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Hands on with Microsoft's next-gen Qi wireless charger the DT-903

When it comes to wireless charging, Nokia can certainly be credited with pushing the useful technology to the masses like no other. Now, in 2014 their next creation, now under Microsoft, is getting ready to grace our desks and countertops. The DT-903 smart wireless charging pad, which still maintains a terrible name, at least makes up for it in features. The DT-903 is unique enough to be called 'smart' and there's a good reason for the designation.

We went hands on with the new DT-903 to show you what it is all about in our latest video. Featuring Qi wireless charging, NFC for 'tap-to-pair' and Bluetooth 4.0, the new Microsoft charger not only gives your Lumia power, but it tells you when you need to charge, or even if you have a missed call or text message.

How it works

The process works like this: Users pair their Lumia to the DT-903 via NFC, which then maintains a Bluetooth 4.0 connection. Whenever a user is in the area of the charger, the DT-903 pings the Lumia for battery information. If it is below 30%, the charging pad "breathes" with a slowly pulsing LED light that emanates from the bottom of the device. Placing the phone the pad results in a constant glow, the color of which matches the pad itself – so green, orange, or white. Visually, it is stunning.

Once your phone is fully charged, the radiance shuts off. Additionally, if you miss a call or text message, the pad can do a quick double pulse to serve as a visual indicator.

Do you want to control it? Users can set the brightness from low to medium to high, or even keep it off at night. Notifications are also optional. In other words, all of the potential annoying things can be disabled at your will, making the DT-903 truly personal.

As far as Qi wireless charging pads, the DT-903 is larger than its predecessors, which is better for devices like the Lumia Icon, Lumia 930 and especially the Lumia 1520, which cover greater areas.

When and how much?

The DT-903 goes on sale in October for 59 Euro / 59 USD. As a fan of wireless charging, I have to admit that the DT-903 caught my eye. It is not just another Qi wireless device, but a well thought out extension of that technology, or to put it another way, it is just damn cool looking and I want one (or three).

The recently announced Lumia 830 and Lumia 735 with replaceable Qi wireless charging covers can take advantage of the DT-903 in addition to other Lumia phones with Qi capability. The Lumia Denim firmware and Windows Phone 8.1.1 are also needed to interact with the advanced features. In the video, we use a Lumia 735 for demonstration purposes.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

