XONE 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Dock Hands-On Review
Wireless charging has made a comeback, in large part thanks to Apple. However, while the Cupertino-based finally brought wireless charging to its iPhones a few years ago, it has only released a wireless charger for its Watch series. Infamously, Apple cancelled the AirPower too, its wireless charger designed to recharge up to three devices.
A quick search online reveals a ton of 3-in-1 wireless chargers, of which Ocean Digital claims its is the most affordable. A start-up based in Shenzhen, China with an office in California, the XONE is seemingly the company's first product. Currently priced at US$49 on Kickstarter, where it has received almost US$27,000 in funding, the XONE incorporates two wireless chargers and has a third slot for adding an Apple Watch charger. Not a 3-in-1 charger then, strictly speaking, but the XONE is capable of charging three devices simultaneously.
The XONE will start shipping from February 2020, according to its Kickstarter listing. The wireless charger will enter mass production next month, but Ocean Digital has kindly provided us with an early unit.
Please note that this is a hands-on review. While we shall discuss our experiences with the earbuds, we shall not be covering them to the depth that we usually do in our laptop or smartphone reviews.
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Case & Design - Simple, yet cumbersome
The XONE has a simple plastic design and comes in black or white. While our white review unit has a silver flourish around its second and third modules, Ocean Digital has opted for a more discreet ring on the black edition. Both colours have matte finishes, while our unit does not look as glossy as white models do in pictures.
In our opinion, the XONE feels oddly lightweight considering its size, but not the extent that it will move around when placed on your desk or a side table and with a few devices placed on it. We did not expect the XONE to weigh much though, as it just contains some circuity and a hollow plastic case. Moreover, the third module is merely a hollow silicone shell for holstering an Apple Watch charger.
In case you were wondering, the Apple Watch charger connects via a USB Type-A port that Ocean Digital has hidden under a removable bottom plate. This clicks into place with a few plastic clips, making it easier to detach than having to remove screws. Conversely, plastic clips are also more fragile than screws.
Removing the bottom plate reveals some cable routing, a useful and well-thought addition in our opinion. If you do not have an Apple Watch, then the third module can be used as an LED lamp or a bladeless fan. Both power via USB Type-A and currently cost US$10 each or US$15 for two. Alternatively, Ocean Digital sells the two accessories along with the XONE for US$55. The company claims that it will eventually sell the "All In One Set" for US$99, although we do not know where.
Connectivity - USB Type-C and a hidden Type-A
As we mentioned earlier, the XONE has a hidden USB Type-A port, along with a Type-C port that provides the charger power. There are also two LED lights on the front of the charger that denote which modules are in use. Both lights are white and are unobtrusively muted, in our opinion.
The XONE supports up to Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, and can output up to 16 W according to Ocean Digital. The charger also supports Quick Charge 2.0, PD9V and AFC. However, the primary wireless charger peaks at 10 W, with Ocean Digital stating that it can also operate at 5W or 7W depending on the device to which it is connected.
Operation - Handy, but slow
We only received the base model, so we cannot comment on the bladeless fan or LED light that Ocean Digital also sells. While the company markets the XONE as being designed for Apple products, it is, after all, a Qi-certified charger. We verified this with an LG V30, which charged with both built-in wireless chargers, albeit rather slowly. The device took about 90 minutes to go from around 50% to 100%, which is a far cry from the speed of other more powerful wireless chargers. Our experience correlates with the XONE delivering around 5 W of power. Ocean Digital states that the charger can push out up to 10 W with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, but our tests suggested otherwise.
Interestingly, while Ocean Digital markets the second charger for AirPods and AirPods Pro, it charged our LG V30 just as quickly as the main charger does. Presumably, you will need a powerful USB Type-C charger to charge two smartphones at once. We tested the XONE with a 65 W Amazon Type-C charger. Ocean Digital does not include one in the box.
Verdict - AirPower on the cheap
Overall, the XONE could be a good purchase if you are wedded to Apple's ecosystem and you have a Watch, AirPods and an iPhone. The XONE is affordable too, but you must contend with questionable warranty coverage. Likewise, you may end up spending just as much on a decent Type-C charger, as Ocean Digital does not include one in the box.
Its low wattage charging may frustrate Android owners who are used to 15 W wireless charging and beyond. While this would not be a problem if you have a home office or would leave the XONE on a nightstand to charge your devices overnight, the XONE is not the wireless charger for you if you want fast charging.
The XONE is a versatile and customisable 3-in-1 wireless charger with some drawbacks.
Overall, the XONE distinguishes itself, in our opinion, from other 3-in-1 wireless chargers on customisability and its cable management. The lack of an internal battery pack means that you cannot use it around on-the-go, which may put some people off, although its cumbersome size would make this a chore.
We like its simple design though, as we do the inclusion of a universal Type-C port. In short, there are few 3-in-1 wireless chargers that are this well-made and feature-packed at US$49. Stepping up to US$55 gives even greater functionality, although we cannot comment on how good these optional modules are for the time being.