There is hands-down nothing more frustrating than trying to plug a smartphone, the king of consumer tech, into a charger. It really can be a deflating feeling, like parking your spaceship after a day of exploring the universe, just to get more gasoline.
It is the definition of first-world problems. Volta hears that complaint loud and clear.
The Indiegogo sweetheart has created a novel solution for charging your device. At about $20, give or take for different cable lengths, Volta uses the same MagSafe technology that made the early MacBook Pro so innovative. By separating the tip from the cable, you can not only charge super quick, but you never have to worry about orientation again.
In the package, Volta provides one very sturdy feeling nylon braided cable, and two tips of your choice from micro-USB, lighting, or Type-C. The small magnetic tips push right into the phone's port and stay there, ideally, indefinitely. Pushing the USB cable near the magnetic tip will cause it to connect, regardless of orientation, and give power to your device.
Additionally, if you buy extra tips, one cable will work with any of the devices that have it. Apple and Android can be friends and share the same USB cable. Also, because the tip is always in, it can also save your port from pocket lint and general degradation from taking a cable in and out. Finally, the tip is just that, a tip. So any device that uses that input can be made into a connected magnetic device.
But the Volta is not without flaws. An always in tip means you have to still use the supplied cable, or take the connection tip out and hope you don't lose something the size of a thumbtack. So you can upgrade all the chargers - for me, it was work, living room, and bedroom - to Volta's cable or find somewhere safe for your tip, whose magnetism starts to feel like a pitfall instead of a feature when it starts grabbing onto things in your pocket.
Not ideal. Also, it's worth noting that the cable does not support Type-C fast charging, a massive perk of new flagship smartphones.
All in all, the Volta charger is pretty, functional, and innovative. It's not explicitly using new technology or presenting a new concept to the world, but that shouldn't take away from the fact that it executes on its primary function. Wiggling a cable at your phone and having it connect gives me chills almost every time, but having to buy all new cables and losing out on fast charging on 2017 flagship phones - something Volta says they are addressing with their next version - is what keeps Volta from hitting a perfect score.
We give the Volta Charger, 4 out of 5 boxes.