Kew Labs UTS-1 Wireless Charger Review
Kew Labs UTS-1 Invisible Wireless Charger
Have you ever thought about how nice it would be to have a Qi wireless charger underneath an existing piece or furniture or thing in your home? The folks over at Kew Labs developed a Qi charger called the UTS-1 that is capable of long distance communication for non-metallic surfaces that are up to 1-inch thick. This is great for those that are wanting to add a wireless charger in the home or office without adding a traditional set-top charging solution.
You’ll still have to run power to the Kew Labs UTS-1, but is is nearly invisible and delivers a clean look that minimizes clutter. The UTS-1 is rated as delivering up to 30 Watts of output power, but will charge your phone at industry standards. So, you are looking at 5W for the Qi 1.1 standard and then 7.5W for Apple devices and 9W on Samsung devices using the Qi 1.2 standard.
Retail packaging for the Kew Labs UTS-1 invisible fast wireless charger was well designed as it shows the product, key features and more.
The side of the box has a built-in measurement tool to ensure that your table thickness will work properly with the charger. Your table must be between 18-25.4 mm for this charger to work.
What Is Inside The Box?
Inside the box you’ll find the UTS-1 wireless charger, 36w wall power adapter, user manual, wire routing clips, installation templates, stickers, screws and warning about safety protocols.
The charger itself comes with four pieces of pre-positioned 3M double sided tape for tool-free installation or you can use screws to hold it to the bottom of the non-metal surface you are attaching it to. The dimensions of the charger are 7.17″ x 4.8″ x 0.79″ and it weighs about half a pound.
The other side of the charger has a plastic cover with holes for ventilation. There is a power LED along the front edge and two power connectors. Why two? You can daisy-chain two of these chargers together with one of the included AC power adapters. The wall adapter is 36W and the peak charging rate is 9W per charger, so this easily can be done.
What Does the Switch Do?
On one end you’ll find a switch that is labeled with the letters L, C, and H. The middle position is letter ‘C’ and that is what you need to have it set to for phone calibration. After that you’ll need to toggle the switch over to the ‘L’ or ‘H’ letters as that is for table thickness. L is for tables 18mm to 21 mm thick and H is for tables 22mm to 25.4mm thick. Be sure to add an extra 2mm or so if you use a phone case.
Apple iPhone 12 users are advised to use the L setting on tables that are no thicker than 21mm. The presence of magnets in the iPhone 12 series creates interference that reduces the single strength of the charging signal. iPhone 12 /Pro models enter a slower charging mode once the battery is over 80% charged and Kew Labs suggests charging the iPhone 12 without a MagSafe case for best results. Kew Labs does not recommend using this charger with the iPhone 12 Pro Max due to additional camera module thickness causing reduced performance.
Once you get it installed you can install one of the included stickers that makes lining up your phone easier. The UTS-1 will beep when you have your phone properly aligned. A number of built-in safety features ensures a safe charging experience for both the charger and your mobile device.
Kew Labs made a installation video that covers setup and calibration that you can watch above.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
The Kew Labs UTS-1 is great in theory. Having a hidden charger under your table or counter is great when it works. We quickly figured out that most of the tables and counters in our home were thicker than what would work with the UTS-1. We also have cases on our phones and that adds to the thickness calculation!
Just for fun we tried installing it on some of our IKEA KALLAX series storage cubes and found out that the ABS plastic on the outer perimeters was 37mm thick. Far too thick for the UTS-1 despite being plastic and hollow. Our suggestion is to run around and measure your furniture now and see if it is 18mm to 25.4mm thick. Apple iPhone 12 / Pro users will want to stick to a thinner surface of 18mm to 21mm. If you are in that range of thickness you’ll be able to use the UTS-1.
If you passed the thickness test then you will be able to buy the UTS-1 and have it work. How much is this hidden wireless charger? You are looking at $104.99 plus shipping directly from Kew Labs. The lowest shipping cost to our address was $7.50, so the grand total is $112.49 shipped for this charger. It is covered by a 1-year warranty.
You can pickup a basic pad Qi-Certified charger sans AC adapter for under $10 on Amazon with free shipping for Prime members. You can get one with a power adapter and higher 15W charging rate for under $30 shipped. You are paying a big premium to try to conceal your wireless charger!
The Key Labs UTS-1 has the right idea, but it doesn’t work well with Apple MagSafe and the surface it is mounted under has to be the right thickness.