ZENS AirPower-Like Liberty Wireless Charger With 16 Coils Now Available to Order

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
46,796
8,961



Dutch brand ZENS today announced the availability of its AirPower-like wireless charging mat with 16 overlapping coils, allowing two devices to be charged anywhere on the mat.


The ZENS Liberty can charge any Qi-enabled devices, with the 16 coils providing a total output of 30W (2x15W) as well as supporting Apple and Samsung Fast Charge. Meanwhile, the built-in 2.4A USB port can be used to charge another device, including an Apple Watch using the optional Apple Watch USB-stick accessory.
The 16 overlapping charging coils give complete freedom of placement, allowing you to place two devices anywhere on the charging pad. For those who were wondering why the USB-port of the Liberty is placed on the top side of the charging pad, the Apple Watch USB-stick is the reason why. This add-on is specifically made for the Liberty so you can simultaneously charge an iPhone, AirPods and an Apple Watch with the Liberty, the ideal 3-in-1 wireless charger!
The USB-stick is made of the same aluminum as the Liberty and is placed in a vertical position in the USB-port of the Liberty to charge the Apple Watch in sleep-mode. The stick can also be connected to any USB-A-port to charge an Apple Watch without the mat. The USB-stick is officially MFi certified and works with Apple Watch Series 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.


The ZENS Liberty has a USB-C connection and comes with a 60W USB-C certified power adapter. Separate power plugs for the E.U., U.K. and U.S. are included to make the adapter suitable for global usage.

The mat is available either with a surface of high-quality woolen upholstery textile (Atlas by Kvadrat) or with a tempered glass surface revealing the overlapping coils within. The fabric version costs $139.99 (EUR139.99), while the Glass edition costs $179.99 (EUR179.99). Both models come with a three-year extended warranty. The Apple Watch USB-add-on is available separately for $39.99 (EUR39.99).


This is the closest alternative to Apple's canceled AirPower mat, which would have been able to charge three devices placed anywhere on the mat, including an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods.

Apple canceled the AirPower in March 2019, stating that "after much effort," the mat failed to achieve the company's "high standards." An earlier report from Sonny Dickson claimed the ?AirPower? would have been equipped with 21 to 24 coils, but reports claimed the mat suffered from overheating and potentially dangerous electromagnetic interference issues.

Expect a full review of the ZENS Liberty Wireless Charger on MacRumors soon.

Article Link: ZENS AirPower-Like Liberty Wireless Charger With 16 Coils Now Available to Order
 
Last edited:

neuropsychguy

macrumors 65816
Sep 29, 2008
1,255
1,795
that’s a really nice way to put an utter engineering fail... there was nothing smart about failing to launch a product that you announced.
Sure there is. If it didn't do what it was supposed to do, it's much smarter to not release than to release a terrible (or unsafe?) product. Sometimes the smartest thing to do is cut your losses and move on.
 

Abazigal

macrumors G5
Jul 18, 2011
12,078
9,838
Singapore
Expensive but tempting. I guess most people would be fine with just two separate wireless chargers, but this does look like an impressive piece of engineering (assuming it works as advertised), and there’s no shame in paying for “niceness”.
 

alpi123

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2014
1,127
1,067
Why do the coils have to be round? Can't they make one gigantic rectangle coil so that it fits the whole area? Or at least several smaller ones do they don't overlap and cause heating issues.
 

seinman

macrumors 6502
Jun 15, 2011
384
252
Philadelphia
Why do the coils have to be round?
Physics.

Can't they make one gigantic rectangle coil so that it fits the whole area? Or at least several smaller ones do they don't overlap and cause heating issues.
No.

I mean, several smaller and non-overlapping coils will work, but then the devices have to be centered on them. If you put your device down so that it lies between two coils, it won't charge. Several inductive chargers already function this way, and have some sort of marking to indicate where you should place your devices.
 

chucker23n1

macrumors 68030
Dec 7, 2014
2,855
3,685
Even if this product is successful, it may not have been feasible to produce at the volume Apple was anticipating.
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,655
2,571
East of Eden
Expensive but tempting. I guess most people would be fine with just two separate wireless chargers, but this does look like an impressive piece of engineering (assuming it works as advertised), and there’s no shame in paying for “niceness”.
I agree with this, but...
And then I'll wait another couple of months to see if these don't catch fire. Apple cancelling it after probably throwing obscene amounts of money at it trying to make it work must say something about the safety and feasibility of these airpower-like products.
...also with this. I'll wait a bit and see how this performs in real life use.
 

