Crowdfunding Spotlight: Archon Wireless Charger

By Ryan Whitwam

A wireless charger without the clutter.

We all had a brief flirtation with wireless charging some years ago—Google, Nokia, and a few others equipped their phones with Qi-standard charging. That didn't last long, though. Wireless charging faded away only to come surging back when Apple embraced the technology in 2017. Now, everyone is making wireless charging pads, but they all have the same limitations. That's where Archon comes in. This recently funded Kickstarter campaign turns your desk or table into a wireless charger.

Wireless charging, of course, still involves a wire that connects your pad to the wall. You just don't have to plug anything into your phone. In the early days of wireless charging, the drawbacks overrode the convenience. Sure, you could set your phone down and it would charge, but it did so very slowly. We're talking 5W or less. Today's wireless charging can be faster—some phones can do as much as 15W with the right hardware.

Almost every wireless charger still needs to sit on your desk out in the open. The Archon, however, connects to the underside of your desk or table to charge a phone. You simply have to place your device on the surface over the Archon, and it charges like it's sitting directly on a wireless pad.

Most wireless chargers have a range of a fraction of an inch, so that effectively means the phone needs to be in physical contact. The Archon comes in two versions: one with a range of 25mm and one with a range of 35mm. According to the designers, the standard 25mm variant is fine for most tables and desks, while the enhanced 35mm variant comes in handy if you want to charge your phone on a thicker countertop.

The Archon comes with an adhesive pad and a DC cable. Hiding the cable might be a challenge, but not as much as if the pad were sitting on the top of your desk. It has larger, more powerful charging coils that can energize your phone from further away, and it's not some weird proprietary standard that requires a charging case. It's the same Qi signal that works with iPhones, Samsung, Google, LG, and other OEMs. The greater range means you can also charge your phone if it's in a thick case that would prevent charging on a conventional Qi pad. The designers say the Archon can charge phones at up to 10W, but that depends on your device hardware.

The campaign recently zoomed past its $75,000 goal with several weeks left to go. A single 25mm Archon will run you $69, and the 35mm variant is $89. The projected delivery date is 2019. As with all crowdfunding endeavors, delays are possible. Keep that in mind if you decide to proceed.