"Lazy Bones"...I'm sure all of our mothers have called us that at one point or another but did you know that this was the name of the first ever TV remote control? Seriously, it was designed by Zenith and released to the world in the early 1950's as the wave of the future. By today's standards you probably wouldn't even recognize it as a remote, with only a few buttons and a long pesky cable that stretched across the room it was less than practical. This was eventually remedied though with the advent of the alkaline battery which made it's way into all sorts of gadgets like remotes, electric razors, etc. However this led us to a new problem, batteries die and then need to be replaced. Enter the rechargeable battery! But wait now we're right back to having cables to charge everything, we just can't seem to get rid of these darn things...until now. Meet WildCharge an innovative company from Boulder, CO that brings us a step closer to eliminating all of those wires.
This is a company that's been around for a little while with their WildCharger Pad but just recently came out with a skin for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It is easily used by taking any device that is in a WildCharge Skin or has an adapter attached to it and placing it on the charging pad and almost magically the device will begin its normal charging cycle. The first time I did it I literally giggled, extremely cool stuff here, very Jetsons like.
The pad itself measures 6.75 inches by 8.5 inches by 0.75 inch and weighs just 4 ounces with 12 metal charging strips across its surface. The metal surface has a shinny chrome finish that is easily cleaned of finger prints with a single swipe of a rag. While not a huge area it does have enough room to fit at least 3 iPhones or iPod touches on it and would be perfect sitting on a dresser or night stand.
The skin for the iPhone is made of a sturdy rubber material that honestly feels more durable than most of the Incase and Belkin rubber skins I've been exposed to. Additionally it also appears to be more resistant to stretching as well. The only signs that this is in fact more than your standard iPhone case is the small nub at the bottom of the dock connecter and the charging pins on the back. The nub on the bottom where the dock connecter connects with the charging pins indeed adds some height to the phone but it does it in an unobtrusive manner. The charging pins on the back add mere millimeters to the overall thickness of the phone.
How It Works
By placing a device on the pad it bridges the connection between the charging pins and the metal strips. Also, while it obviously shouldn't be a goal to try and short it out, placing your hand on it won't shock you or damage the pad. It's been designed to support up to 5 devices at once as long as you're able to fit them all on the pad together. The charging itself takes no longer than if you were to plug an iPhone directly into the standard wall adapter and dock cable. All other functions continue to work as normal including Stereo Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Cellular/Data connectivity.
-Reduces charging cables to keep track of
-Skin easily doubles as a functional case
-Need to buy separate adapters or skins for every unit you wish to charge
-Need to take the case off for plugging into other dock connected devices
The Bottom Line
While the $80 bundled price tag seems a bit steep for what is essentially a charging station it's important to remember that the Skin by itself costs $35 which is a competitive price for iPhone cases, especially one which serves more than just the function of protection. When looked at this way the price for the Pad becomes much more reasonable. With that being said however, if you only have one device which you're planning on charging through the station then you truly are paying more for the novelty of doing so than anything else. In addition, if you're the type of person who is constantly connecting their iPhone/iPod to a car adapter or other accessory through the dock then this may not suit you, as the constant chore of removing it from the case could become quite cumbersome. In the end if you've got the cash and need a new toy then go for it. Pretend you're George Jetson for a while... you deserve it.