Two years ago at CES, I stopped (rare at CES) to grab a coffee at Starbucks. While sitting there, I noticed these funny rings littering the table top. I initially thought some tech startup hopeful left them behind, but signage soon told me they were ‘Duracell Power Rings’ you could plug into your phone and settle over the table, which would charge your phone wirelessly. Any phone! ‘Neat concept’, I thought. ‘I’d definitely grab one for $5 if I went to Starbucks more’. But for $50? Not a chance.
The idea of going into a Starbucks and grabbing a cheap plastic ring for wireless charging while sipping a latte is a novel concept, and may keep me there a bit longer while my phone or tablet powers up. I don’t really care about that at home, though. I’ve got plenty of lightning and micro USB cables to power my various devices.
I’ve also got way too many battery packs.
The Duracell Power Ring also uses the PMA wireless charging standard, not the more ubiquitous Qi standard. So if you wanted to use this Power Ring elsewhere, good luck.
The Power Ring is great for wasting a morning at Starbucks, but for home — not so much. The coil doesn’t even settle behind the phone, so you also need a pedestal to prop it up. Look at the picture! How goofy. Le sigh.
So far as we can tell, you can’t buy a ring on its own, either. You have to grab the full assembly. There goes ubiquity for Power Rings.
For a simple $5, I’d have slipped a Power Ring in my bag for those times I’m out and about and need to charge up on the go. I’d even find my way to Starbucks more often to do so. For $50, I’ll pass. Battery packs aren’t that heavy, and good options are actually cheaper than this Power Mat/Power Ring duo.