Twelve South PowerPic Wireless Charger review: Decorative and functional in one

The PowerPic Wireless Charger is a 10-watt Qi-supported wireless charging pad hidden inside ... a picture frame. What a great idea! It sits on your desktop, shelf, nightstand, or wherever, and looks unassumingly like a simple picture frame. When you rest your wireless charging supported iPhone on it, it turns into a functional charging pad.

The Good

  • Blends with home decor
  • Fast-charging for iPhone
  • Standard 5 X 7 frame
  • Foreign object detection

The Bad

  • The base is a bit big (for a picture frame)

Invisibly functional

PowerPic Wireless Charger: The features

PowerPic Wireless Charger

The PowerPic is a not-so-standard 5 X 7 picture frame with a glass window and pine wood. It comes in black or white and stands upright with a slight slant, just like every other picture frame in your house.

It's also got a wireless charging coil hidden inside, unlike any other picture frame in your house. The wireless charging pad supports Qi-enabled phones (not just the iPhone) and can deliver up to 10 watts of wireless power.

There is a charging status light on the back that will let you know when your phone is fully charged. If there is something blocking the charge (like a wallet case with a credit card in it or a case that's too thick or even a phone that just doesn't have wireless charging), the status light will blink, letting you know that the connection has not been made.

The frame comes with two nice landscape photos that you can use right out of the box, but the real fun is using your own pictures.

At home in your home

PowerPic Wireless Charger: What I like

PowerPic Wireless Charger

twelve south powerpic (Image credit: Lory Gil / iMore)

iMore Recommended Award

Right off the bat, the fact that this is a picture frame makes it a big win in my book. I've got mine sitting right next to me on my side table, which is where I previously had my mophie wireless charging base. With the PowerPic, I've got a (hilariously stiff) picture of myself and my significant other propped up nicely on the table and it just looks like a decoration.

You can use any 5" X 7" photo, even one from 100 years ago. Your family photos, the kids' school pictures, your pets. Most of us have dozens (or hundreds ... or literally boxes full) of 5" X 7" photos somewhere in the house, even in this digital photography age. The PowerPic is good for any and all of those.

It supports the iPhone 7.5-watt fast charging, which is not as fast as plugging it into a lightning port but is faster than a 5-watt wireless charger.

Unlike most wireless charging pads, I never have trouble finding the sweet spot with the PowerPic.

Unlike most wireless charging pads, I never have trouble finding the sweet spot with the PowerPic. Because the area needed for the pad is so big (more than 5" X 7"), the charging coil is also big. Plus, I think I instinctively felt compelled to center my iPhone inside the box for symmetry. You can, actually, place a phone off-centered and still make the charge connection. The area range is about a half inch from the edge for the iPhone XS. It's a wide connection range.

The fact that it has foreign object detection is a bonus feature that is the icing on the already delicious cake. To be clear, the status light won't blink if you've accidentally misaligned your phone to the charger (which is pretty hard to do anyway), but if you forgot to remove your wallet case with those credit cards in it, there will be a blue blinking light to warn you that the connection is blocked. The only downside to this is that it's on the back of the picture frame, so if the PowerPic isn't close to a wall, or the room is too bright, you may not even notice the blinking light at all.

That price, though

PowerPic Wireless Charger: What I don't like

PowerPic Wireless Charger

The one place where the PowerPic differs slightly from a standard picture frame is in the base. Ingeniously, Twelve South has figured out a way to make a very stable picture frame/vertical charging pad for even the heaviest of phones. There is a 1-inch wide by 4-inch long stick coming out of the back of the frame at an angle. Now, this is a great design and makes the entire thing sturdy and reliable, but as far as picture frames go, it takes up a bit of table space.

If you think of it as a charging pad, however, it actually takes up about the same amount of space as most pads that lay flat on a table.

The bottom line

PowerPic Wireless Charger

I love that the PowerPic is a wireless charging pad that looks like a photo frame. I mean, why hasn't anyone thought of this before? It serves a very important function that more and more households need as wireless charging becomes more popular, but keeps your house from looking like a cyborg with all those flat pads lying around. If you're going to take up space on your side table with a charging pad, why not make it one that doubles as a picture frame!

This is a fantastic gift idea for loved ones and family members. Give your parents, spouse, kids, and siblings a framed picture for Christmas this year, only make it extra special with the PowerPic Wireless Charger.

$80 at Twelve South

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).