Today we’re going to delve into the world of wireless device charging with a product review of the Luxa2 TX-200 charging station and the LUXA2 wireless receiver for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The Luxa2 TX-200 is a dual wireless charging station designed to allow users to charge their mobile device without having to physically connect to a charger. The idea is simplicity itself and without doubt points to a near future where adding electrical charge to our devices will be an altogether less tedious task. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 receiver adds wireless charging functionality to a product that does not natively support wireless charging.
The TX-200 supports charging up to three devices simultaneously; two wirelessly charged with one over standard USB. But before we delve deep into the Luxa2 TX-200, let’s take a look at the current state of wireless device charging and the technology standards that are driving it.
Qi: The Wireless Charging Standard
The wireless charging technology that drives the TX-200 is compatible with the current Qi standard. The name Qi is inspired by the Chinese term for air or spiritual flow, pronounced ‘Çhi’. It’s a consortium of that includes most of the big name players including Samsung, Sony, LG, Nokia, Asus, HTC, Huawei and many others. The Qi standard is developed by the Wireless Power Consortium currently the leading the way in the field of standardized inductive power technology.
Although most of the global mobile device manufacturers are members of the Qi consortium, there are actually relatively few Smartphones and Tablets that currently integrate the technology. Current examples of available Qi standard compatible devices include the Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and Nexus 7(II), then there is the Nokia Lumia 920, the LG Spectrum 2 plus windows Phone 8x and Droid DNA from HTC. Several other devices, including Apple iPhone and Samsung products, can enjoy wireless charging using an additional receiver.
One solution that is gaining popularity is through using a Qi standard wireless charging enabled case for your device. A multitude of Qi-compatible cases are currently available on the market, but one other solution is by using a receiver that can be installed inside your device. LUXA2 has four receiver models that are compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4, plus the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and 3. Today we’re looking at the LUXA2 wireless receiver for my current device, the Galaxy Note 2.
The LUXA2 Wireless Receiver for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Each of the four Samsung-capable receiver models from LUXA2 are unique to each Samsung device. This is because the individual design of each device – i.e. the individual placement of the battery in relation to the phone’s external power sensors – requires a bespoke approach from LUXA2. It should be easy enough to make sure you’re getting the right model with clear markings on the upper right corner of the package.
The packaging is pretty simple, containing only the wireless river itself wrapped in cellophane, and a small installation manual that illustrates quite clearly the procedure of installing the device inside the phone. The receiver itself is very thin at only 1.3mm, weighing 8 grams – this is important because this weight will inevitably add to the overall weight of the device, and could potentially added unwanted thickness – both obvious issues when using the alternative ‘wireless charging case’ approach.
To install the device, you first remove the back cover of the Smartphone, then after removing the adhesive strip on the receiver, align the receiver on the battery so that the metal contacts of the phone have good contact with those of the receiver. The adhesive will help hold the receiver in place while you replace the back cover. Note: LUXA2 do not actually recommend that you turn of your device first. Just for curiosity’s sake, I tried the installation again with the phone turned on and off, and yes, I can confirm the process went smoothly.
After you’ve installed the receiver, you may find additional weight to the device, but in fairness, the 8 gram difference is almost imperceptible to device that already packs over 180grams. I’d also argue that the actual thickness of the device also seems unaltered. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 almost seems to have been design with just a touch of breathing space between the battery and back cover. If anything, the back of the phone seems a touch sturdier and more filled out, like it kind of just absorbed the 1.3 millimeters of the receiver. I’d have to say, the LUX2 receiver was also pretty easy to install. My first attempt went without a hitch, and trust me that is not always the case.
LUXA2 TX-200 Dual Wireless Charging Station
Inside the box, you’ll find the charging station, an illustrated setup guide plus a travel power adapter with accompanying UK, US and Euro fittings. The LUXA2 TX-200 has two coils and therefore two stations from which to charge your devices. The TX-200 is pretty light at 188 grams with dimensions of 182mm x 97mm x 14.5mm.
Having covered the means by which the wireless power will be received, let’s now turn out focus to the station that will essentially broadcast the power to the device’s receiver using resonant inductive coupling technology. Induction coils basically create an electromagnetic field allows for a transfer of energy from A to B.
The total electrical input of the TX-200 is 5V3A is the equivalent of the AC draw from three standard Micro-USB chargers. The TX-200 then pumps out 5V1A to each of the three connected devices, one straight to the USB port, the other two to the charging coils or stations indicated by a lightning bolt inside of a circle.
The device has two LED wireless charging indicators. When you first place down your phone, you will hear a beep and the nearest LED indicator will begin to flash. That means charging has commenced. Your phone should also indicate charging activity, depending on your settings.
The LUXA2 TX-200 has performed admirably for us since we first laid hands on it. The price point of approx $90 is fairly competitive with competing products, although to be fair there aren’t too many Dual device chargers on the market at this time. The LUXA2 TX-200 is light enough to be taken on the road, but doesn’t look out of place on the bedside either.
Likewise the Samsung Note 2 wireless charging receiver was really simple to install and worked seamlessly with the TX-200. There aren’t too many ways you can actually upgrade the hardware on your Smartphone, so having the ability to make your device wireless charging compatible is actually pretty damn cool. Plus, it’s a simple $20 investment. What other genuine feature can you add to your phone for twenty bucks?
The only real drawback to these devices are issues that are pretty much applicable to wireless charging in general. I mentioned in the video that I have two cats and I wasn’t kidding when I said that it only takes a slight knock for charging to fail. The phones need to be accurately placed or it’s all bets off. Once you get used to using the station, it is not a problem of course, but if you have pets or children, you have been warned.
There’s also the issue of charging performance. Generally speaking wireless will never compete with direct cabled AC charging because of the inherent latency and inefficiency issues involved. Some devices we charged became slightly warm after prolonged charging sessions which is a clear indicator of inefficiency and wasted energy. The bottom line is, if you want the fastest charge possible, stick with your regular AC wall charger.
Overtime the technology will mature and improve, but for sure, wireless charging is here today and it really works. The LUXA2 TX-200 is a good place to start, and if you own a Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, Note 2 or Note 3, their wireless receiver makes total sense.