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The best multi-device wireless charging pads for 2023

You probably own a ton of gear that supports wireless charging now, but if you want to make your setup as cordless as possible, a single-device pad just won't cut it. There are tons of multiple-item wireless chargers available now, but picking one can be a headache. You not only have to contend with varying levels of support, but different designs as well — the last thing you want is something that won’t fit on your nightstand or WFH desk. If you're looking for the best multi-device wireless charging pad for your needs, Engadget can help. We've tested numerous wireless charging accessories that support up to three devices simultaneously, and we have some thoughts on which are the ones that are worth your money.

Do wireless charging pads work with any phone or device?

It won’t be shocking to hear that your smartphone choice influences your choice in a wireless charger. Only iPhone owners will need to consider Apple Watch compatibility. Likewise, you’ll need an Android phone if you expect to power a Galaxy Watch. Buy an iPhone 12 or newer and you can attach your phone magnetically using MagSafe, while the latest Android phones often have some form of fast wireless charging.

However, it’s not simply a question of getting the fastest charger. You should consider what you might buy in the future. Don’t buy a two-device charger if you have an iPhone and AirPods, but have been eyeing an Apple Watch. And if you think you might switch to an Android cell phone (or vice versa), you’ll want to get something more generic that doesn’t lock you into any one ecosystem.

Some chargers include cradles, trays and other features that are heavily optimized for particular products, and might not even account for year-to-year changes. Some vertical stands are too tall for small phones like the iPhone 13 mini, for instance. While you can never completely guarantee that next year’s phone or watch will work, it’s worth buying something more likely to last.

Having said all this, don’t be afraid to get a charger with vendor-specific features if you’re fiercely loyal to one brand. Apple isn’t expected to ditch MagSafe any time soon, and Samsung will likely keep making Galaxy Watches for a while to come.

How to pick the best wireless charging pad for your needs: Location, location, location

Sebastian Bednarek on Unsplash

Even without a charging cable to worry about, you’re probably buying a multi-device wireless charger with one location in mind. It might sit on your nightstand or on your desk. Not everyone buys a charger just for themselves, though; you might want to use one as a shared station for you and a partner.

If the charger will sit on your nightstand, you’ll likely want a compact, stable unit that won’t swallow all your free space or tumble to the floor (and if it does fall, one with enough durability to survive). You may also prefer a lay-flat phone pad so your screen is less likely to keep you awake. The Apple Watch and some other smartwatches can double as tiny alarm clocks, so you might want a vertical charging option for any wristwear.

At a desk, however, you may want a vertical phone stand so you can check notifications. Will the charger sit on a low table? Horizontal charger pads may make it easier to grab your devices in a hurry. Travel chargers should fold up or otherwise protect the pads while they’re in your bag. And, yes, aesthetics count. You may want something pretty if it’s likely to sit in a posh room where guests will see it.

If it’s a shared charging station, you’ll want something with multiple generic surfaces, and you’ll probably have to forgo charging more than one watch at a time. In those cases, consider the handful of 4-in-1 wireless chargers on the market, or models with USB ports.

Wireless charging speed and performance

It’s no secret that wireless charging is typically slower than wired, and powering multiple devices adds a new wrinkle. As these chargers often have to support a wide range of hardware, you’ll have to forget about the fastest, device-specific options from brands like Google, OnePlus and Samsung.

That’s not to say these will be slow, but there just isn’t much separating them on the charging speed front. As a general rule, the quickest multi-device chargers tend to top out at 15W for phones. And you’ll need an Apple MagSafe charger if you want to get that full 15W on an iPhone.

It’s rare that you’ll find a truly slow example, mind you. Even some of the most affordable options we’ve seen will recharge your phone at a reasonable 7.5W or 10W, and the 5W for other devices is more than enough. If you’re only docking overnight or while you work, speed won’t make a huge difference. Just be sure that whatever you buy is powerful enough for a phone in a case. It’s also worth noting that fast charging for other devices is rare, although you’ll occasionally find speedier options for the Apple Watch Series 7.

Quality, box contents and small details

Melvin Thambi on Unsplash

The difference between a good charger and a great one often boils down to little details. You won’t always need to pay extra to get those, but a larger outlay may be worthwhile to avoid frustrations for years to come.

A textured surface like rubberized plastic or fabric will reduce the chances your expensive gadgets will slide off their charging points. The base should have enough grip and weight that the charger won’t easily shift out of place. Any floating or vertical stands should be sturdy — steer clear if there’s any wobble.

You’ll also want to make a note of what’s included in the box. Some chargers don’t ship with power adapters, and we've seen numerous models whose Apple Watch “stands” are merely holders for your existing charging puck.