219 Comments
  • Notifications, the Bluetooth pairing and battery sync. The charging itself works without Denim.
  • Commenting on your own post, again? It seems others commented before you, you just made it so your comment was on top. Not saying it's bad, but why do many of you guys do this? Not all the time, but sometimes.
  • If someone deletes their post I responded too, well, this is what happens. So no, was not responding to my own post ;)
  • Ah, I see. Lol, my bad. It's funny it does that. Is that because of the new commenting system?
  • -9 votes..... Lol
  • I'm going to cry now. My life has no purpose anymore. :'( People even down voted my apology to Daniel and asked him a question. Really? D:
  • i will up vote u for this comment....    :D
  • Lol, cool. :P
  • If Author = Audience then potential misguiding and inaccurate content.
  • ?
  • What language are you using? Is that '=' an assignment or equality operator?
  • So you was #1? Lol
  • I might stay with Lumia if MSFT releases a high end smartphone before the M8 comes to at&t.
  • Not going to happen.
  • I can't wait to have your latest podcast, please~
  • So where is the DT-903? Still waiting...
  • I've tested my Lumia 920 (OS 8.10.12393.890 & Cyan FW) with the DT-903 and all the features are working: wirelless charging, bluetooth pairing via NFC, battery notification and application notifications. However some application notifications are not working (i.e. calendar or whatsapp), whenever I try to add them to the notification list, the device hub application crashes/exits. I hope this is just due to the "outdated" OS and firmware.
  • I'm gonna be broke if Microsoft keeps up with what they're doing cause damn.
  • I can't even lie, this joint pretty dope though. I want one.
  • Can the 920 work with this as well?
  • Once it gets Denim, yes. I mean, it will charge even without Denim, but for the notifications, etc. it would need that to work fully.
  • The bigger question is whether your carrier, like AT&T, would let you have Qi charging capability at all, Denim or no Denim.  The charging standard issue is becoming a serious problem now that MS and AT&T need to resolve soon.  It is getting ridiculous to put the burdens on consumers to worry about the standard of wireless charging.  We just want wireless charging service at anywhere.  Period. Broadcom came out with a new Multi-Standard chip (BCM59350) in May.  It supports all three major Standards - A4WP, PMA and WPC(Qi).  If MS adopts that chip in the Lumia design, the Lumia phones can be charged on any charging pad at anywhere regardless of the WC standard.  That is the kind of service we want.
  • This!
  • Denim? What about W.P. 8.1 update 1?
  • Denim is the name of windows phone 8.1 update 1
  • No, Denim is the name of the Nokia firmware with GDR1 incluided.
  • No.
  • do you know, whether other apps (like whatsapp etc) would be able to make it "pulse' too?
  • But we all know that next week when Apple announces their phone and iWatch with NFC and Wireless charging, after having dismissed those as pointless, will be credited with having "invented" the features in a revolutionary new way.
  • I can't wait to point all those sheeple here lol
  • Let's not forget that Palm had this idea (having data flow from phone to wireless charger) years ago with their Touchstone 2; albeit with all proprietary technology.  I really miss the nice angle, magnets (for alignment while using on the charger), and Glance-like screen (Exhibition Mode) that the Pre & Touchstone offered. While this is pretty cool since the Nokia's don't have a notification light on them, I really want something that would hold the phone in place while I used it on the charger. (http://www.webosnation.com/touchstone-v2-has-identity-not-nfc)
  • If the new iPhone had Qi then AT&T would have to get on board. Wish it would happen.
  • LOL more likely Apple will take one of the standards, copy that and "create" their own "new standard" based on a copy and market it as the most innovative wireless charging to date... and of course AT&T will adopt it as an additional standard to their PMA.
  • But they invented color in the 5c. I believe!
  • Hahaha. As a matter of fact, apple invented the smart phone and smart watch, right?
  • Should of shown the different color hues in the hands on review, love the hue effects!
  • Charges faster
  • Lol
  • Yeah, seems faster.
  • This looks awesome but I suspect the dealbreaker for my 920 will be Denim firmware. I somehow doubt my sexy red phone will ever get to wear denim.
  • I dunno, I had not heard of any current Lumias not getting it, including 920.
  • Microsoft should also make those firmware updates available on other OEM devices. Like the M8
  • Firmware is very closely tied to the particular hardware components of a device. It's flashed into a phone's ROM rather than simply being loaded into normal phone storage (like the OS), where it could more easily be erased and lost in the event of a crash. Firmware updates are sometimes provided by a company as a way to fix bugs or introduce new functionality. Samsung, not Microsoft, has to create and deploy firmware for their devices, just as Nokia, not Microsoft, did before Microsoft bought the Nokia hardware devision.
  • Not nerdy enough...
    Please, check your information
  • Firmware is specific to the hardware.  It is up to the hardware manufacturer to implement firmware.
