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January 25, 2018

Grovemade Wireless Charging Pad review

by John_A

Relying on organic materials like American walnut and vegetable-tanned leather, Grovemade’s accessories are both stunning and understated. The company is known for its wooden iPhone chargers, monitor and laptop stands, and other accessories for electronic devices. That makes its latest product a natural follow up: A wireless charging pad for smartphones. In our Grovemade Wireless Charging Pad review, we take a look at whether the circular puck is worth its hefty price tag.

The pad supports the Qi wireless charging standard, which means it can charge the latest iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus, as well as a wide variety of Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, Note 8, and the LG V30. All you need to do is place your phone down, and it will start charging.

Blends into your home

Unlike most wireless charging pads, Grovemade’s pad doesn’t look like a tech product. At a first glance, the natural cork top reminds us of a coaster placed under a mug or cup. It quickly blends into the home, and if you look closely, it’s easy to see how the company sweats over the details.

Steven Winkelman/Digital Trends

Steven Winkelman/Digital Trends

Steven Winkelman/Digital Trends

Steven Winkelman/Digital Trends

Steven Winkelman/Digital Trends

Instead of opting for a glossy base, the company went with a brushed stainless steel finish. We think it’s  attractive, and it’s less likely to show nicks and scratches. The natural cork top is completely flat, creating a beautiful and slip-resistant surface for your phone. We especially like its size, providing enough space that you don’t need to double check you’re placing the phone in the correct spot.

The cork top comes in both a light and dark option, with the latter being hand-stained with Japanese Sumi calligraphy ink. Though we tested the light option, we think the dark would be even more subtle, and it likely won’t show minor blemishes as easily as the natural cork color.

The dark option is hand-stained with Japanese Sumi calligraphy ink.

If you flip the pad over, you’ll see three cork pads on the base to prevent slips. It keeps the pad in place when you place your phone down. There’s also a circular gap under the base so you can wrap the six foot-long cord that attaches to the wall outlet, allowing you to choose your desired cord length.

Oddly enough, the cord itself doesn’t try to blend with your furniture. It’s a thick, nylon-wrapped cord in a very vibrant red. It’s a nice accent for the pad, but it may be a little too flashy for some.

Charge output is disappointing

While the aesthetics of the Grovemade Wireless Charging Pad is spot on, the charging speed is puzzling given the price of the pad. Instead of opting for 7.5 or 10 watts of output, Grovemade’s pad has a paltry 5W output. That means your phone won’t charge as fast as it can wirelessly.

Although the pad is marketed for iPhone users, we tested it with both an iPhone 8 Plus and a Samsung Galaxy S8. We tested to see how long it would take to charge a depleted battery to 50 percent.

The iPhone 8 Plus took about two hours and twenty minutes to charge to 50 percent. The phone did not heat up much as it charged. The Galaxy S8 took about two hours and five minutes to charge to 50 percent. This result is a little surprising since the S8 has a bigger battery than the iPhone 8 Plus. With the Galaxy S8, however, we did notice the phone heated a little.

Design is a priority

The point of wireless charging is convenience. You can place your phone on a pad beside your bed, without having to fuss with cables in the dark, or you place it by your computer, so it’s constantly charging up when you’re not using it. How the charger looks may be a bigger priority for some, and if that’s the case, the $79 Grovemade pad is easily the most attractive wireless charger on the market. But if you want something that will top up your phone faster at a cheaper price, there are plenty of other options.

The Nomad Wireless Charging Hub is an excellent alternative, with an output of 7.5W. That means your iPhone will charge faster, and better yet, it comes with 3 additional USB-A ports, and one USB-C port, so you can charge multiple devices. It doesn’t look as attractive, but the $80 Nomad is far more about utility than style.

The absolute fastest charger we’ve tested for the iPhone is the 10W RAVPower Alpha Series Fast Charge Wireless Charging Pad, which costs $45. It’s also a great choice for Android phones that support wireless charging. Mophie and Belkin also have cheaper options over the Grovemade, and they also will charge your phone slightly faster. You can check out our guide to the best wireless phone chargers for more.

If the natural cork pad is appealing to you, then you won’t be dissatisfied with the Grovemade Wireless Charging Pad.

DT Editors’ Rating: 3/5

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Grovemade unveils a beautiful new Wireless Charging Pad
  • Charge up your iPhone or Android with the best wireless phone chargers
  • From Belkin to iOttie, these are the best wireless chargers at CES 2018
  • Apple iPhone 8 review
  • Apple iPhone X review

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