Then there’s helpful touches like status lights for confirming correct placement, although you’ll want to make sure they dim or shut off after a certain amount of time. And while it’s still true that cradles and trays can limit compatibility, you do want your devices to stay where you put them. Shelves and lips can prevent your phone or watch from sliding. Oh, and be wary of floating smartwatch mounts, as heavier timepieces might sag.

Best premium 3-in-1 wireless charger: Belkin BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad with MagSafe

3-in-1 wireless charger runner up: Logitech Powered 3-in-1 Dock

Best budget 3-in-1 wireless charger: Anker 533 Wireless Charger

Another good option: Otterbox 3-in-1 Charging Station for MagSafe

Best 2-in-1 wireless charging pad: Mophie Dual Wireless Charging Pad

2-in-1 wireless charging pad runner up: Samsung Super Fast Wireless Charger Duo

Best wireless charging pad for two people: Mophie 4-in-1 Wireless Charging Mat

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Solo Stove cuts up to 40 percent off the price of its fire pits for Labor Day

Solo Stove might just come to your aid if you're hoping for a smoke-free fire in your backyard (or at the beach) this Labor Day weekend. The company is steeply discounting its fire pits ahead of the holiday, both for devices and bundles. The core Bonfire 2.0 is down to just $240, or 40 percent off. If you need more gear to improve portability and protection, the Backyard Bonfire Bundle 2.0 is nearly 50 percent off at $425 (normally $840) with an included lid, shield, stand and weather shelter.

The Bonfire 2.0 is one of our favorite pieces of outdoor tech for the fall. You can burn virtually any wood you have in a clean, smokeless fire pit that's compact enough to fit on a patio. It's ideal if you're hoping to stay warm outside as the evenings get cooler, or to roast marshmallows without making a conventional pit. The Backyard bundle includes what you need to use the Bonfire on heat-sensitive surfaces, guard against stray embers and keep the fire going in less-than-pleasant conditions.

The Bonfire is the medium pit, so you'll want to look at the Ranger 2.0 for greater portability or the Yukon 2.0 if you want the largest possible option. For most uses, though, Solo Stove's mid-tier model is more than enough.

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

India is the first country to land at the Moon's south pole

India just made spaceflight history in more ways than one. The Chandryaan-3 spacecraft's Vikram lander has successfully touched down on the Moon, marking the country's first successful landing on the lunar surface. It's just the fourth country to do so after the Soviet Union, US and China. More importantly, it's the first country to land near the Moon's south pole — a difficult target given the rough terrain, but important for attempts to find water ice. Other nations have only landed near the equator.

The landing comes four years after Chandryaan-2's Vikram lander effectively crashed. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) designed the follow-up with a "failure-based design" that includes more backup systems, a wider landing area and software updates.

HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE#Chandrayaan3's successful landing means that India is now the 4th country to soft-land a spacecraft on the Moon, and we are now the ONLY country to land successfully near the south pole of the Moon! 🇮🇳🌖

— ISRO Spaceflight (@ISROSpaceflight) August 23, 2023

Vikram will remain idle for hours to allow lunar dust to settle. Once the area is clear, the Pragyaan rover will deploy to take photos and collect scientific data. Combined, the lander and rover have five instruments meant to gauge the properties of the Moon's atmosphere, surface and tectonic activity. ISRO timed the landing for the start of a lunar day (about 28 Earth days) to maximize the amount of solar power available for Vikram and Pragyaan.

Chandryaan-3's success is a matter of national pride for India. The country has been eager to become a major power in spaceflight, and hopes to launch a space station around 2030. It can now claim to be one of just a handful of countries that have ever reached an extraterrestrial surface. The info gathered near the pole could also be crucial for future lunar missions from India and other countries, which could use any discovered ice for fuel, oxygen and water.

The landing also puts India ahead of other countries racing to land on the Moon, if not always for the first time. Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft crashed just two days earlier, and Israel expects a follow-up to its Beresheet lander in 2024. The United Arab Emirates also wants to land by 2024. The US, meanwhile, hopes to return people to the moon with its Artemis 3 mission in late 2025. These also din't include commercial efforts. There's a renewed interest in Earth's closest cosmic neighbor, and India is now part of that vanguard.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Amazon, Meta and others face scrutiny for allowing sellers to list recalled products

Internet retailers are receiving questions over their approaches to recalled products. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has sent letters to Amazon, Ebay, Meta, Walmart and other online shopping portals asking about their efforts to thwart sales of recalled and banned goods on their platforms. They're particularly concerned that Meta allegedly failed to stop Facebook Marketplace sales of two recalled child products, the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play sleeper and Boppy Newborn Lounger.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled the Rock 'n Play in 2019, and the Newborn Lounger in 2021. However, it says the takedown request rate (an average of 1,000 per month) hasn't slowed, and that there haven't been any "proactive measures" to bar sales. The Rock 'n Play has been linked to roughly 100 baby deaths. The members of Congress, including committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, are concerned that online marketplaces may be putting children and all users at risk by doing too little to stop these sales.

