Zens announces 16 coil Liberty Qi charger for more flexible wireless charging

Posted:
in General Discussion
Zens has announced a new wireless charger, giving users "complete freedom of placement" with a new wireless charging strategy.

Zens Liberty wireless charger in limited edition Glass
Zens Liberty wireless charger in limited edition Glass


Traditionally, most charging pads have a fairly small "sweet spot" where a device can be placed for wireless charging. Zens hopes to solve this problem with their new Zens Liberty wireless charger. By overlapping the 16 charging coils, Zens has expanded the active charging area considerably. Two compatible devices can be placed anywhere on the Zens Liberty charging pad to begin wirelessly charging.

The Zens Liberty comes with a 45W universal power adapter that features a USB-C connection and comes with separate plugs for the U.S., UK, and EU. A USB port is placed on the top of the charging pad, with the company claiming that reasoning behind the placement is part of a "new, world's first product introduction that will follow soon."

The Zens Liberty dual-wireless charger comes in two different varieties, the Kvadrat and the Glass.

The Kvadrat edition features a 90% worsted wool surface known as "Atlas." Atlas was created by Kvadrat in cooperation with Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard and boasts a unique pattern due to the nature of the material.

The Glass edition is a limited run that features a see-through glass surface. The 16 charging coils are visible, giving users a sneak peek into what makes their wireless chargers work.

The Zens Liberty Kvadrat edition will be $139.99 upon release, and the Glass edition will ship for $179.99. Both products will be available in November 2019.

We've taken a look at a five-coil charger in the past by Courant Catch, and recently learned about the OtterSpot, a portable, stackable, Qi-Certified charger from OtterBox.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    I wonder if they settled on 16 coils through a process of elimination.  Started with 22 coils like Apple was rumored to use in AirPower (RIP), and eliminated coils until there was an acceptable level of signal interference and heat generation.  Good on them if they got it to work.  It's still a solution in search of a problem imo.  Random placement could be considered a minor convenience, but it ain't a $140-$180 convenience.
    stompy
  • Reply 2 of 16
    If it does not support Apple Watch, I would not even consider it.
    watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 3 of 16
    I am wondering exactly what the challenge was where Apple decided to pull out. 
  • Reply 4 of 16
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,675member
    I wonder if they settled on 16 coils through a process of elimination.  Started with 22 coils like Apple was rumored to use in AirPower (RIP), and eliminated coils until there was an acceptable level of signal interference and heat generation.  Good on them if they got it to work.  It's still a solution in search of a problem imo.  Random placement could be considered a minor convenience, but it ain't a $140-$180 convenience.
    You are assuming it works, it probably works to some level, but it probably has issue which a company like this thinks is good enough. Apple does not have a history of throwing in the towel and the fact they did in this case probably means there are some issue Apple was not willing to compromise on. Think about it this way, Apple had a limited number of product which they had to make it work with and the control the design on all those items and they gave up. The complexity of products the company has to deal with is much higher so the level of possible issue is also much higher. The question is how far outside the ideal conditions does the charging start having problems.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobrarepressthislolliver
  • Reply 5 of 16
    I am wondering exactly what the challenge was where Apple decided to pull out. 
    Three devices, instead of two.  Different charge rates, etc.  This device doesn't take on those challenges.   We also don't know about what level of interference and heat this manufacturer found acceptable.  
    stompywatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 6 of 16
    Notsofast said:
    I am wondering exactly what the challenge was where Apple decided to pull out. 
    Three devices, instead of two.  Different charge rates, etc.  This device doesn't take on those challenges.   We also don't know about what level of interference and heat this manufacturer found acceptable.  
    Good points. And apart from features I would not be surprised to find that they have a different level regarding product safety as well.
    watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 7 of 16
    maestro64 said:
    I wonder if they settled on 16 coils through a process of elimination.  Started with 22 coils like Apple was rumored to use in AirPower (RIP), and eliminated coils until there was an acceptable level of signal interference and heat generation.  Good on them if they got it to work.  It's still a solution in search of a problem imo.  Random placement could be considered a minor convenience, but it ain't a $140-$180 convenience.
    You are assuming it works, it probably works to some level, but it probably has issue which a company like this thinks is good enough. Apple does not have a history of throwing in the towel and the fact they did in this case probably means there are some issue Apple was not willing to compromise on. Think about it this way, Apple had a limited number of product which they had to make it work with and the control the design on all those items and they gave up. The complexity of products the company has to deal with is much higher so the level of possible issue is also much higher. The question is how far outside the ideal conditions does the charging start having problems.
    I'm not assuming anything.  That's why I said "Good on them if they got it to work."  Curious why you would have an opinion that their charger probably has issues.  Are you basing that on Apple's failure?  If so, that literally makes no sense.  Zen's charger is similar to AirPower, but there's one critical difference, and I (with no proof whatsoever) firmly believe that difference is the reason AirPower failed.  Proprietary Apple Watch charging.  I believe that was Apple's Achille's heel.  Apple was trying to combine standard Qi coils and proprietary AW coils in the same enclosure.  Zen is not doing that.  They are only using standard Qi coils.  An easier task?  Yes, imo.  