foobarbaz

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2007
520
476
Why do the coils have to be round?
They have to match the shape and location of the coils in the phone, or a lot of energy will "leak" into the air.

in theory, the overlapping isn’t a problem, because only the coil right under the phone is supposed to be active. But in reality, the other coils probably suck up some energy intended for the phone and heat up.
 

slineaudi

macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2009
102
50
I feel like Apple ditched this because given all the issues it's not actually that impressive a product. What problem is being solved with airpower? Charging two devices at once so you don't need two chargers? Not ground breaking. Being able lay your phone anywhere to charge? Sounds good but you cant just put it anywhere but can put it more places on the charger. Not ground breaking either. The whole product just isn't very interesting.
 

tridley68

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2014
848
873
Woah $180 I think I'll stick to cables this may be right for the person who has disposable income just my 2 cents.
 

gsmornot

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2014
3,144
2,596
I have had a phone with wireless charging for years now but never made the switch. As an iPad user I am already plugging a device in at night. Adding a phone to what I plug in is not that much more effort so never made the space on the nightstand. I like the look of this product however with the exposed coils. It’s something that would fit my style but its a pass until I can go fully wireless.
 

manu chao

macrumors 603
Jul 30, 2003
6,448
2,419
Why do the coils have to be round? Can't they make one gigantic rectangle coil so that it fits the whole area? Or at least several smaller ones do they don't overlap and cause heating issues.
You need a moving magnetic field to transmit power. With AC, which Qi uses, you have a circular magnetic field that rotates back and forth around the axis of the coil. The diameter of that rotating (circular) magnetic field has to be matched on the receiving end by a (preferably) similarly sized coil. If you look at the inside of Qi chargers and devices charged via Qi, they all have coils of a very similar size.

Using a square coil, you would have a more irregularly shaped ”rotating” magnetic field with a noticeably less efficient coupling. Ditto for a magnetic field created with a significantly different diameter coil. Using a large rectangular “coil” would have pretty bad power transmission.

One reason while all Apple Watch chargers are specific to that device is simply that because of size of the Watch, its internal coil is smaller than the standard Qi one.
- - Post merged: - -

Even if this product is successful, it may not have been feasible to produce at the volume Apple was anticipating.
It also just charges two instead of three devices and it doesn’t charge the Apple Watch. I don’t think there is even a single charger that can accept both standard Qi devices and an Apple Watch.
 
Last edited:

beanbaguk

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
607
699
Europe
You need a moving magnetic field to transmit power. With AC, which Qi uses, you have a circular magnetic field that rotates back and forth around the axis of the coil. The diameter of that rotating (circular) magnetic field has to matched on the receiving end by a (preferably) similarly sized coil. If you look at the inside of Qi chargers and devices charged via Qi, they all have coils of a very similar size.

Using a square coil, you would have a more irregularly shaped ”rotating” magnetic field with a noticeably less efficient coupling. Ditto for a magnetic field created with a significantly different diameter coil. Using a large rectangular “coil” would have pretty bad power transmission.

One reason while all Apple Watch chargers are specific to that device is simply that because of size of the Watch, its internal coil is smaller than the standard Qi one.
- - Post merged: - -


It also just charges two instead of three devices and it doesn’t charge the Apple Watch. I don’t think there is even a single charger that can accept both standard Qi devices and an Apple Watch.
There are a few. Some of the better ones from Baseus (which I mentioned on another forum too).

This one is about US$24 and I've bought quite a lot of their stuff in the past from AliExpress. The quality is superb and the products work great.

 

H3LL5P4WN

macrumors 68020
Jun 19, 2010
2,394
2,453
Pittsburgh PA
Despite me having two SliceCharge Pros as well as a Nimble Dual Charger... I'm not gonna lie. This thing has piqued my interest. Though $240 is a bit steep.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sasparilla

lars666

macrumors 65816
Jul 13, 2008
1,040
943
I really don't get why people would be willing to pay so much more for the slight advantage to put the device everywhere on the mat instead of a specific side. Especially if it doesn't even offer the perfect "iPhone - Apple Watch - Airpods" threesome Apple promised.