The House representatives ask all the companies to detail their current efforts to block sales of recalled products, including the presence of dedicated staff. The politicians also want to know what the companies will do in the future and whether there's any legal uncertainty about how to tackle the problems. The letters ask if the companies are willing to work with the committee on a solution to the problem. The companies have been told to respond no later than August 31st.

We've asked Amazon, Ebay, Walmart for comment. In a statement to Engadget, a Meta spokesperson says that sales of recalled goods aren't unique to Facebook Marketplace. The representative says Meta takes the issue "seriously" and pulls listings that violate its rules.

The enquiries come just as Amazon is facing a potential antitrust lawsuit over its sales practices, and amid greater effort to scrutinize tech giants' behavior. Meta has also been scaling back some of its shopping features, including the shutdowns of live shopping on Facebook and Instagram. Those closures are cost-cutting efforts, but they also leave the company's remaining commerce initiatives in a more fragile position.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Destiny 2's main storyline comes to an end with 'The Final Shape' on February 27th

After nearly a decade, the main Destiny story arc is nearing its conclusion. Bungie has revealed that Destiny 2: The Final Shape will be available on February 27th, 2024. You're tasked with nothing less than stopping The Witness from remaking the universe, and have to enter the Traveler itself to save the day. As you might guess, this involves both an amped-up story (Bungie has already confirmed the return of Cayde-6) as well as new gameplay mechanics.

To start, your proximity to the Traveler gives you access to new Light powers, including some that augment the abilities of nearby players. You'll also see new weapons, such as a support rifle that can switch to healing teammates. Enemies can use new powers of their own, too. The company is also rethinking how it tells stories with The Final Shape — instead of four seasons, you'll see three large episodes divided into a trio of smaller acts. There could be a stronger incentive to stick around as the story unfolds, in other words.

Bungie is still committed to finishing the current phase, and is kicking off the Season of the Witch this week. It sees Eris Morn take on Hive attributes to deal with a mounting threat. There are a few new systems to enhance your talents, and you can even craft hard-to-get exotic weapons after they've been unlocked through missions.

Season 23 (that is, the season starting in November) will make it easier to complete cooperative events. There will be a dedicated Fireteam Finder to locate buddies for a mission, and everyone can boost to the Light level of the most advanced player in the team.

The Final Shape isn't necessarily the end of Destiny 2. It does tie together many of the loose ends that have emerged since 2014, however. It also reflects Bungie's determination to evolve its brand — it's moving past Destiny to produce a Marathon follow-up and other projects.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Microsoft will bring PC Game Pass to NVIDIA's GeForce Now on August 24th

Microsoft is acting on its promise to bring PC Game Pass to NVIDIA's GeForce Now service. The companies have announced that Game Pass and Microsoft Store titles will be available to stream on GeForce Now starting August 24th. Not every title will be playable right away, but this will give Game Pass subscribers access to releases like Deathloop and No Man's Sky through NVIDIA's platform.

The two companies have been forging a partnership for a while. Microsoft struck a deal with NVIDIA in February to bring Xbox games to GeForce Now for 10 years, and the first title (Gears 5) arrived in May. Bethesda's first games, including Doom Eternal and the Wolfenstein reboots, surfaced earlier this month. In that sense, PC Game Pass just expands the selection further.

The pact was announced as part of Microsoft's bid to get regulatory approval for its purchase of Activision Blizzard. In theory, this shows that Microsoft won't have unfair dominance over cloud gaming. The company also plans to sell Activision Blizzard game streaming rights to Ubisoft to address UK officials' concerns, and has been signing smaller cloud deals in recent months.

It may seem odd to access one streaming service's games through another, but there may be advantages. GeForce Now is aimed at enthusiasts who want maximum visual quality and reduced lag, with the Ultimate tier supporting 4K at 120 frames per second. If your PC and internet connection are up to the task, Game Pass might shine on GeForce Now where it would otherwise be limited.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Apple Watch Ultra falls to a new low of $700

Now's a good moment to get a smartwatch that can easily handle your end-of-summer hikes. Amazon is selling the Apple Watch Ultra with a green Alpine Loop at a new all-time low price of $700, or $100 off, after a checkout voucher. That's the same price as a 45mm Series 8 in steel, making it the obvious choice if you want more rugged Apple wristwear.

The Apple Watch Ultra remains the company's most powerful smartwatch, and it's the clear pick if you're an outdoor adventurer. The large, extra-bright screen makes it easy to read even in direct sunlight, and the added water resistance is helpful for recreational dives. The action button also comes in handy for marking hike waypoints or starting the next leg of a run. And it's hard to ignore the extra battery life — this watch can last an entire weekend without a charge, depending on how you use it.