    I think Apple could have achieved what Zen did.  Unfortunately, they put themselves in an untenable position when the announced a product that they hadn't successfully built.  A product that could charge standard Qi and their proprietary solution. I also think you're wrong about Apple not having a history of throwing in towel on things.  I'd bet they have a (metaphorical) warehouse filled with abandoned projects.  -1000 no's for every 1 yes amirite? - What Apple doesn't have is a history of announcing products that don't exist yet.   Gambled and lost on that one with AirPower.  I don't think they'll be doing that again anytime soon.
    n2itivguy
  • Reply 8 of 16
    I am wondering exactly what the challenge was where Apple decided to pull out. 
    It wasn't safe or reliable.

    The Qi standard is absolute junk, and Apple was trying to make an impossible product while working within it. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 16
    payecopayeco Posts: 340member
    $140+ for just two devices?
  • Reply 10 of 16
    I am wondering exactly what the challenge was where Apple decided to pull out. 
    It wasn't safe or reliable.

    The Qi standard is absolute junk, and Apple was trying to make an impossible product while working within it. 
    Wait.  The Qi standard is absolute junk?  So you're saying Apple has foisted absolute junk on it's customers?  Makes sense.  I mean, they had already implemented their proprietary wireless charging solution with the AW.  Instead of using that on their phones, they use junk as one of the signature features in their new form factor $1000 phone (the X), and has continued to use it on their flagships (XS and Max). Yep, makes sense.  Now they're rumored to be doubling down on the junk standard by introducing reverse wireless Qi charging on their upcoming flagships.  Absolutely makes sense.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    Is it smart at all? Can it adaptively turn on only the coils that align with the device it is charging by maybe getting feedback from the device whether it is charging when certain coils are on?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,782member
    I wonder if they settled on 16 coils through a process of elimination.  Started with 22 coils like Apple was rumored to use in AirPower (RIP), and eliminated coils until there was an acceptable level of signal interference and heat generation.  Good on them if they got it to work.  It's still a solution in search of a problem imo.  Random placement could be considered a minor convenience, but it ain't a $140-$180 convenience.
    The AP one would have been worth it for me, as a travel charger -- iPhone, Watch, AirPods, thin, removable cable. When not traveling it would sit on top of the microwave. The ones I've seen thus far don't met all the criteria.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    I wonder if they settled on 16 coils through a process of elimination.  Started with 22 coils like Apple was rumored to use in AirPower (RIP), and eliminated coils until there was an acceptable level of signal interference and heat generation.  Good on them if they got it to work.  It's still a solution in search of a problem imo.  Random placement could be considered a minor convenience, but it ain't a $140-$180 convenience.
    The AP one would have been worth it for me, as a travel charger -- iPhone, Watch, AirPods, thin, removable cable. When not traveling it would sit on top of the microwave. The ones I've seen thus far don't met all the criteria.
    Yeah, I can see AirPower being worth it for some people.  Everybody's different.  Still a solution looking for a problem imo.  If I was interested in something like that, it would probably be similar to the Nomad Base Station AW Edition.  I thought that charger looked good  and demonstrated a good example of form meeting function. Even though I had no use for the function, I could still appreciate what Nomad was trying to accomplish.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    I am wondering exactly what the challenge was where Apple decided to pull out. 
    Unlike other replies I will supply a reference but likely only Apple will know the exact reason.  AI had an article a while ago 'Apple cancels AirPower wireless charging mat, citing quality issues' Mike Wuerthele Friday, March 29, 2019, 12:21 pm PT (03:21 pm ET) and in that scribe was "The AirPower mat was more than a trio of charging coils, and appeared to utilize a series of cooperative flux generators to charge a device after locating it on the pad in software, which likely led to complications in design and manufacture."
