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Nexus 4 Wireless Charging: Qi Isn’t a Standard (Video)

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The Nexus 4 feature built-in wireless charging that should work with all Qi compatible wireless chargers, but the Qi standard doesn’t mean things just work.

The Nexus 4 wireless charging Orb from Google looks beautiful, and is designed to work with the Nexus 4, but there;s no sign of a release date or price, so we’ve been looking for a wireless charger we can use today.

Our first choice was an LG wireless charger, but Verizon sold out of this model so we settled on the Lumia 920 wireless charger from Nokia. This charger uses the Qi standard, which should work on the Nexus 4 even though the LG makes the phone, not Nokia.

The idea behind Qi is simple: all devices with the Qi logo will work with all Qi chargers. – Wireless Power Consortium

This is a simple idea, and one we can get behind, but it’s far from the reality when it comes to the current generation of Qi chargers. As the video below shows, the Qi charger from Nokia won’t charge the Nexus 4.

We tried the Nexus 4 on the Nokia Qi wireless charger in multiple positions, centering, off-centering, lightly setting in place, holding to the charger firmly, but no combination could force the two to work. The Nexus 4 alternates quickly between charging and not charging as long as it is on the Qi charger from Nokia. If left for more than 5 minutes the back of the phone gets very hot. The video shows the Nexus 4 bumper in place, but the charger does not work with it removed either.

Read: Nexus 4 Wireless Chargers

For a company that wants to, “do to wireless charging what Wi-Fi did to wireless networks,” it definitely has a lot of work left to do. The vision for a future where wireless charging is everywhere, relies on the ability to put any phone with the standard down on any Qi charger and charge, but until manufacturers are all on the same page wireless charging is anything but universal.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

21 Comments

  1. whydidnt

    12/14/2012 at 9:24 am

    Strange stuff. I bought a wireless pad from Verizon the same time I got the Droid Bionic and it works fine with my Nexus 4. Wonder what is different about the Nokia pad compared to the one I have. The one I’m using does have the QI logo.

  2. wireless charging

    12/14/2012 at 9:35 pm

    Certified Qi phones and chargers are all compatible. Interoperability testing is part of that standard. Nokia DT-900 Qi charger is working . Nexus 4 has implemented wireless charging poorly and the haven’t passed Qi certification. Thus Nexus is not Qi compatible. Go and check yourself all Qi certified devices from Qi standardization web at http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/products/

    • peevee

      02/11/2013 at 5:34 am

      It is listed, see LG-E960 from January 17th.
      When you click on the link, here it is:
      http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/products/details/210/mobile-phone

      • Ras

        02/11/2013 at 5:37 am

        It is indeed listed on the WPC website, but you should note that the listing specifies Europe and more importantly HW Rev 12. At the time of the certification, no Rev 12 devices were available to users. Everyone (inc. all those who found that their Nexus 4 device did not work with some Qi certified chargers) had Rev 10 or 11. The different in HW Rev apparently is significant.

  3. ex Nexus owner

    12/14/2012 at 9:48 pm

    You are right. Nexus 4 is not listed there! That is the reason they are not selling the Nexus Orb yet anywhere. That isn’t listed in wireless power consortium web. All Nokia devices are certified and registered there. Nokia must be doing something better. I will switch my phone to Nokia Lumia.

  4. Moshe Raines (@mraines)

    12/17/2012 at 2:00 am

    This a classical problem for a device maker working on a secretive iconic device… Wanted to add wireless power, but couldn’t expose it’s secretive device through certification … Enter WiCC a removable solution that let device makers seamlsly add wireless power after manufacturing ,and also let you have a transition path for future technologies by adopting a “license free”socket for an interoperable wireless power technology.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhiIQPv09Qk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Disclaimer: the commenter is a board member of the PMA 

  5. Uhnnohn

    12/25/2012 at 6:43 pm

    You are reviewing two products, the phone and the Nokia Qi wireless charger
    Yet your conclusion it that the phone that is at fault?
    My Nexus 4 works wonderfully with my Energizer Qi charger

    • Bruce

      01/06/2013 at 7:27 pm

      Energizer Qi charger works perfectly for me as well.

  6. Terry

    12/31/2012 at 6:56 am

    From that QI website it seems there are two versions of QI chargers: Low power and Medium power. Possibly the Nexus 4 is medium power and that’s why the Nokia charger doesn’t work?

    • Terry

      12/31/2012 at 7:08 am

      Well nevermind that idea, the Energizer chargers are in the low bracket as well…

  7. josh

    01/06/2013 at 9:00 pm

    The issue here is the Charger, not your phone. You would have failed science class for this poor demonstration of experimentation

    • Brian

      01/15/2013 at 8:33 am

      Except it’s not.

      The Nokia DT-900 is Qi certified. It works with all Qi certified products. I use it with my HTC Droid DNA and it works flawlessly.

      The Nexus 4 is NOT Qi certified. Neither is it’s charger. It’s completely the phone’s fault. How could you even attempt to argue otherwise?

  8. DS (@BLACKHAL0)

    01/15/2013 at 4:02 pm

    Tried my N4 on a friends Nokia charger and it worked fine.

  9. Ras

    01/17/2013 at 8:38 am

    Nexus 4 now listed on the Wireless Power Consortium site as a low power receiver. With the DT-900 specified as a low power transmitter, in theory, there they should work OK together. The listing shows HW rev 12. Is there any way of checking out what HW rev applies to a particular Nexus handset?

    http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/products/details/210/mobile-phone

  10. Mrwilliematt

    02/02/2013 at 8:03 am

    You can check your how revision by powering on your phone holding the power and volume down buttons. Mine is a rev 10 and I don’t believe anything above rev 11 has been seen in the wild yet

  11. bob

    02/08/2013 at 4:24 pm

    What a misleading, uninformed title.

    A device that did not meet the standards well enough doesn’t mean the standard is not a standard, just like how a building not meeting safety standards doesn’t nullify the standards themselves.

    Qi is an open standard. Nexus 4 didn’t meet that standard. The standard is still a standard.

  12. Pocholo Ocampo Molina

    02/10/2013 at 8:42 am

    it actually is listed in http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/products/

    it is listed as LG e960 :)

    • peevee

      02/11/2013 at 5:36 am

      But it was not listed at the time the article was written. Maybe early phones had this part broken, and that caused the dalay, but most probably just certification takes some time.

  13. Moonsoo Choi

    03/21/2013 at 5:08 am

    Owlpad is compatibile with Nokia lumia 920, HTC DNA, Nexus 4. There are some other means to solve the imcompatibility of Qi standard.

  14. Andre Braham

    06/06/2013 at 6:29 am

    The issue is not the Qi standard but the build of the N4′s case. The glass back causes it to move ever so slightly throwing off the charging. If you rubberized either the phone (via a case) or the charger to counteract this, the charge works perfectly.

    More research should be done before making claims like these, including contacting both manufacturers.

  15. PacoBell

    08/19/2013 at 5:56 am

    Debunked.

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