Zens is expanding its excellent alternative to the failing Apple AirPower Charger, Liberty Wireless Chargerwith a new model: the Liberty Compact Charger – which, as the name suggests, is designed to be integrated directly into your desk itself for a more streamlined look.
The original Zens Liberty charger was released in 2020 and introduced an innovative 16-coil design that allowed you to simply place a Qi-compatible phone or device anywhere on the wireless charging pad instead of having to carefully align the charging coils or relying on a MagSafe-style magnetic system.
But the original model sat rather boring on top from your desk, while the new Liberty Compact Charger is designed to be integrated directly into your nightstand or desktop for a more seamless design. It also adds an additional 30W USB-C charging port, allowing you to connect your phone or tablet directly for faster charging.
Zens Built-in is probably geared more towards companies to buy in bulk and integrate into office machines rather than individual customers buying and detaching from their nightstands in order to have a slightly nicer shipping setup, although there’s nothing stopping you from buying one and trying it out. On your own (apart from carpentry tools and experience needed, anyway).
The biggest problem with the new compact model—aside from the carpentry skills needed to actually integrate it into an office—is that none of the chargers so far strong enough. Instead of wirelessly charging two devices at up to 15W each, like the original Liberty charger, the compact model excels at 10W each (likely due to the fact that the charger has to share power with the additional USB-C port). And while a built-in USB-C charger ambitiously appears to charge a laptop in the Zens promotional photo, 30 watts isn’t just enough for most modern USB-C laptops.
This is especially true given the price: the Zens’ built-in model starts at €249.99 (about $284) for the plain white model, while the more interesting glass model costs €279.99 (about $318). That’s a significant price increase over the original desktop model, which costs $169 in the US for the regular version and $199 for the glass model.
However, even with those caveats, the new compact Zens Liberty is an attractive-looking evolution of the original design. And while I’m not likely to be taking apart my Ikea nightstand anytime soon to try adding an integrated wireless charger to it, I can certainly understand the appeal.
The Zens Liberty Compact Wireless Charger will be available in March.
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