GeekDad Review: OtterSpot Wireless Charging System by OtterBox

You probably know OtterBox as a company that makes popular protective smartphone cases like the Defender. It also makes some pretty nice coolers (check out the Trooper 20 in my 2018 camping gear roundup). And recently, OtterBox introduced a new offering that lines up pretty well with those smartphone cases: the OtterSpot Wireless Charging System.

OtterSpot Wireless Charging System

With OtterSpot you can have three portable batteries and a smartphone all wirelessly charging at once—and all in a single stack. (Photo by Brad Moon)

The OtterSpot Wireless Charging System is truly a “system.” The idea behind it is to unify your smartphone (or other Qi-compatible devices) wireless charging with the charging of a portable battery pack.

The portable batteries are discs roughly 4.5-inches across and about 1/2-inch thick. They are black polycarbonate and feel pretty tough. They’re equipped with a 5,000 mAh capacity Lithium-Ion battery, which was enough to fully charge my iPhone XS Max about one and a half times. Each battery has a Qi wireless charge pad on its top and a USB-C port for wired charging. They operate by the usual “push the button” method to start charging, and four white LED lights indicate remaining battery power. Synthetic rubber bumpers on top and bottom keep the OtterSpot battery from moving and protect devices that are placed on the Qi pad.

Batteries on either side of the OtterSpot charging base. (Photo by Brad Moon)

So far, everything sounds pretty familiar. However, each battery has a connector on the top and bottom. The connector allows the batteries to be stacked on top of a charge base, with the charge base wirelessly charging up to three of the batteries simultaneously, along with a single device stacked on top. Everything is guided by magnets, so you don’t need to worry about lining pins up, and it works exactly as advertised. With a full system set up, you have a thin disc base with a 4.5-inch diameter plugged into an adapter via USB-C, with up to three external batteries stacked neatly on top, and your smartphone on top of the pile—all charging.

It’s worth noting that the USB-C port on the batteries is two-way. So if you forget the charge base, you can still recharge an OtterSpot battery with a phone charger and (included) USB-C cable.

What’s Included (And What Costs Extra)

The OtterSpot Wireless Charging System comes in a box with the 36W fast-charge base (it’s not a battery), one portable battery, a 3.9-foot USB-C cable, and a 36W USB-C wall adapter. Additional batteries are available at $69.95 a pop.

At $129.95 (plus more for additional batteries), it’s not cheap—you can pick up a 5,000 mAh portable battery for $25 and a Qi charge base for about the same—but you’re paying a premium for a system where everything works together, keeping those external batteries in one place, and eliminating extra wires. The OtterBox name and reputation for quality products come into play as well…

Hands-On

The black plastic OtterSpot charge base is fairly utilitarian in appearance. There’s no leather or wood trim here. That being said, it’s quite compact—although that does mean one smartphone at a time for wireless charging. And there is no physical connection option on the base itself, QI wireless only.

The OtterSpot batteries are reasonably compact. As a disc, they cover more surface area than a traditional “candy bar” style battery but still slip into a pocket easily. And as mentioned, one has the capacity to fully charge a smartphone from empty one to two times. Unlike the base, you can use USB-C out to physically charge a device. As a 10W high-speed charger, it gets the job done pretty quickly, and I found the batteries themselves fully charged in an hour or two on the base.

It’s the base—the Wireless Charging System—that really makes it, though. Having three portable battery packs and a smartphone securely stacked up in on a base with a 4.5-inch diameter, plugged into a single cable, frees up a lot of desk space. It also eliminates multiple charge cables and makes it a lot easier to ensure your external battery packs are always charged and ready to go.

Recommendation

Each battery is 5,000 mAh capacity and supports both Qi wireless and USB-C charging. (Photo by Brad Moon)

If you only use a power bank on rare occasions, or your smartphone requires a physical connector to charge, then the OtterSpot system probably isn’t the best bet. But for those with Q1 wireless chargeable smartphones—and especially power users of portable battery packs—the expandable OtterSpot Wireless Charging System is a pretty cool option. And one that should tidy up your charging area…

Disclosure: OtterBox provided an OtterSpot Wireless Charging System for evaluation but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate, I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.

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This post was last modified on November 8, 2019 9:44 am