Over the past few years, wireless charging has become pretty ubiquitous; even some bargain-bin true wireless earbuds support it. Given that, it’s entirely possible you have several wireless charging-compatible devices floating around your home right now. If you’re looking to simplify your power management, a multi-device charging pad could help you do just that. The Artellia Monno, funding now on Kickstarter, is a sleek and competent charging pad that can wirelessly top up three devices at a time. If you can grab one at its early bird price, there’s not much to complain about — but you’d better hurry.
Design, hardware, what’s in the box
The Monno is uncharacteristically good looking for a wireless charger. It’s pill-shaped, about nine inches wide. It’s not as striking as something like the Zens Liberty, but it’s understated and clean in the same way a lot of Google’s home products are, with soft edges and a fabric-coated top (the color I’m using here is even called “Chalk” on the box; it’s also available in a darker gray). It’s not particularly techy-looking, which I appreciate — I wouldn’t mind having this in my living room.
Artellia descrbes the fabric that covers the pad’s charging surface as “anti-scratch,” which is all well and good, but I have my reservations about how it’ll age. Big, flat expanses of fabric are dust magnets, and I haven’t had the Monno long enough to get a grasp of how easy it is to keep clean. It still looks nice after a few weeks on my desk, but I wonder how it’ll wear over the course of months or years.
There’s a white LED on the front of the charger that slowly pulses when there’s a compatible device on the pad or flashes if there’s a problem. Around back, there’s USB-C charging input that can take up to 35 watts, vents for the Monno’s two cooling fans (one in, one out), and two five-watt USB-A ports. I would’ve liked these ports to be inset a bit for more flexible cable management, but it seems like the Monno’s internal layout makes that impossible.
In the box, there’s the charging pad itself, a one-meter USB-C-to-C cable, and a 45-watt power brick that’s inconveniently large: in the power strip under my desk, it blocks the adjacent outlets on both sides of the one it’s plugged into. It doesn’t obstruct the second receptacle on a wall outlet, at least, but for the price, the package should really include something more svelte.
You can charge up to five devices at once with the Monno: two devices wirelessly at up to 10 watts each and a third at up to five, plus two wired over USB-A at five watts apiece, for a maximum output of up to 35 watts. That capacity should be more than enough for most folks’ charging needs. Even if you don’t have three gadgets you need to wirelessly charge, the Monno’s seven overlapping charging coils mean it’s not particularly picky about where you plop your phone or earbuds. You can’t be totally willy-nilly with it, but it’s pretty hard to miss the charging area.
I didn’t have trouble charging phones on the Monno, even in cases. If you’ve got three large phones in Otterboxes, you might not be able to fit them all on the charger at once, but two phones and a pair of earbuds fit very comfortably.
The charger’s built-in cooling fans spin up any time it’s active, with increasing intensity as you add more devices. I never felt the charger heat up to any troubling extent, even after several hours of charging. Most devices on the charger don’t get too warm, either. My phones maintained battery temperature in the mid-90s — warm to the touch, but not excessively so. I did notice my Pixel Buds got a bit toastier than I’d like, though.
The fans’ spinning is definitely noticeable in a quiet room, but using it on my bedside table, the gentle whir didn’t keep me awake.
Wired charging is slow at five watts; I would’ve liked to see higher capacity on the Monno’s USB ports. I also wish they were USB-C instead of USB-A. Still, they’re enough to juice up smartwatches or other small devices overnight.
Should you buy it?
Artellia Monno wireless charger
Maybe. The Monno is currently in funding on Kickstarter, where it’s blown well past its bizarrely small goal of $644 — as of publication, the campaign has raked in nearly $13,000. You can secure one for $79 before funding ends at 9 a.m. Eastern on January 14 (that’s tomorrow), which is a pretty fair price for a handsome and functional charger. The rub: units aren’t anticipated to ship to backers until April. If you’re patient enough to wait it out, go for it.
After the campaign ends, though, Artellia says it plans to charge $129 for the Monno. That’s frankly a very premium price to pay for an accessory like this from a company you’ve never heard of — in the neighborhood of what I’d expect to pay for a similar product from Apple or Google, and I’d even complain about it then. If that does end up being the Monno’s retail price, I can only recommend picking one up if it’s exactly what you’re looking for.
Buy it if:
- You can get in on the Kickstarter campaign before it ends.
- You dig the Monno’s simple look.
Don’t buy it if:
- You don’t have multiple devices that charge wirelessly (duh).
- It ends up costing $129 and you don’t absolutely love the concept.