Omnia Brings Wireless Car Charging to the iPhone 7 and 6 [Review]

September 26, 2017

1:45 pm

Early this month Apple announced two new iPhones, the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. One of the biggest changes besides to the design on both was the addition of wireless charging using QI technology. With the addition of wireless charging you’d simply place your phone on a charging pad and it would start to charge, and some even support fast charging. For those of us with the current generation of iPhones, we are left to the general wonky, and often fraying lightning cables. Woe is us.

Bezalel, an LA based company, decided to fight this first world problem with the launch of the Omnia wireless car charger. Just as the new iPhones have, the Omnia uses QI technology to let you charge your iPhone 6 and iPhone 7, but you must use a special cover for it to work. The company also has QI enabled wireless charging devices for the home and on the go (backup battery style).

I put the Omnia to task using Bezalel’s Latitude cover for the iPhone 7, using it during commutes and on a short road trip in my Prius 3. How did their backwards compatibility hack work out? Let’s dig in.

Features and Functionality

Bezalel is no stranger to wireless charging, and for years they have been offering QI based technology in some form for both Apple and Android devices. With the Omnia, they are simply adding backwards compatibility to both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6 (also the plus versions), and all you need is a phone specific cover. With the cover on your phone, you press it to the Omnia wireless car charger, and it starts to charge. It’s just that simple. We’ll dig into the design in a moment, but the Omnia uses a USB-C to cigarette port to get the power flowing, but other than that there is not much you need to know.

Unless you’re a bit of a road warrior or Uber/Lyft driver, this may not be the most appealing thing to you. However, Bezalel also has a full suite of hardware to let you continue wirelessly charging regardless of being in your car, home, or on the go.

Overall the ability to have a proper handsfree and minimal charger in the car is nice, but unless you’re going to buy their other charging pads or are constantly on the go, this may not add much value.

Design

omnia on vent

We are going to try something a little different with this one, and in an effort to make it work I bribed some friends with the chance to obtain the charger in return for their feedback. In what I’m dubbing The Audience, I posed a simple question based on what people can see, Omnia’s design, and asked for quick bits of feedback through Snapchat. Here’s what they had to say:

As for me, having the hands on experience with Omnia obviously is a bit different from visually seeing it. There are a few components worth focusing on for this, and that is device compatibility, the cover, and if the phone can handle my asshole driving (I’m in a Prius it isn’t that bad).

Omnia Compatibility

For the Omnia to stay on your car it hangs on to your air vent. Car air vents come in many forms and the Prius in particular has fat vents. Because of this it doesn’t completely latch on. However with thinner air vents it will be a bit more stable. That said the Omnia only let go of the vent after I hit a pothole, so that’s pretty decent considering the placement.

Latitude Cover

omnia cover

The cover for the iPhone 7 Plus is thin, but certainly does a decent job of protecting the sides and back of the phone. The one slightly concerning component is the most important part, the built in lighting cable. It stays in well, and at first look you’d think it may be a bit annoying in your pocket. Visually, yes, that is a bit odd. It’s also relatively low profile and really didn’t end up getting in the way.

Magnetic hold

Now I’m not much for speeding, but around Charleston we have a lot of people that like to ride in he left lane going 15 under. I’ll leave the details at that, but with a slightly unstable Omnia mount and an oversized phone you’d wonder if the phone may launch off the pad. In a parking lot I did a few sharp turns and it staid on the entire time. The only time it let go was on the same pothole from earlier. Consider me impressed.

Overall the design of the Omnia may not be ideal for all cars due to vent sizing; however it worked well. You’ll obviously have a small USB cable crawling down your dash and center council, but otherwise I dig this thing.

Pros and Cons

Highs
  • Works great
  • Priced well
Lows
  • The dingleberry dongle on the case

Overall Thoughts

Omnia in car

Should you buy the Omnia wireless car charger? If you don’t have fat car vents and want to add a bit more convenience to your commute and road trips, certainly. It chargers iPhones just like your standard lightning cable does, has a minimal design, and the phone cover doesn’t look too shabby either.  The associated cover you need will also work with Bezalel’s non car charger too, so if you’re going for wireless, they have the set.

Price: $60 + $60 for the required case

Where to buy: Amazon, Bezalel

Read more Gear and Gadget reviews by Elliot at TechCo 

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Elliot is an award winning journalist deeply ingrained in the startup world and is often digging into emerging technology and data. When not writing, he's likely either running or training for a triathlon. You can contact him by email at elliot(@)elliotvolkman.com or follow him on Twitter @thejournalizer.

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