Wireless charging is about convenience and nothing else. It’s about not having to find the charging cable and not having to make sure you’re plugging the cable in the right way (though USB Type-C does solve this). It’s about your mobile device having its own little happy place on your desk or in your car where it lives and gets charged cable-free.
Wireless charging isn’t fast, it’s not cheap, and not many phones have the feature built-in. There are ways to make your phone wireless charging capable, but that may ruin the convenience of the experience in the first place. So what I’m trying to say is, wireless charging isn’t for everyone. But I love it and I want more of it.
I’ve reviewed one other Qi wireless charging car mount here on Android and Me, the TYLT VU Wireless Charging Car Mount. When I first reviewed it, I wasn’t terribly excited about the in-car wireless charging experience, but that changed when I changed devices. The experience changed so much that I wrote a follow-up review. Today I’m reviewing another in-car wireless charging device, the Montar Air Qi Car Mount by WinnerGear, the same company that introduced the world to reversible micro-USB. Spoiler alert: I like the Montar Air better than the TYLT unit in almost every way.
The Montar Air has a pretty standard car mount design with a suction cup base (apparently their suction cup technology is patented) that you can stick wherever you want. It comes with a 3M film that you can tape anywhere in your car, and the base will suction nicely to it the off chance that you don’t already have an ideal surface to stick it to. It has a mount that swivels and has grips to squeeze your mobile device — displays up to 6 inches are supported — and hold it tightly in place. The Montar Air also has adjustable feet so you can easily position your phone in the right place to wirelessly charge. The mount uses a micro-USB cable to power the Qi wireless charger.
Here’s what I like about the Montar Air compared to the TYLT VU:
- The size. The Montar Air is a bit less bulky than the TYLT VU and takes up less space in your windshield. That space could be useful.
- It grips better and easier. It’s easier to get a good grip on your device with the Montar Air than it is with the TYLT VU. My device has slipped out of the TYLT VU on occasion, but I have no concerns with that happening when I use the Montar Air.
- The release mechanism is faster. For some odd reason, the TYLT VU has a slow release mechanism so you need to wait (probably only a second) to pull your device out. The Montar Air release just pops open.
- The Montar Air uses microUSB to power the Qi charger, but the TYLT VU doesn’t. So if your friend’s Android phone isn’t as cool as yours and doesn’t have wirless charging, they’re not out of luck; just unplug the Montar Air and charge away. The Montar Air feet even have a gap in them so devices can easily receive wired power. With the TYLT VU, you’d need a seperate microUSB cable to help your friend out.
- 2 Amp fast charging. The Montar Air is compatible with all Qi-supported devices, but the Montar Air also supports fast wireless charging. So if you’re lucky enough to have one of the few currently supported fast wireless charging devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ or Note 5, this could be the bees knees for you.
I like the Montar Air over the TYLT VU car mount in almost every respect. The one feature that I do prefer on the TYLT VU charger is the charging adapter. The Montar Air’s adapter looks like a cheap $0.99 eBay special car charger. It also lights up with a fairly bright blue light that I wish was a little more dim. Meanwhile, the TYLT’s charger has a clean, crisp design with a built-in USB port so that you can still charge your friend’s device as long as you have a cable with you. Everything else about the Montar Air’s design is great, but the charger seems a bit out of place and feels like an afterthought. That said, the Montar Air does use microUSB, so you might be able to replace the charging adapter with a different microUSB car charger, but I don’t know how that will affect the charging speeds.
How does the Montar Air stack up against the TYLT VU in regards to charging performance? Again, the Montar Air supports fast wireless charging, but I was not able to test it because I do not have a fast charging capable device in hand. However, we can still compare how it performs on my Nexus 6 with the TYLT VU with standard wireless charging in the car.
As you can see in the plot to the right, there are two different times of the day when I use my car charger: on my commutes to and from work. It’s been dark in the mornings, so I use Google Maps (so the display is always on), and I’ve been streaming audio books. On the commute home it’s bright out (so screen auto-brightness is up and Google Maps is in day mode), I have Google Maps running, and I’m typically on the phone. Going to work, the TYLT managed to charge my phone at a rate of 0.05% per minute, while the Montar Air only managed to help my Nexus 6 discharge less slowly at -0.11% per minute (yes, it’s discharging while being charged). On the commute home, the TYLT once again barely won with a discharge rate of -0.15% versus -0.21% per minute on the Montar Air.
So the TYLT VU barely ekes out a win with charging performance versus the Montar Air. As a disclaimer, these values are not averages over several different tests, but single tests. So the results maybe be different on different days and the performance of the TYLT VU and Montar Air may not be statistically different. What this test really demonstrates is how lame the current generation of wireless charging hardware is. If you plan to use your phone while you’re in the car, don’t count on your phone gaining much charge much. More likely is that your phone will discharge less slowly than it would if you weren’t using a charger at all. Your experience may vary depending on your device and how you use it in the car.
Additionally, as previously stated, the Montar Air is fast wireless charging capable. So if you have a compatible device, your experience may be vastly improved over mine.
If you want to see what kind of charging rates wired chargers can get you under the same conditions, check out this review.
The Bottom Line
Wireless charging is about convenience. Therefore, even though my Nexus 6 still loses charge while wirelessly charging during my commutes, I’m not trading the wireless charger out for a wired one. I’ll keep a wired charger around for if I need it, but I rarely do. And if you’re wondering, I’m planning on sticking with the Montar Air over the TYLT VU. I just like the Montar Air a bit better, and the performance difference really isn’t significant.
The Montar Air can be picked up at winnergear.com for the price of $79.99, Amazon US for $59.99, or Amazon UK for £44.99 at the time of writing this post. $59.99 is a bit cheaper than what the TYLT VU Wireless Charging Car Mount is currently being offered for on Amazon. There are cheaper wireless charging car mounts out there, but we haven’t had the opportunity to review them. I’m definitely impressed with the design and functionality of the Montar Air, and it does come with a two-year warranty. I would recommend it if you’re in the market for a wireless charging car mount.
What are your thoughts on wireless chargers? And more specifically wireless charging in the car? Be sure to let us know if you have any questions about the Montar Air commenting below.