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Hands on: SliceCharge is the latest to imitate Apple's AirPower

SliceCharge is a super-thin Qi charging pad that can charge up to three devices at once including two iPhones and an Apple Watch. AppleInsider tested it out for a week leading up to the expected launch of Apple's AirPower.

Apple's AirPower isn't even available yet and manufacturers are scrambling to come up with competitors. Some doing better jobs than others.

SliceCharge may be the closest we've seen yet to actually coming up with a real alternative to AirPower.

Like others attempting to replicate the AirPower, it has a very familiar shape and size. A long rounded rectangle with a total of three Qi coils nestled inside. On top is a nice soft fabric that comes in three different colors. Frosted White — which we got to test out, Indigo Blue which reminds us of denim, and Carmine Red.

The bottom is made of metal with a silicone ring around the edge which prevents slippage on the tops of tables or desks.

Two iPhones can be charged simultaneously as well as any Apple Watch. SliceCharge actually has an Apple Watch charging puck hidden under the fabric, but it gives the look of being able to just be resting anywhere. The fabric layer does weaken the magnetic strength a tad bit, but it still easy enough to find.

AirPower only supports the Series 3 which works with a specific Qi frequency.

SliceCharge is capable of outputting 18W of power in total, which seems just shy of the maximum accepted output. Apple Watch can handle 5W of power, and each iPhone can accept 7.5W, for a total of 20W if it were to be maxed out. That said, it does support 7.5W fast charge for iPhones.

The whole charger is powered over USB-A —and not USB-C as we'd have preferred. A Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 power adapter is included.

There are certainly downsides to SliceCharge, the biggest of which is the short power cable. It will fit many locations, but there was no way it would fit on our desk with the outlet so far away.

The other big issue we encountered was that the white fabric will undoubtedly get dirty over time. The easiest solution here, is to opt for the blue or red instead.

For those using AirPods, SliceCharge has an option for you as well. Ahead of the forthcoming wireless charging case for AirPods, SliceCharge can be bundled with the ElctroLeather. This is a leather case for AirPods (not dissimilar to the Twelve South AirSnap) that builds in a Qi coil to enable wireless charging.

We've tested out SliceCharge for several days now and had two main takeaways. First, it charges quickly and consistently. There are frequently issues with chargers getting too hot then slowing down, but SliceCharge didn't have this issue best we could tell.

Second, it is simple to align our phone on the charging coils. There was never any fussing, we just placed the phone down, and as long as we were relatively centered on the body of the phone, it would begin charging.

Like other options, as long as you have a Series 3 or "Series 4" Apple Watch, we have no doubt that AirPower will be the superior charger. Apple has put some serious time and effort into their own improvements on the public Qi specification, allowing all devices to be placed in any location on the charging mat.

Apple's also has a great deal of data relayed back-and-forth from charging devices. The data relay, and the ability to put devices anywhere on the mat all could have contributed to the seemingly long lead to before release.

However, with the AirPower's expected price expected to be between $100 and $200, it will be a luxury many won't want to splurge on when there are so many more affordable options available. Of all the wireless chargers we've tested, SliceCharge is the closest yet to matching AirPower's design and features.

SliceCharge is a crowd-funded campaign, and is up for preorder on Indiegogo with early shoppers nabbing them for $39, half off the expected retail price, with shipping expected to happen in October. The campaign is already funded to nearly 200 percent of the goal.