Imagine driving your car while constantly looking at your smartphone for directions, while your smartphone is hooked to a charger. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been in a situation like that. What’s frustrating is that you have to look at the phone while it’s lying beside you on the front passenger seat, not to mention the danger it poses.
But things changed with the arrival of car mounts, which made our work a lot easier. Although automakers are now integrating features like charging / wireless charging and maps in the car itself, there are still a large number of car owners who drive cars that don’t have such features. And for such car owners, Pebble has launched the Grip wire car charger, which will not only allow users to charge their smartphones wirelessly but also double as a phone holder.
The Pebble Grip is made of plastic and has a matte finish, which blends with the interior of most cars. It has two parts – a wireless charging pad, which has two adjustable clips to hold the phone, and an adjustable arm, which allows you to mount it on the air-conditioner vent. The adjustable clips are controlled by a tiny button on the right edge, and on the left, you’ll find an LED, which turns blue to indicate that it’s ideal and turns green when it’s charging a phone wirelessly.
We tested the Grip over a number of days while driving around Delhi, and it worked fine. We used it with various phones (just to test how well it holds them), including the OnePlus 7T, Google Pixel 3, Samsung Note10+, and iPhone X. The Grip held these phones firmly. None of the handsets wobbled during the drive, not even on rough roads.
The Qi-compatible Pebble Grip comes with a USB 2.0 wire, which has to be connected to a car charger in the 12V DC socket. According to the company, this wireless charging pad can provide up to 10W fast wireless charging. For us, it worked best with the Galaxy Note10, which supports 15W wireless charging. The charging was slower for the iPhone X, which supports 7.5W, and Google Pixel 3, which supports 5W charging.
The company also says that the charging pad has an intelligent protect technology to keep the temperature in check. As per the company’s website, all iPhones get a boosted charge – 10 per cent faster than other wireless chargers. It advises customers to use a Quick Charge adapter (9V/2A) for Samsung Galaxy phones and a 5V/2A adapter for iPhones.
But . . .
While our experience with the device was good, we couldn’t help but wonder about the practicality of this device in the real world. First, not all smartphones have wireless charging, which means that purchasing Rs 2499 product just to charge your phone, and only when you’re driving, may not sound very practical. Second, the device has to be constantly plugged in to enable its wireless charging. But this can be done with any affordable car mount – just connect our phone directly to the car charger, and you’re good to go.
The product, obviously, will not help those who don’t have a phone with wireless charging support. And frankly, I don’t see a reason why even those who have such phones would go for this product. I mean, direct charging can juice up a phone faster than wireless charging, and remember, this product does need a wired connection all the time to charge your phone wirelessly.
The Pixel 3 was charged a lot faster when we connected it directly to the car charger, but it took a lot of time to juice up wirelessly. Moreover, you also need to purchase a good car charger to get the device working. If Pebble has included a car charger in the box, things would be a little better.
This futuristic product caters to a very niche audience who own smartphones that support wireless charging. And to get the maximum out of this product, you need to have Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Why? Because they have higher wattage support for wireless charging than iPhones and Pixels.
Pros: Futuristic product, laden with next-gen tech.
Cons: Costly, not much real-world use