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I spent $ 13 on wireless charging to my Android phone

This Qi receiver will be flat in between your phone and case. Presto! Rick Broida / CNET Wireless charging for cheap

Are you suffering from Qi envy?

Sorry, that's just for owners of fancy, high-falutin phones. If you want wireless charging, you'll have to buy new.

Except, no, you won't. I recently spent $ 1

3 for a gizmo that adds wireless charging to almost any Android phone. And you know what? It works! (If you are an iPhone owner, the same option applies: Here's how to add wireless to your iPhone .)

How is that even possible? re not going to have your case open and get crazy with a soldering iron. This is a plug-and-play solution. But, first, let's talk mechanics.

Wireless (aka inductive) phone charging dates back to 2012 and the HTC Droid DNA. Today, you can find the capabilities in a range of models from Motorola and Samsung

But those phones were manufactured with Qi (pronounced "chee") receivers built in.

With a surprisingly simple, inexpensive and effective option: A razor-thin Qi receiver that sticks to the back of your phone. It requires full-time access to the micro-USB or Type-C port, but not the expense of using your own case. Here's the result of my $ 13 experiment.

Is it really just $ 13?

Having tried this already with the aforementioned iPhone, I knew I could find Android-compatible Qi pads for the same price. Amazon has this Nillkin Type C Wireless Charging Receiver for $ 12.99 – one of many virtually identical products that sell under different brand names.

See it at Amazon

it with a Motorola Moto X4 ($ 212 at Amazon) but Nillkin offers Micro-USB versions for the same price. The only real requirement is that your phone's charging port is located at the bottom-center. A smattering of older and / or oddball phones might have it along one side, which wouldn't work.

One thing to note is the length of the ribbon cable. Ultimately, you want the receiver to sit more or less in the center of your phone's backside. I opted for the "small" version of the Qi receiver, which was a perfect fit for the 5.2-inch Moto X4. I think only phablet owners would need a "large."

Any problems with it

The receiver is barely thicker than a sheet of paper, so it adds no noticeable bulk or weight. It's designed to sit between your phone and your case, though there is a small 3M adhesive in the center of the pad if you typically go without a case. (I don't recommend this because it's too easy to get caught on something and ripped loose. Plus, it's not really a great look.)

Speaking of cases, if you chose a clear one in order to maintain the aesthetic of your phone, obviously you're going to see the path. And if it's an ultra-thin case, the slight bulge might prevent it from fitting properly.

I tested it with a black spigen case, one I would describe as "medium thick." Charging worked as advertised – The phone down on a Qi pad – and the receiver didn't interfere with the case

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One thing to consider – and this is true for any phone that uses wireless charging – if you use a magnetic car mount, the mounting plate will likely get in the way of the receiver. (Similarly, most phone-grippers, like the PopSocket or Spigen ring, will prevent your phone from laying flat, which is necessary for charging.)

Beyond that, there's only one real issue: It's difficult to remove the receiver's connector without first removing the case. How often will you need to do that? Depends on how often you find yourself needing to charge via conventional cable. If you deploy Qi pads / stands on your desk, nightstand, dashboard, it may not be an issue at all.

My experience with the Nillkin Qi pad and Moto X4: Very good. Your mileage may vary, of course, depending on the receiver you buy, the case you have, you use and so on.

But for just $ 13 or so (plus the cost of at least one path), this

Originally published on Jan. 10, 2018.
Update, Jan. 7: Added new information

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