  • I'm not from the U.S. so don't take my word for it but isn't the 810 at T-Mobile not getting the Cyan  and probably not Denim either?
  • Sweet! Just hope T-Mobile doesn't lag on Denim like they are lagging on Cyan! Hope they get a new Lumia flagship as well to upgrade to from my L925 (I don't want the M8 for WP).
  • All Lumias will support the Denim Firmware update, the only time that a lumia phone will miss a firmware update is when an 810 happens.
  • What happened with the 810? Wasn't it just a T-Mobile 820 variant?
  • yup, and T-Mo decided it would get no more updates.
  • Coudn't they devise a way to update the 810 by bypassing T-Mobile? I'm sure T-Mobile wouldn't care one way or the other since they've already EOL'd it.
  • The Developer Preview is the best way to go. However, theorethically with the right information and knowhow, you can cook a ROM, but we don't have much of either because security and the 810 is probably unique enough. Although I'd like to see what happens if someone tried to throw a 820 ROM onto that.
  • Not quite so....
  • Microsoft *needs* to make Lumia firmware update an option in Developer Preview. Without that I don't expect to ever see a post-Cyan firmware update on my TMoUS 925.
  • Oh man, only if I could use wireless charging on my 1520
  • why not?  
  • AT&T took the Qi charging capability out.
  • Bastards - I just got my wife the International version of the 1520 for that very reason.
  • You made the right choice to get an RM-937... This will help u out - http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2515453 . It's easy to do, and well worth it. Rgds.
  • Yeah, and the wireless charging back cover is nowhere to be purchased! :(
  • That's ok though, because I prefer the fast charge.
  • I've got RM-937 international version with qi charging and am stunned that the Nokia CP-623 case does not support wireless charging! Nokia really let us down there! I emailed Stephen Elop yesterday to politely suggest they get that sorted and bring to market!!
  • Can you provide Elop's email address?
  • That's freakin sick
  • When it will be available here in middle east?
  • نعم اخوي
  • ممكن تلاقيها في مكتبة جرير على نهاية السنة.
  • ان شاء الله
  • ان شاء الله :)
  • هلاااااا سعــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــودي   Jarir Costly... :P
  • هلا والله! من جد ، جرير غالية بس هم الوحيدين اللي شفت عندهم الشواحن اللاسلكية حقت نوكيا
  • جرير لم تفتح فرع في الطائف :/
  • خسارة :(
  • I hear my 925 could wirelessly charge with a cover or something....... Is it just a case or what?
  • The same as my Lumia 720, I need a back cover to charge my phone
    Install Nokia connect app and see the available accessories for your 925
  • It's not really a case nor a cover. Doesn't add much to the phones size/weight but it does protect it. Looks very natural. 
  • if Apple made the exact same product, people would go crazy for it. perhaps, this is something MS should feature in commercials.
  • That's the truth
  • Exactly. MS needs to show this and the new Lumia's announced today off in commercials and show the world how cool it is!
  • They already did some commercial(s) on it in the UK.
  • Can't wait to have this for my ATT branded 1520...... :\ yeah right.....
  • Same here :(
  • Love how it looks but how dies it affect battery life?
  • Probably very minimal.  It uses Bluetooth 4.0 which is extremely efficient compared to the already low usage of previous versions of Bluetooth.
  • Replaceable back covers may be the key to getting QI on new phones. Especially AT&T.
  • This is what MS should do. Make the backs removable, but leave all the connections (like the 820 and I think the 730?). Then AT&T can continue to give their customers the shaft and include a back without wireless charging, but we can still buy one that has it.
  • Knowing AT&T they will probably gouge it out of the battery and replace it with either PMA or nothing :P.
  • It's attached to the cover. Not the battery. They shouldn't be able to prevent switching the backs.
  • Correct, but the high end models usually don't have removable backs. I hope the next high end model has a removable back like the 830 so that this is possible.
  • Who knows. Maybe this is the new normal for Microsoft.
  • Is this the new Qi standard that can connect at greater distances? Otter box type cases make it a pain to line up to charge
  • No, unfortunately Qi1.2 still under development
  • :'(
  • It can't be that bad, I use a quilted cover on my charge pad that my daughter made for me and it doesn't affect it at all.
  • An otter box adds probably 1/8 inch, it still charges but you have to line it up just right or it will not connect
  • Its slower to connect too. I used to use one on my 920.
  • I'm sure the quilted cover does affect it by reducing the charge speed. But of course it may be worth it to use your daughter's cover!
  • I have a fairly thick case on my phone and it isn't much of a problem. 1st day or two it would connect disconnect, but once you get use to it, it is no problem.
  • Lumia 822 with otterbox case works fine.  MicroUSB port no longer charges on my Lumia 822.
  • Really like it. Will get one as soon as it will become available.
  • Wasn't there supposed to be a case for the 1520 like the 1020 had that allowed for wireless charging?
  • 1520 has a built in capability as the 920 930
