Wireless charging remains an elusive concept. It pops up here and there, often for mobile devices using special cases, and yet many solutions are painfully incomplete or too cumbersome for consumers to care. The Dell Latitude 7285, a new 2-in-1 business laptop announced yesterday at CES, uses a clever method to bypass wireless charging’s pernicious roadblocks to deliver a true solution. Dell claims it’s the first fully fleshed-out version of the feature for laptops.
The trick is in the keyboard. The Latitude 7285 is a 2-in-1 hybrid. That means 100 percent of its components fit inside the tablet display, which can be attached to one of three accompanying keyboards to create a clamshell laptop. One of these keyboards communicates with Dell’s new wireless charging pad. So when you place the 7285 down on the mat with the keyboard attached, the power bypasses the keyboard and goes straight to the computer. It’s wireless charing with a caveat, but wireless charging nonetheless.
Sure, this setup is not as elegant as we might like. For one, the keyboard doesn’t contain an extra battery, so it can’t be charged up to give the 7285 some extra juice on the go. It really only exists to act as a wireless charging base, while another one of the attachable keyboard accessories Dell is selling for the device does contain a power pack with about four hours of extra battery life.
Why the two keyboard products could not be combined would seem to be an engineering challenge Dell is not eager to elaborate upon. But as it stands, this method certainly beats many of the other wireless charging options out there. The company expects to ship the device in May, but has yet to announce hard specs or pricing. Dell also plans on announcing wireless charging compatibility for other devices in its product lineup later this year.