Reviewed by David Savage
If you received a shiny new phone for Christmas, you might be looking for a different type of charger for it that will fit in better with your home. With all the tech and electronic devices we now have in our homes, we tend to have power and charging cables all over the place. A wireless charger would be an excellent edition rather than just having a charging cable laying around, you can just plonk your Qi enabled phone on to it without having to plug anything it and charge your phone up. The problem with wireless chargers is that they all look the same and don’t fit in with your home décor. Twelve South have the answer in the PowerPic! A Qi-certified wireless charger that is disguised as a 5×7” photo frame – not only does it display your favourite photo, but you can put your phone in the frame and charge your phone!
Twelve South have been designing good quality and good-looking stylish accessories for Apple products since 2009 and the PowerPic photo frame charger has to be the most aesthetically pleasing wireless charger on the market (at least that I have seen anyway). Whilst I don’t own any Apple products, the PowerPic works with most Qi-compatible phones that measure no bigger than 165mm.
The PowerPic is a photo frame made from New Zealand pine that is available in two colour options; black or white. It looks like just any standard photo frame that you would have in your home on a coffee table, mantlepiece or desk and is freestanding. It can fit a 5×7” portrait photo the same way as you would with any photo frame by twisting the clips on the rear of the frame. Plug it in to the mains (it comes with a USB type C to A cable but no power plug, but we all have a multitude of those hanging around the house) and the front becomes a powerful 10w Qi-certified wireless fast charger that is compatible with most Qi-enabled phones including:
- iPhone (X, XS, XS Max, XR, 8/8 Plus)
- Google Pixel 3
- Samsung Galaxy
The front of the frame looks like any standard photo frame and fits in with your home décor. The rear, apart from having a removable panel so you can insert your favourite photo, features a status LED that is solid blue when charging your phone and blinks if there is a problem with charging. The stand/foot has silicone to protect surfaces against marks and scratches, stops the frame from sliding and is also a cable tidy for the USB cable.
Charging the phone is simple, as long as your phone is capable of wireless charging (Qi-enabled for inductive charging) and fits within the frame (165mm), you just place the phone on the glass and it will start to charge. If you have a case fitted to your phone, it will still charge as long as the case doesn’t exceed 3mm in thickness. My Samsung Note 9 fully charged in approx. 2 hours, although I did have to remove it from its protective case so that it fit within the frame.
The frame/charger has a built-in safety feature that detects foreign objects. For example, if you placed your phone on the frame with a coin or your debit card the LED blinks to indicate that it has detected a foreign object that will interfere with charging.
Overall, I found the PowerPic to be and excellent wireless charger (except that my phone is slightly too big with its case on). It suits the décor of the room and it is much better than looking at a flat wireless charger or a loose charging cable. It has the added bonus of being a photo frame and it is a brilliant way of disguising your charger, hiding it in plain sight. It looks and feels good quality and is very sturdy, even when the phone is placed within it.
I would like to see a bigger version available, maybe 8×10” so that it would fit the newest phones using protective cases.
Before you rush out and buy, there are some limitations to be aware of – the phone can be no larger than 165mm/16.5cm with a protective case on. Any protective case can be no thicker than 3mm. If you plug the frame into a laptop, you may only get a slow charge rather than a fast charge if when plugged into the mains outlet.
A fast wireless phone charger in the guise of a photo frame, an excellent piece of kit that is also a quality piece of home decor.
RRP: £89.99 (currently selling on Amazon for £49.99)