RAVPOWER 15W Wireless Charger hands-on review
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I do like my mobile devices, which means I also appreciate a decent charging accessory, out of necessity if nothing else. Then again, I've never really been convinced by wireless charging, particularly given its reputation for slow speeds, low wattages and potential for energy waste. However, some OEMs are currently trying to address at least some of these issues, resulting in developments such as Apple's new "MagSafe" technology. It is based on a markedly slim wireless charging puck designed for uninterrupted iPhone 12-series use while the accessory is connected to the back via its ideally unobtrusive cable.
Accordingly, a number of manufacturers have brought out MagSafe-like chargers of their own, RAVPOWER included. This OEM claims that its version (the RP-WC012) delivers the same up-to-15W rate as its Apple counterpart.
Unboxing and First Impressions
However, unlike that original Apple product, the RAVPOWER alternative not only comes with its usual welcome card and paperwork, but it also has a power brick of its own to charge the USB type-C enabled main event. It, again, is intended to mimic the first-party equivalent, meaning it is a dinky little adapter rated for up to 20W using the USB-PD standard. It is made of very standard-looking black plastic. The charging pad itself has a soft-touch surface for contact with a device. The other side is finished in something that looks like metal, at least, in a familiar shade of gray. It is quite a departure from Apple's own all-white design, but does mean the charger might slide around on some surfaces.
Now, I have secured an iPhone 12 to test out as of late. I found that the RAVPOWER wireless charger worked quite well with the device, lining up easily with its magnetic contacts and staying there while charging with appreciably reliability - even when performing the flagship's party piece of standing on its end unaided.
Therefore, the accessory can easily charge the iPhone (at nearly exactly 10W) while continuing to use the device to view content and so on at the same time. Then again, the two would come apart if the inbuilt cable was pulled taut.
I also tried this out with a Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. The Android smartphone did start charging wirelessly at nearly exactly 10W (deemed "Fast Wireless Charging" by its UI). However, I was disappointed to note that its magnets could not seem to adhere to the accessory all that well. It would stay stuck to the device's rear panel - unless I tried to lift it at even the slightest angle. In addition, it could have been easier to line the two up for optimal charging.
The 20W power brick also performed pretty much as advertised when used in standalone mode with the 12's stock Lightning cable.
Finally, given all the comparisons with MagSafe in reviews such as this, not to mention this product's own marketing material, I felt compelled to conduct a "jeans pocket test" with the charger on the device's back. Unfortunately, it failed at the first attempt, unless I actually held the pocket open for the iPhone and its connected charger. That doesn't inspire confidence for the famous wallet, I have to admit.
All in all, I think a user will find the RAVPOWER 15W charger a surprisingly convincing wireless accessory - so long as they have a new iPhone. Introduce a less patently targeted brand such as Samsung, however, and things almost literally fall apart for the charging disk's main USPs. Otherwise, I have to say I prefer it to the idea of the first-party MagSafe charger, particularly as its black-and-space gray finish might be more resistant to dirt and discoloration in the long term.
The charger is currently available at a normal price of ~$40 on Amazon (although it is discounted to $26 at the moment) and is thus similarly priced to the "real" charger when bought from Apple. However, the former does have the edge with the addition of the 20W power brick out of the box (something the iPhone 12 also lacks, as I now know for sure).
Disclaimer: The author of this review received the 15W wireless charger from RAVPOWER free of charge for the purpose of testing.