You'll need an iPhone to even consider the Apple Watch Ultra, of course. Its size may also be off-putting if you have thin wrists or simply prefer sleeker timepieces. There's also the question of timing — Apple might introduce a refreshed Ultra at an event that could be just weeks away. If you're more interested in value than having the absolute latest model, though, this discount is hard to top.

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

'Half-Life 2' is getting an unofficial RTX remaster

Valve may not have touched the Half-Life franchise in over a decade apart from releasing its VR-only game Alyx, but that isn't stopping enthusiasts from giving the game a visual overhaul. NVIDIA has unveiled a community-led Half-Life 2 RTX: An RTX Remix Project that, as the name implies, will remaster the classic shooter for PCs with GeForce RTX graphics. The team isn't just adding ray tracing, though — this is an attempt to modernize the overall look and feel of the game.

The ray-traced lights are the star attraction, of course, but the modders are also using an early version of RTX Remix to add extra model detail (through Valve's Hammer editor) and rework materials with physical-based rendering properties. The result is what you'd expect. Where the original Half-Life 2 graphics look flat and otherwise dated, the RTX port is moodier and far more detailed. You might want to spend extra time inspecting Dr. Kleiner's desk or the pet headcrab Lamarr. Not surprisingly, the refresh makes use of additional NVIDIA tech like DLSS 3 upscaling, Reflex anti-lag and RTX IO GPU-accelerated storage.

The project is only just getting started, and there's no tentative release date. Right now, this is more of a marketing showcase than a practical release. It comes alongside news of DLSS 3.5, which uses AI to improve ray-traced light quality by generating pixels between sampled rays. Titles like Alan Wake 2 and Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty will support the feature on launch.

The unofficial port is notable all the same. Existing RTX conversions like those for Portal and Quake II are pretty, but limited by either the age of a game or its relative scale. Half-Life 2 set a new standard for modern first-person shooters between its tightly integrated story, expansive (and seamless) world and physics-driven gameplay. Now, it's getting an upgrade that could keep it relevant on modern PCs.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

YouTube wants to benefit from AI-generated music without the copyright headaches

YouTube is quickly becoming a home for AI-generated music, and the service is trying to strike a balance between the technology's fans and the labels eager to protect their copyrights. The company and partners like Universal Music Group (UMG) have unveiled a set of principles for AI music. In theory, the approach encourages adoption while keeping artists paid.

To start, YouTube maintains that "AI is here" and that it must have a "responsible" strategy. Accordingly, it's forming a Music AI Incubator that will influence the company's strategy. UMG and artists it represents (including Rosanne Cash, Yo Gotti and Frank Sinatra's estate) will help gather insights from YouTube's AI experiments.

YouTube also says AI music must include "appropriate protections" against copyright violations, and must also provide "opportunities" for partners who want to get involved. While the video giant hasn't detailed what this will entail, it suggests it will build on the Content ID system that helps rights holders flag their material. On top of this, YouTube claims it will scale its content policies and safety structure to adapt to AI. The firm already has systems in place to catch copyright abuse, misinformation and other violations, but intends to pour more resources into those methods.

The principles are currently vague and don't do much to change YouTube's stance. More details are due in the months ahead, however, including policies, particular technologies and monetization for creators.

Generative AI is increasingly popular for unauthorized collaborations and mashups (including for UMG artists like Drake and Frank Sinatra), but it's also finding legitimate uses. The surviving members of The Beatles are using AI to create a 'final' song from a John Lennon recording, while electronic artist Holly Herndon covered Dolly Parton using an AI voice. UMG itself is exploring AI-made soundscapes. YouTube's principles could help it profit from legal productions while dodging lawsuits from artists and labels worried about ripoffs.

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Tesla's iPhone app can now control your car through Siri

You now have an easier way to control your Tesla from your iPhone. Not a Tesla Appnotes the latest version of Tesla's iOS software now supports Shortcuts actions, making some common tasks available through Siri in addition to on-screen taps and widgets. You can use Apple's voice assistant for simple tasks like opening the trunks or windows through to special modes. If you've ever wanted to activate Bioweapon Defense Mode by talking to your phone, it's now an option.

Shortcuts also enable automations, so you can string together multiple tasks or perform those tasks on set schedules. You can create a panic mode that flashes lights, honks the horn and closes windows all at the same time, for instance, or automatically warm the cabin before your morning commute.

The available commands aren't comprehensive, and include features you probably aren't going to use – you don't really need a shortcut for an emissions test. This could still be significantly more convenient than wading through the Tesla app, however. It's also notable that there isn't any official integration with Alexa or Google Assistant as of this writing, so Android users will have to put in more work to go hands-free.

This app update doesn't give Tesla cars a built-in voice control system. You'll need to turn to cars from the likes of Mercedes or Volvo if you want to talk directly to your vehicle. It does bring voice into the equation, though, and may be appreciated if you'd rather not wade through the official app to handle common functions.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at