Modern technology can sometimes be frustratingly messy. The alluring promise that wireless charging might allow for a minimalist environment is somewhat spoiled by the necessity of wires. A small pad that needs its own outlet takes up valuable real estate. Surely there’s a more elegant solution? Enter the TaoTronics LED desk lamp, which cleverly folds speedy wireless charging technology into an angular, slightly futuristic-looking design with versatile touch controls. It’s everything you could want in a desk lamp, with wireless charging thrown in on top.
Angular design, different lighting modes
The TaoTronics LED desk lamp design isn’t exactly original. It’s large, standing around 17 inches tall, but it’s not very heavy. It is stable, though, because there’s a big round base, around 7 inches across.
A chiseled, hollow metallic arm connects to a plastic hinge in the base that can turn 90 degrees and swivel back and forth 150 degrees. At the top there’s another plastic hinge fixed into another metal arm which contains the LED strip. The head can swivel through 180 degrees or tilt up and down 135 degrees.
Whatever angle you seek, this lamp can accommodate, so it’s always easy to shine light on what you’re doing or angle it away from you for background illumination.
Things get even better with a simple touch sensitive power button on the base, flanked by a mode button, and a curved, touch-sensitive slider underneath. Tap the mode button to cycle through different color modes, starting with a clinical white with hint of blue, and going through to a warm orange that’s perfect for winding down at night. There are five different modes in all.
It’s everything you could want in a desk lamp, with wireless charging thrown in on top.
The touch-sensitive slider lets you easily increase the LED’s brightness, with seven levels to choose from. There’s a sun icon at either end and ten circles between, which light up in twos. Being able to adjust the tone and brightness like this makes the lighting extremely versatile, allowing you to change the mood in your office quickly and easily. The lamp even remembers your settings and preserves them for the next time you turn it on.
We have reservations about the combination of silver metal and white plastic — it’s not that attractive. The lamp is not going to blend in seamlessly with every office setting. The lamp doesn’t stick out in low light environments; all you really see is the glow it’s emitting and the blue array of the brightness control. But when it’s sitting idle in the sunshine during the day, there’s a bit too much white plastic on show and the base section looks too busy.
Fast wireless charging
Part of the reason the base section can seem crowded is because it includes a built-in wireless charging pad. Ever since Apple embraced wireless charging in its latest trio of iPhones, we’ve seen a sharp upswing in interest in the technology. There are lots of great wireless chargers on the market, but hiding them inside lamps is a smart move because it allows a single cable to serve lighting and charging, requiring the use of only one outlet.
Ikea toyed with the idea of putting wireless charging into furniture some time ago, but at the time few phones supported the technology and Ikea’s offerings were slow to charge. The furniture company still offers a selection of furniture with wireless charging built-in, but they’re relatively expensive.
TaoTronics has improved functionally, though it may not look as good as Ikea’s options. The wireless charging pad is clearly marked and there’s a soft, gray, silicone ring that indicates the charging sweet spot. It gently grips your phone, so it won’t go sliding off if you bump the desk.
With the ability to output up to 10W and supporting the ubiquitous Qi standard, the TaoTronics lamp can charge your phone up at maximum wireless charging speed, which differs from phone to phone. The Ikea wireless charging lamp is limited to 5W.
The slider is for brightness, and you have seven different brightness levels to choose from.
To round out the bounty of handy features, the TaoTronics lamp also has a USB charging port concealed in the back of the main arm. It can output up to 5W, and it’s ideal for older phones that lack wireless charging functionality, though you’ll need a cable to use with it. This port can also be handy when you want to charge and use your phone at the same time, which is tricky to do when it’s lying on a wireless charging pad.
The TaoTronics LED desk lamp comes with a power adapter and the cable slots effortlessly into the base, making it easy to maneuver into place. Lengthwise, the cable is exactly right for an outlet or power strip directly under your desk.
Price and availability
If you like the look of this lamp, you can snag one at Amazon for $40, which is reasonable. TaoTronics also offers a version that’s similar, minus the wireless charging for $10 less. There’s also a more compact design in black for $50, which does all the same stuff as the one we’re reviewing here — it looks nicer, and may blend into your home easier than the white model.
We’re not in the habit of getting excited about lamps, but after a week with the thoughtfully-designed TaoTronics desk lamp, we’re genuinely enamored. It’s not the most attractive lamp in the world, but it has already proven incredibly useful, and staked a strong claim for permanent residency on our desk.DT Editors' Rating: 4/5