Back in December Tesla announced its Wireless Charging Platform that’s powered by FreePower’s latest “place anywhere” Qi system. Now orders are shipping to the first customers and we’ve been able to test out the premium multi-device charger that delivers on Apple’s free position AirPower dream.
A bit of background. FreePower (which is now the name of the product and the company, the former was previously Aira) first launched its free position Qi wireless charging tech with the Nomad Base Station Pro in 2020.
That was a slick charger, but when Apple launched MagSafe for iPhone 12 just a couple of months later, it ended up interfering with FreePower Qi charging. FreePower released a firmware update almost immediately to improve the wireless charging for iPhones with MagSafe, but customers still had a better experience with Android smartphones.
Fast forward to 2023, Tesla is FreePower’s launch partner for the second generation of its unique and improved free position Qi tech.
I got the chance to chat with FreePower CEO and founder Jake Slatnick and he shared that the second-gen system has solved the previous issues with MagSafe iPhones.
He also noted changes that all devices will benefit from with FreePower gen 2 including coil enhancements for greater efficiency and faster charge times, improved foreign object detection, intelligent power delivery per device, and a more precise power transfer field.
Ok, let’s jump into the review 😁.
Tesla Wireless Charger review
- Wireless power for up to three devices simultaneously
- Position devices anywhere thanks to FreePower gen 2 with 30 wireless coils (up from 18 coils used in the 2020 Nomad Base Station Pro)
- Up to 15W for Android, 7.5W for iPhone
- Matte black aluminum frame inspired by Tesla Cybertruck
- Soft Alcantara finish on the charging surface
- Weight: 981 grams (2.16 pounds) with base and 715 grams (1.58 pounds) without base
- Magnetic detachable base for raised angled or low flat orientation
- USB-C cable integrated with wireless charger
- 65W USB-C power adapter (with Cybertruck design)
- Price: $300
Materials and build
The frame of the charger is made from a weighty, solid aluminum and the same goes for the detachable base. With the Cybertruck aesthetic as the inspiration, the sharp angular lines in matte black offer a super clean and minimalist look and feel.
The integrated USB-C cord is a flat-style cable and Tesla didn’t settle for a boring power brick, it’s like a Hot-Wheels-sized Cybertruck plugged into your wall.
The magnetic base easily detaches and reattaches to shift between the raised angled orientation and the flat one. Both the larger base and magnetic base have rubber feet to give the charger grip.
For charging status, there’s a subtle LED indicator just below the Tesla logo in the center of the charger.
Here are all the signals the LED can give:
- Start of Charge: 5-second illumination then dim
- Charging: Constant dim
- Device Removal: Device 1 – LED off, Multiple Devices – LED off then reilluminate
- Power Supply Error: Rapid blink
- System Error: Rapid 3 bink burst
- Metal Object Detected: Slow pulsating blink
I’ve been loving this charger. From the look and feel of the hardware to the FreePower gen 2 tech, it offers a truly fantastic experience.
The adjustable design with the removable magnetic base is a clever and useful touch to make it more adaptable to different use cases like offices, bedrooms, kitchens, etc. And the attention to detail is on point with features like the super soft Alcantara making up the charger’s entire top surface, cable management built into the magnetic base, and a thoughtful LED that won’t disturb you if this is in your bedroom – but can still indicate status without having to look at your phone.
As far as FreePower’s claim of making it reliable for iPhones with MagSafe, I’ve found that to be the case. Every time I put down my iPhone it quickly registers and begins charging right away.
Ok, for some finer details. I tested the charger out in a mix of ways with iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro, and AirPods Pro gen 1 and 2 (but of course, this works with any Qi-capable devices).
Just for fun, I tried stacking two sets of AirPods Pro in the middle of the two phones just in case it would charge all four devices. But it is indeed limited to three like Tesla/FreePower says.
You can fit two 6-inch smartphones plus AirPods Pro on the pad. Since it has an angled surface, the bottom is a touch more narrow than the top – so the available surface is right about 7.75 inches wide.
Most 6-inch smartphones come in at the 2.8-inch wide mark and 6.8-inch smartphones are right about 3.07 inches wide (without cases). That means it would be tough to fit two large smartphones plus an earbuds case (the shortest side of AirPods Pro is 1.75 inch).
But if you have one 6-inch and one 6.8-inch phone, that should work to fit an earbuds case on there too. Fun fact, three iPhone 12/13 mini should fit side by side on this charger (at least without cases).
Another convenient option is charging multiple pairs of earbuds with one smartphone.
As far as the iPhone’s max charging being 7.5W and 15W for Android devices (when many of those can charge beyond that), it didn’t really feel like a sacrifice. If I’m in a hurry and need to charge as fast as possible, it’s best to reach for a wired cable with a fast-charging brick. But honestly, I can’t remember a time I was in a pinch like that (and if I was I’d probably just grab a portable battery or charge in the car).
To me, the convenience of being able to plop a device down without having to think about placement is worth the trade-off of wireless charging speeds.
I do have a couple of constructive ideas. First, if the Tesla Wireless Charger was just about an inch wider, it would be more flexible for households that have more than one large smartphone (6.8-inch or bigger).
Second, a removable cable would have been valuable. I know the integrated USB-C cord helps with the clean and minimal design. But it would be a tough pill to swallow to buy this premium charger and have the cord go bad. Especially if you have pets, make sure you’ve got the cable out of reach.
Tesla Wireless Charger wrap-up
All-in-all, I think Tesla and FreePower have delivered what Apple dreamed about for AirPower with an even higher-end design.
If free placement for multi-device wireless charging, a premium build, and a slick design are important to you, the Tesla Wireless Charging Platform has you covered.
- All-metal frame plus soft Alcantara design
- Unique and minimalist aesthetic
- FreePower gen 2 works consistently and was really “place anywhere” in my testing
- Versatile setup with removable base
- Non-removable USB-C cable
- Not as convenient multi-device charging for households with several large smartphones
- Premium price
I give the Tesla Wireless Charger a 4.5/5 rating. I think overall, it is successful in delivering a high-end design and premium experience.
You can pick it up direct from the company for a cool $300. And for those who previously placed an order, they should start arriving as soon as today.
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