  • The AT&T version in the US didn't have it built-in because AT&T was/is trying to push some alternate wireless charging standard to Qi. That said, I think there is a case for it, but I don't know how widely available it is.
  • I have the 1020 and had three orders from AT&T cancelled for the wireless cover. Kept ordering from them because I get a 50% discount on accessories. Finally just gave up trying.
  • So, I gather that Bluetooth will have to be on at all times that they interact; but does NFC and/or Bluetooth need to be on for the pad to be able to detect that the battery is low or to receive notifications?
  • Yes, Bluetooth must be on
    That will kill battery I guess
  • It is called Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy) for a reason. Killing batteries isn't one of them :)
  • So, I was under the impression that LE was referring to the ability to connect to low energy devices (forgive me if that makes no sense, I'm not that techie) as opposed to consuming less battery on the phone. I take from this that that's not the case?
  • No, it's low energy in general. These LE devices are designed to remain connected 24/7, so it has to be low-power on the device too.
  • What happens if you're paired up with a speaker. Can you be paired to both at the same time?
  • Cool, thanks. Do you know if NFC also has to be on, by chance?
  • I'd guess for just the initial sync then you can turn it off for good.
  • Yes. Bluetooth = communication and is needed for battery status and notifications.
  • Yeah, I get that. My concern is more about the role that NFC is going to play in this and, specifically, whether it has to be on?
  • NFC is simply a shortcut for the pairing and to launch an app on tap. After/without that you don't need NFC on.
  • Bluetooth needs to be on for notifications and low battery warnings. Nothing needs to be on for the wireless charging functionality.  The Qi standard is used for the charging, but that isn't something that uses power or would be turned off. NFC is used for initial pairing and probably doesn't have to be on once the charger is paired to the phone.  Bluetooth would be used from that point on.
  • Ah, perfect. Thanks.
  • I'd buy it but I don't have a device that supports Qi wireless charging.
  • It doesn't matter, buy it as a decoration and put it in your bed room :)
  • They make adapters, cases, external USB based coils to hide under a case. Really cheap too.. I think I paid $10 for a S3 coil
  • Where did you find those? I would live a way to hide Qi under my 1020's case!
  • *love, not live
  • "I see my red door and I want it painted black
    No colors anymore I want them to turn black....
    ....I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black
    Yeah!" Hey...I just want it to match my Icon...
  • I just can't imagine how the black light should look like... Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • Probably use (Verizon) red. Blue would look decent, but boring. Also a really muted white could work.
  • First I will get the 930 or 830 then I'll buy this one.
    I'll take it with me everywhere, and show it to anyone I see ;)
    Apple users, defied this
  • I'll look out for this bad boy been thrown in with the 830 here in the UK
  • Looks like this will be the next wireless charger I get. I like how it alerts you to charge :)
  • It would be better if it could do data over Bluetooth.
  • It's a charger. It does emulate notification functions. What data would you want a charger to transfer? From where to where?
  • "The DT-903 smart wireless charging pad, which still maintains a terrible name" Microsoft Screen Sharing for Lumia Phones HD-10 is worse :)
  • No argument there.
  • Of course this couldn't be made compatible with both PMA and Qi standards, you know, since AT&T doesn't like Qi.. *sobs while holding Qi-less 1520*
  • I hope doesn't get buried in the wave of publicity that's about to hit between Apple, Starbucks putting charging stations in their stores, etc. How many non-Nokia (ahem, Microsoft) vendors are behind Qi? FWIW, I own the charging plate and the JBL for my 1020 with a wireless back/"cover"
  • Broadcom came out in May with a new Multi-Standard wireless chanrging chip (BCM59350) for smartphone.  It supports all three major standards that include PMA and WPC(Qi).  It can select automatically the correct Standard that a particular phone adopted.  If a Lumia phone is equipped with that chip, it can be charged on either PMA or Qi charging pad.
  • I like my my DT-901, but this one is so much sexier.
  • Im definitely getting an 830 and this charger in orange.  Just beautiful!
  • I just can't wait for qi 1.2 so I can mount them under my countertops. Don't wanna notch out or chisel my counters or other furniture... I was hoping this was the first 1.2 device...
  • :(
  • Wish it had more color options, or at least a black to go along with the white for neutral. I have a Cyan 920 and my wife has a red 1520 so no love there.  I'd love to get the Green 1520, if it came in the international flavor.
  • Agreed. I feel like there should always be a black option, so as to appeal to the 'norms'.
  • I've got a sexy red 920 so no love there either. I don't care for the new trendy citrus colors. Orange is the New Black? Not.
  • 59€ or $59... These "conversions" always infuriate me.
  • Don't need it thanks to six dt900 wireless charging plates and two dt910 wireless charging stands. Thanks AT&T fo