Reviewed by David Savage
Over the years I have had a lot of different mobile phones from various manufacturers and they have all had various types of charging cables (why they can’t all use the same type is beyond me). My current phone is a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and has yet another type of charging cable with USB C connectors but it can also be wirelessly charged.
My beside drawers are starting to look a little cluttered with an alarm clock (I don’t use my phone as an alarm like the rest of country), a cordless landline phone (yes, I still do use one), a lamp, a framed picture of my partner and of course a wireless charger for my phone. The wireless charger is great, but like most chargers it isn’t very aesthetically pleasing, although is much better than having a phone charger cable lying around. So if there was a way to disguise the charger while clearing the clutter I was going to try it and Twelve South have a solution – a Qi-certified wireless phone charger disguised as a 5×7” photo frame!
Twelve South have been designing good quality and good-looking stylish accessories for Apple products since 2009 and the PowerPic photo frame cum charger has to be the best-looking wireless charger on the market (at least that I have seen anyway). While I don’t own Apple products, it works with most Qi-compatible phones.
So what is the PowerPic? It is a photo frame (available in a black or white frame) crafted from New Zealand pine and takes a 5×7” photo. But, the cool part is, it also doubles as a phone charger as it has an integrated 10w Qi-certified fast wireless charger that works with most phones, including iPhone (X, XS, XS Max, XR, 8/8 Plus), Google Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy, that can be charged wirelessly.
The PowerPic looks like any standard photo frame and a 5×7” photo can be fitted in the same way as any other photo frame by moving the clips on the back and putting in your photo. What makes this special is that you can place your phone (if capable of wireless charging) on the glass to charge your phone – if you have the frame plugged into a laptop, desktop computer or USB wall socket/plug. A USB C to A cable is supplied (and already fitted) but no power adapter plug is supplied, but if your house is like ours, you will have a few of these around the house. The charger has 10w of power so depending on your power source it can fast charge (my laptop only delivers a slow charge).
On the back of the frame, when charging your phone there is a solid blue LED to let you know that it is charging. If the LED is blinking blue, it indicates a problem. The frame/charger has a built-in safety feature that detects foreign objects. For example, if you placed your phone on the frame with a coin or your debit card the LED blinks to indicate that it has detected a foreign object that will interfere with charging.
Charging the phone is simple, as long as your phone is capable of wireless charging and fits within the frame, just place it on the glass and it will start to charge. If you have a case fitted to your phone, it will still charge as long as the case doesn’t exceed 3mm in thickness.
I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 with a case on, but with the case fitted it makes it too big for the frame (it is suitable for phones that are no bigger, with or without a case, of 6.5” (165mm/16.5cm). With the case removed, it fitted fine and fully charged in approx. 2 hours.
The PowerPic is an excellent charger as it charges the phone very quickly but also blends in with the decor and furniture already in the house, while displaying your favourite photo. It truly is a much more pleasing on the eye phone charger, an excellent way to hide your phone charger in plain sight. It looks and feels good quality and is very sturdy, even when the phone is placed within it.
With Christmas nearly here, this would make a wonderful gift, especially if buying for a loved one as you can add a very special photograph to it and make it something that will always be remembered.
RRP: £89.99 (currently selling on Amazon for £49.99)