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Tesla Model 3 Wireless Phone Charger Review

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

A decent wireless phone charger with a premium price

If you are like us and tend to use your smartphone heavily throughout the day, you are also likely looking to take every opportunity to top up the charge on your device whenever you can.

For us that usually meant plugging a charging cable into our phone as soon as we got in our Tesla, so we could charge while driving. In recent years, wireless charging smartphones and charging options have become more widely available, so we considered adding this functionality into our Model 3.


PRODUCT OVERVIEW

WHAT IS WIRELESS CHARGING?


Wireless charging is a feature that allows a user to charge a smartphone by simply placing it on a charging mat. While there is a cable plugged into the charging mat to provide power, there is no need to plug any cables directly into the smartphone to charge the device.


To benefit from wireless charging, your smartphone must have wireless charging capabilities. Many popular smartphones are now Qi-enabled (Qi has become the ubiquitous wireless charging standard amongst smartphones) including the latest Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy devices.


The Model 3 Wireless Phone Charger was designed to fit perfectly in the Model 3 centre console. When installed, the device can wirelessly charge up to 2 Qi-enabled smartphones at the same time. Note: This Phone Charger is compatible with Model 3 vehicles built before 6/3/2020.


USING THE PRODUCT

UNBOXING

As with most first party Tesla accessories, the Model 3 Wireless Phone charger comes in a well designed package.


Once you open the box, you will find the following contents:

  • Charging pad with docks for two smartphones

  • Decor bar, which helps keep the phone in place

  • 2 USB cables


INSTALLATION

Installation of the product is very simple and most users will be able to complete in about 5 to 10 minutes. Instructions were not included in box, however, picture instructions are available on product support page on Tesla site.


We tested the product over several months and found there were several things we liked about the product as well as some considerations that any prospective buyer should think about before making purchase commitment.



WHAT WE LIKED

  • Perfect Fit and Build Quality - We had no issues with the product build and the charger fit snugly into the centre console. For the most part, the non-slip surface on the charger usually kept the phone in place while driving. Of course, the fact that the phone is simply resting on the pad and not secured down by anything, it is possible to that there may be movement during more spirited driving

  • Accommodates phones of various sizes with case - Of course, fit will vary by smartphone and case if you use one. We tried smartphones of various sizes and with different cases and had no issues placing any on the charging pad including an iPhone 11 Pro Max with an Otterbox case

  • Reliable charging solution without the hassle of connecting wires - Even after several months of use, there have been no instances of the charger not being engaged when a smartphone was placed on the pad



WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE & OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

  • No charging indicator lights on charger - The only way to confirm whether the charger is working is to view the charging indicator on the smartphone itself. Other competitive wireless chargers have lights to indicate that the unit is actually providing a charge to the smartphone

  • Out of the box, it takes up 2 USB ports in the centre console - You could make one of the USB ports accessible if you purchase a USB splitter, which isn’t included in the box. This won’t matter as much if you don’t have a need for an additional USB port, but we prefer having access to the other port for other USB accessories we use frequently.

  • Slower charging vs. cables - Wireless charging typically takes longer than cable alternatives, with the charger providing 5 watts from each dock. This may be an issue for some users more than others based on personal needs.

  • Expensive vs. Alternatives - The Wireless Phone Charger is priced at $125 USD (at the time of writing) while many similar 3rd party alternatives are now available online at lower prices.


SUMMARY

While there are other competitive options available at cheaper prices, the Model 3 Wireless Phone Charger is a capable solution that will appeal to those who prefer buying first party accessories directly from Tesla.


For those who don’t mind buying 3rd party accessories, there are cheaper options available online with some additional product features that we actually prefer such as charging indicator lights and included USB splitters.


Wireless charging is not essential, but is “a very nice to have”. We use our smartphones frequently and just like our Tesla vehicles, we like to have a decent charge available with our technology throughout the day. This wireless phone charger fit our needs and gave us a good solution to maintaining a charge on our smartphones.


If you have a Qi-enabled smartphone and you find wireless charging to be a useful feature, the Model 3 Wireless Phone Charger is a decent buy.

The Tesla Model 3 Wireless Phone Charger had previously been sold on Tesla Shop for $129 USD. We’re in the process of reviewing some competitive products and will keep you posted on our testing. If you have had an opportunity to try this product out or any similar products, let us know how wireless charging mats are working for you.