The Anker PowerWave Wireless Charging Pad was an easy choice for my first official review as I’m a firm believer that it’s the most underrated wireless charging product on the market right now. Anker have come on in leaps in bounds over the past couple of years, and with products like these they are really cementing their reputation as a brand that produces top brand quality products at regular market prices. Anker appear to have forgotten that now they are established as one of the top consumer tech brands they could charge a premium for their branding if they wanted to, that’s great news for us.
It's not just the great value for money of this top-quality wireless charger though that makes the Anker PowerWave pad worth buying. The aesthetics are gorgeous and just make it a pleasure to have to use this piece of kit. Wireless charging pads have been on the market for over 5 years so you might think designers would’ve used up all their ideas by now, and believe me, I’ve seen it all when it comes to charging pads, but this really just takes the biscuit.
The reason for this is Anker’s move towards a brighter colour scheme with their PowerWave series, which when used on a pad like this has the effect of brightening up any surface. These bright colours are a stark contrast to the dark black of Anker’s previous PowerPort series, a colouration which has been so overdone by charging companies at this point. No doubt the change to white as the base colour of this product was an attempt to move more in line with the iPhone and Apple, who many wireless charging companies have begun to pander to after the iPhone’s recent adoption of the Qi wireless charging standard in September 2017. However, it’s the way the bluish grey rubber coating on the front of the pad contrasts with the white that makes this aesthetic distinctive. In fact, the charger has a futuristic look that reminds me of something out of a Sci-Fi film, something you might see in Star Wars or Blade Runner – and this is great, wireless charging should feel like next-gen technology because that’s exactly what it is.
Not only does the rubber surface of the charger look great though, it also feels and even smells (yes I smelt the charger – don’t judge me) great too. I’ve never really been affected by the feel of a wireless charger before, but the PowerWave pad feels so smooth and soft to touch, maybe they should market it as a stress reliever as well?!
Size and Shape
Another aspect of the Anker PowerWave Pad which I’m a huge fan of is the size. I’ve never understood the obsession with smaller chargers, yes, they take up less room but unless you’re some big shot in the city with hundreds of files littered about your desk, who is really that tight for space that they can’t afford a few more inches of wireless charger.
The benefits of having a slightly wider charger should be obvious: it provides a more stable base for your phone and allows the charger to be slimmer, which overall makes the charging process simpler and neater. For instance, I use the mophie Juice Pack Air charging case so that I can wirelessly charge my iPhone 7, a thick case which also comes with a built-in battery. This means that if I had a bog-standard small and stocky charging pad it would be quite a balancing act to get my phone into position and ensure it didn’t fall off. Therefore, the wider size of this Anker pad, along with the rubber grip across the entire front face make this one of the most secure pads for your phone.
As mentioned the Anker PowerWave Charging Pad has top quality specs at an affordable price. According to Anker the product has “total radiation shielding, over-charge protection and foreign object detection.” While this does all sound rather fancy, essentially what it means is that the charger has measures in place to prevent any overheating and overcharging of your phone and it won’t generate any current unless another Qi charging coil is detected. Whilst these generally shouldn’t be issues in most quality chargers, it’s reassuring to know that Anker have taken extra precautions against these potential problems.
However, in my opinion the feature that makes this product standout the most from its competitors is the built-in internal cooling fan which according to Anker is “first of its kind”. This should go that extra-mile in ensuring your phone components are not made even mildly warm by the charger. When I plugged it in and wacked on my phone to test this out I was certainly impressed by how cool the surface remained even after hours of charging. One thing I would say however, is that you can hear a slight wurring from the fans, but the noise pollution is minimal and shouldn’t keep you up at night.
The grippiness of this charger is also one of its crowning benefits. Anker have managed this well by making the grippy rubber material an integral part of the aesthetic, this has allowed them to cover the entire front surface and a wide ring around the base with rubber, both of which provide significant traction, the front for your phone and the base for any surface you choose to place the charger on.
The next notable mention is the LED indicator on the side of the Anker PowerWave. I’m a big fan of this for a couple of reasons:
For one the ring design and the light blue colour of the LED adds to the futuristic aesthetic of the product whilst not being too bright – this is something I often look for in a charger because it ensures light sleepers can charge overnight without having to worry about a bright LED indicator keeping them up.
Second, the position of the LED is to the side of the Anker branding in the middle of the charger. This may seem like a moot point, but thanks to the width of the charger it means that if you align your phone with the branding in the middle (roughly the centre of the charging coil) you will still be able to see the LED clearly. Believe it or not the LED indicator on many chargers is actually covered by the phone when its charging, rendering the indicator completely useless. However, one downside to this LED is that it doesn’t have different settings for when charging is complete or when a foreign object is detected, but most people check their phone for charging status anyway so these are minor gripes.
In terms of the ease of positioning your phone for charge on the Anker PowerWave charging pad, it does only contain one charging coil so I occasionally had to adjust my phone when I was trying to charge it on the pad, but the Anker branding in the centre makes it quite clear where to place your phone so I didn’t have too many issues.
In the Box
Opening up the smart looking box in the iconic white and blue of Anker I found that everything I expected to find was there, neatly packed. In one compartment the charger was wrapped in plastic wrapping on top of a visual instruction guide and safety instructions that were written in multiple languages. There is no warranty with this product but it does come with a contact card listing various emails and numbers to call if you are either happy or unhappy with the product. Anker have already built up a reputation for having excellent customer service so I do recommend contacting them if you have any issues.
The peripherals that come with the charger were packed in another smaller blue box and were also wrapped in plastic. The PowerWave pad comes with both a USB-C cable and one of Anker’s own Quickcharge 3.0 wall plugs, which is a real bonus considering these plugs cost over £10 by themselves. It is important that you make sure to use the provided wall plug as other wall plugs may not be able to provide enough wattage to allow the charger to output at its optimal charging speeds. One small gripe is that USB cable is a bit small, I just wish it was a bit longer so that I could have more freedom with where I position the charger – this can however be easily remedied by swapping in a longer USB cable.