it up in my office, and take it back to my bedroom in the evenings.
I found that I got at least 2 full iPhone charges from the QiStone in daily use. And I actually love that is still has the USB output, despite being wireless. Because inevitably, there will be times when I’m carrying my gear around in a backpack when a USB cable is a much more practical solution. So, wireless or not wireless, the QiStone does a great job of being an emergency power source.
Is the iQi plus QiStone+ the best charging option for you? It’s hard to recommend wholeheartedly. The adapter isn’t MFi (Made for iPhone) approved or authorized by Apple. With iOS 8, I got the “the accessory may not be supported” message a handful of times in testing.
That said, in personal use, it’s been really convenient having a completely wireless set up for when I’m on the move and for my bedside. And the fact that it’s not an ugly square brick really helps its appeal. You can get hold of a QiStone+ for £45 ($72 USD) from fonesalesman.com.