Maxell Air Voltage Wireless Charging Set for iPad 2 review
Calling this a 'wireless' charging set requires mild suspension of disbelief, but the Maxell Air Voltage Wireless Charging Set is nevertheless a neat and convenient kit for powering up your iPad 2.
(Officially that's the only model of iPad it works with, although we actually found it worked fine with our third-gen ithird-gen iPad too. Still, to be on the safe side we have to recommend that iPad 3 owners should hold fire until Maxell offers official support for that model, or updates the charging set.)
The Maxell Charging Set comprises a plain black plastic case for your iPad and a matching stand/charger, which is plugged into the mains. (The set is also available in white.) In other words it’s only the transfer of power from stand to iPad that’s wireless: your charger still needs to be tethered to mains power. And the wireless range is effectively zero - the iPad needs to be in physical contact with the charger. That doesn't take away from this being a clever and innovative technological achievement, however.
The Maxell Air Voltage case is sturdy and unobtrusive, if somewhat heavier than the average iPad cover. It’s also a little bulkier at the bottom end because of the power components. The case is robust and should help with knocks and bumps, but be aware that it doesn’t protect the screen (other than the couple of millimetres of hard lip around the edge) and prevents an Apple Smart Cover (or similar screen-shielding flap) from being clipped on to the iPad.
If you're willing to make this your default iPad case – not a massive hardship – then you should find the Maxell Air Voltage's charging setup convenient. Let’s say you arrive at the office with bag in hand. All you need to do is take out your iPad and plonk it on to the stand, and it’ll start charging, while remaining fully accessible for use and syncing (although not at the same time as charging, Maxell warns) thanks to a mini-USB slot in the case and supplied cable.
The stand is fixed at 20 degrees from the vertical so it’s not suitable for typing, but checking emails, viewing videos or simple web pages and looking out for incoming notifications is all fine.
The iPad can sit in landscape or portrait mode, because there are metal charging strips along three sides of the case, and doesn’t need to be lined up accurately when placed on the stand – rough contact should be fine.
Finally, the charging process itself is pleasingly efficient: in tests we found it just as quick as plugging the iPad directly into the mains.
The Maxell Air Voltage Wireless Charging Set is a clever and convenient way of powering up your iPad. It’s quite expensive, however, and bear in mind that you’ll still effectively be tethered to mains power.