A unique way to charge your phone in plain sight.
I really appreciate products that have more than one purpose. And I really like it when products that have a purpose are hidden in plain sight. So, you can imagine my excitement when the PowerPic for iPhone was released from Twelve South. It’s a picture frame with a wireless charger hidden inside and it’s the ideal desk accessory for those who use an iPhone that is compatible with wireless charging.
PowerPic is a wireless phone charger that doubles as a picture frame. The Qi charger is hidden within in the frame and is capable of providing up to 10 watts of fast charging power. The frame is made from New Zealand Pine and will hold any 5 x 7 photo. It will charge a phone that is in a case up to 3mm thick and 6.5 inches tall. The Power Pic is designed to blend in naturally with your home or office. In addition to being a capable wireless charger and beautiful picture frame, the PowerPic also provides a small status light on the back of the frame to let you know when it’s charging. The device will also let you know when there is a foreign object, like a bank card, interfering with the phone charging properly.
- Compatible: All Apple iPhone models & most other smartphones featuring wireless Qi charging
- Input Connector: USB Type-C (Note: Included cable is 1.5m USB Type-C to USB Type-A)
- Input: 5V/1A, 6V/1.25A, 9V/1.1A
- Operation Frequency:110~205 kHz
- Modulation type: ASK
- Antenna Type: Coil Antenna
- Charging Efficiency: 2~8mm; 2mm max>=75%/8mm max> =72%
The PowerPic comes in a traditional Twelve South package. It’s well-designed with an image of the product on the outside of it. Inside you will find the PowerPic frame with a placeholder picture enclosed in the frame. The PowerPic is designed to stand vertically like a portrait frame and comes with an easy to install stand that doubles as a cable management tool. The frame gets its power from an external power source like a USB dock or a wall adapter (not included). After you’ve installed the stand, you have the option of inserting one of your own pictures or continuing to use the placeholder image that comes with the frame. I ended up printing out a new picture for the frame.
Twelve South has an interesting menagerie of images and image ideas on their website. They suggest having your phone complete an image or just be an extension of what is shown in the frame. I opted to do the latter where the image on the lock screen of my phone was the same as what was shown on the frame. I noticed right away that there was a color difference in what was shown on iPhone and what was printed on for the frame. This is directly relational to the color differences between digital and print media. I tried my best to make the coloring on the iPhone match the print, but it still wasn’t perfect. You can see the difference between what is shown in the image above, which is only the print in the frame and what is shown below, which includes the iPhone.
Another thing that was a little odd to me was that the PowerPic doesn’t seem to take a locked screen into account. What I mean is that while the concept of it is wonderful, if you have your phone set to Auto-Lock after a certain amount of time, it will appear as a black screen within the picture frame, which totally messes up the picture-in-picture effect. There is a way to remedy this, but I don’t think it’s practical. If you set your Auto-Lock to ‘never’ (Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock > Never), the screen will stay on all the time. This seems counterintuitive for a charging device in my opinion.
In addition to its premium design features, the PowerPic is a very nice wireless charger. To test out the charger, I placed my iPhone XS on the charger with no case. I was using the phone while it was charging (streaming music from Pandora, connected to a Bluetooth speaker), but it didn’t see to affect the charging ability of the frame. After 64 minutes, the phone gained 33%, which is a charging rate of 0.52% per minute. This is directly in line with other wireless charging rates I’ve tested in the past.
Twelve South’s PowerPic is another creative product in a long line of innovative accessories for Apple products. I’ve been very happy with its performance and I really like having this unique charging option for my desk. I do wish that I could use it horizontally as well as vertically, but its premium design and high-performance charging features are really hard to beat.