    wonkothesane
  • Reply 15 of 16
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,001member
    Notsofast said:
    I am wondering exactly what the challenge was where Apple decided to pull out. 
    Three devices, instead of two.  Different charge rates, etc.  This device doesn't take on those challenges.   We also don't know about what level of interference and heat this manufacturer found acceptable.  
    Yeah I don't think people understood what AirPower was supposed to do. It wasn't just a standard wireless charger. What Apple was trying to do was really hard...I guess at this point it was hard enough to where it's not possible at the moment. This doesn't mean it's never going to happen, but right now it doesn't appear as if it's going to work. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 16 of 16
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,675member
    maestro64 said:
    I wonder if they settled on 16 coils through a process of elimination.  Started with 22 coils like Apple was rumored to use in AirPower (RIP), and eliminated coils until there was an acceptable level of signal interference and heat generation.  Good on them if they got it to work.  It's still a solution in search of a problem imo.  Random placement could be considered a minor convenience, but it ain't a $140-$180 convenience.
    You are assuming it works, it probably works to some level, but it probably has issue which a company like this thinks is good enough. Apple does not have a history of throwing in the towel and the fact they did in this case probably means there are some issue Apple was not willing to compromise on. Think about it this way, Apple had a limited number of product which they had to make it work with and the control the design on all those items and they gave up. The complexity of products the company has to deal with is much higher so the level of possible issue is also much higher. The question is how far outside the ideal conditions does the charging start having problems.
    I'm not assuming anything.  That's why I said "Good on them if they got it to work."  Curious why you would have an opinion that their charger probably has issues.  Are you basing that on Apple's failure?  If so, that literally makes no sense.  Zen's charger is similar to AirPower, but there's one critical difference, and I (with no proof whatsoever) firmly believe that difference is the reason AirPower failed.  Proprietary Apple Watch charging.  I believe that was Apple's Achille's heel.  Apple was trying to combine standard Qi coils and proprietary AW coils in the same enclosure.  Zen is not doing that.  They are only using standard Qi coils.  An easier task?  Yes, imo.  

    I think Apple could have achieved what Zen did.  Unfortunately, they put themselves in an untenable position when the announced a product that they hadn't successfully built.  A product that could charge standard Qi and their proprietary solution. I also think you're wrong about Apple not having a history of throwing in towel on things.  I'd bet they have a (metaphorical) warehouse filled with abandoned projects.  -1000 no's for every 1 yes amirite? - What Apple doesn't have is a history of announcing products that don't exist yet.   Gambled and lost on that one with AirPower.  I don't think they'll be doing that again anytime soon.
    My comment is based on the fact I have direct experience with charging pads from third parties and Apple products. Yes they work, but as soon as you get a little outside optimal area the charging may or may not work, some devices work a little better than others. I even seen where the phone indicates it is charging but its on the hairy edge and it does not charge. Base on making a pad which has zones all over the pad and allows the device to be place anywhere on the pad you going to have situation which it may not charge.

    We do not know what Apple tossed in the towel, but we know Apple will not knowingly ship a subpar product, They much have found situations which does not Apple devices to charge. We also know other suppliers have its a good enough attitude. 
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