QiStone 2 Review: Backup power three ways

Lets face it, wireless charging hasn't taken over the world like so many of us had hoped it would five years ago. Adoption for Qi charging has been slow and kind of boring, with very few accessories jumping out to really blow anyone away. One of the first I ever looked at was called the QiStone, a simple battery shaped like a smooth flat rock to charge your phone wirelessly when you weren't near a cable. It wasn't particularly useful, but it was a fun look at what the future might look like if the tech got popular.

Fast forward to today. Wireless charging is in every high end phone, but it's still not really a huge thing. Even Apple has struggled with making a single form of wireless charging work for everything, and very few other companies have even tried. But when the Fonesalesman folks reached out about an updated version of the QiStone, it included some important new features to fit in better with the realities of our fairly stagnant present.

But is this battery something you should pay to stick in your back pocket? Lets take a look.

The Good

  • Decent battery capacity
  • USB-C PD is excellent
  • Additional USB-A port gives you flexibility
  • Easily pocketable

The Bad

  • Good luck keeping a glass phone on this thing
  • Wireless charging isn't particularly fast
  • Expensive

QiStone 2 What keeps me amped

Out of the box, this is a fairly standard small battery. It's not quite as thin as some of the other 8000mAh batteries out there today, and that's because QiStone 2 has two wireless charging zones on it. One up top, and one underneath. This means you can wirelessly charge pretty much anything by putting it on top, but it also means you can put the battery itself on a wireless charging bad to charge it. You never need to use a cable with this if you don't want to, which is kind of cool.

This is basically the Swiss Army Knife of battery backups, especially if used occasionally instead of every day.

For those who would prefer to use a cable, you have a standard rectangular USB- A port as well as the newer and more capable USB-C port. This Type C port is Power Deliver enabled, which means it will rapidly charge other supported devices. The Type A port is really more for accessories, like headphones or fitness trackers, but you can use both ports at the same time if you so choose. And if you want to quickly charge this thing up, you're obviously going to want to use Type C.

Using QiStone 2 couldn't be simpler. Drop your phone on the flat side of the grey river rock, and look for the green light to appear. When you see a green light, whatever you put up top is charging. When you see a red light, something isn't positioned quite right. If you want to know how much power you have remaining, you press the one button sitting up top and it will turn on the blue indicator lights. Each one represents 25%, so if all four a lit you're fully charged. Doesn't get much simpler than this, and the battery will charge a phone while it is being charged via USB-C, which isn't something you see in every battery.

If you'd rather not slip this battery in your pocket or a bag, QiStone includes a small accessory loop so you can connect it to your bag or a lanyard. This battery is a little heavy to hang from a set of keys, but it's easy enough to find a good place to tuck it away if you're not using it.

QiStone 2 What let me down

If you're using a Pixel 3 or some other phone with texture on the back, or even a thin case with a little bit of grip, QiStone 2 works exactly as advertised. But if you want to put a phone with a fully glass back on this charger, you're going to have a bad time. The textured design of this battery is not enough to provide grip, which means many glass phones slide off the charging surface with relative ease. And if you happen to bump the table this thing is sitting on, you can all but guarantee the battery is no longer charging the phone because it has probably fallen off entirely. This is easy enough to fix with a thin case, but not everyone rolls like that and it seems trivial to have made this body a little more grippy.

I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to wireless chargers, because I have Samsung Fast Chargers everywhere in my house, and that's probably why I found the wireless charge speed of the QiStone so sluggish. I put a fully dead Pixel 3 on this thing, and 15 minutes later not only had the phone not turned on yet but it was also less than 5% charged. Once the phone was on, the battery charged to 25% in 30 minutes, but compared to a Fast Charger that's still not great. It's silly to expect a battery-based charger to offer the same functionality as a desktop charger, but I had hoped for something slightly faster in the wireless charger.

It's also important to highlight the price of this thing. Put simply, $80 can get you a lot of battery if all you care about is capacity. That's money you spend when you want a battery backup for a USB-C laptop, not something you'll use to charge your phone one and a half times. But that cost is because of all the extra tech in here, which is important to keep in mind. This thing can deliver power to basically anything, in whatever format I choose, and that's not nothing. But even with that in mind, it's a little difficult to justify the cost.

QiStone 2 Should you buy it?

This is absolutely not for everyone. If you need a battery to last you a couple of days no matter what, your money is better spent elsewhere. And if you have an all glass phone and don't want to use a case, there are options more appropriate for you.

But if you want a charger to use just in case you use a little more juice and want to top off, QiStone 2 is cool as hell. Being able to wirelessly charge as well as charge via USB-C PD and toss a MicroUSB cable in there, is the kind of flexibility I appreciate. This is basically the Swiss Army Knife of battery backups, especially if used occasionally instead of every day. And if that's something you'd spend the extra cash on, this battery is likely to serve you well for quite a while.

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at iMore. He's a passionate futurist whose trusty iPad mini is never far from reach. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Reach out on Twitter!

1 Comment
  • Probably because wireless charging is a weak solution in search of a problem. Most (wired) wireless chargers are tacky, they take up tabletop space, and tend to be device type specific (meaning I'd still need a cable for my iPads). Perhaps they would be useful at restaurants and the like where most everyone would be charging their smartphones. I find cable charging to be much better around my home.