One of the more convenient features of many of the Lumia Windows Phones is the Qi wireless charging. Whether you are fortunate enough to have Qi built into your Lumia Windows Phone or rely on the wireless charging covers, the technology offers a simple means to re-charging your phone.
Nokia has added the technology to their CR-200/201 car cradle and iOttie has followed suit with their Easy Flex Qi Car Charger. The iOttie Qi charger is designed similar to the company's Easy Flex 2 and One Touch car cradles with an easy one touch mounting system.
While the iOttie Easy Flex Qi is priced less than the Nokia, one small feature may negate any savings the wireless charging cradle may offer.
The iOttie Easy Flex Qi Car Charger's cradle is your typical pinch/hold style smartphone cradle. It has an adjustable base that will help support the Windows Phone in place and two spring-loaded side arms that pinches the phone into place. A trigger button sits on the face of the cradle that, when pressed by the Windows Phone, will trigger the side arms of the cradle.
The cradle will accommodate phones that range in width from 2.5 inches to 3.3 inches. The Lumia 1020, 925 and 920 easily fit between the cradles arms. Keep in mind you'll need a charging cover for the 1020 and 925 to take advantage of the Qi charging. I don't have a Lumia 1520 handy but based on the measurement alone, it should fit.
To remove the Windows Phone you will need to pull the cradles arms apart until they click back into their open position. Removal is a two handed operation and the more I tinker with car cradles, the more I believe the design of the Nokia cradles works the best. While I like the one-touch mounting system, I would rather manually pinch the side arms to hold the phone into place and have a one-touch removal system. It's not difficult to remove your Windows Phone from the iOttie but it will take a little time to get used to the design.
The cradle is fitted to the mounting base by a ball joint that allows you to pivot the cradle to a slight angle. The cradle itself rotates 180 degrees and combined with the ball joint, the Easy Flex Qi is somewhat flexible.
The suction cup mount has the pressure lever to help create a solid seal. The suction cup is made of spongy, sticky rubber that helps create an airtight seal on most surfaces. The iOttie worked fantastic on smooth surfaces such as a windshield and textured surfaces such as the car dash.
At the base of the cradle you will find a micro-USB charging port where you can attach the car charger plug. The charging plug lacks the USB accessory port that we are seeing more chargers come equipped with but the cord is long enough to accommodate most cradle placement locations.
Charging worked fine with the Lumia models I have that are fitted with charging covers and the Lumia 920 that has built in Qi charging. An LED is present to confirm charging status.
Fit and feel
The iOttie mounted firmly to both the dash and windshield of my car. The Windows Phone rode nicely in either the vertical or the horizontal orientation.
The biggest drawback of the iOttie is that with Lumia Windows Phones such as the Lumia 925 and 1020 the bottom quarter of the power button is depressed by the side arms. Closing the arms down on the power button wasn't enough to turn off the phone but did make it difficult to access the power button.
Lowering the cradle's base pad wasn't an option because the arms are too wide to fit in between the power and volume buttons on the Lumia Windows Phones.
I really wanted to like the iOttie Easy Flex Qi Charger. The construction was solid, the cradle looked good and Qi charging is so nice. The iOttie is priced about $30 less than the Nokia CR-200/201 and saving a little money is always nice.
I wasn't a big fan of having to use both hands to remove the Windows Phone from the iOttie Easy Flex but having Qi charging balanced things out. The biggest issue was the placement of the side arms over just enough of the power button to be of concern. All iOttie would need to do is lower the arms just a smidgen and the fit would be ideal.
You could probably trim the padding on the side arm a touch but I'm afraid that would create an imbalanced hold. There's also the option of adding about 1/4 inch of padding on the cradles base to raise the phone but again, I'm worried that might weaken the secure hold.
All in all, the iOttie Easy Flex Qi Charger is a nice, attractively priced car cradle and if you can live with the power button being slightly pressed, it's an option worth considering. Otherwise, the best option for a Qi car cradle will likely be the Nokia CR-200/201. Which isn't a bad thing, just a slightly more costly thing.
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