Zens is expanding its excellent alternative to Apple’s failed AirPower charger, the Liberty wireless charger, with a new model: the Liberty Built-in charger — which, as the name implies, is designed to be integrated directly into your desk itself for an even more streamlined look.
The original Zens Liberty charger was released back in 2020 and offered an innovative 16-coil design that allowed you to simply place a Qi-compatible phone or device anywhere on the wireless charging pad instead of having to carefully align charging coils or rely on a MagSafe-style magnetic system.
But the original model rather boringly sat on top of your desk, while the new Liberty Built-in charger is designed to be integrated directly into your nightstand or desktop for a more seamless design. It also adds an extra 30W USB-C charging port, allowing you to directly plug in a phone or tablet for faster charging.
The Zens Built-in is likely destined more for companies to buy in bulk and integrate into office setups rather than for individual customers to buy and drill apart their nightstands in order to get a slightly nicer looking charging setup, although there’s nothing stopping you from buying one and trying it yourself (aside from the necessary woodworking tools and experience, anyway).
The biggest issue with the new built-in model — aside from the carpentry skills needed to actually integrate it into a desk — is that none of the chargers are quite powerful enough. Instead of wirelessly charging two devices at up to 15W each, like the original Liberty charger, the built-in model tops out at 10W each (likely due to the fact that the charger has to share power to the added USB-C port). And while the integrated USB-C charger is shown ambitiously charging a laptop in Zens’ promo image, 30W just isn’t enough for most modern USB-C laptops.
That’s especially true given the price: Zens’ built-in starts at €249.99 (roughly $284) for the plain white model, while the far more interesting-looking glass model costs €279.99 (about $318). That’s a substantial price increase over the original desktop model, which costs $169 in the US for the regular version and $199 for the glass-topped model.
Still, even with those caveats, the new Zens Liberty Built-in is an attractive-looking evolution of the original design. And while it’s unlikely that I’ll be hacking apart my Ikea nightstand anytime soon to try and add an integrated wireless charger to it, I can certainly understand the appeal.
The Zens Liberty Built-in wireless charger will be available in March.