We’re big proponents putting your best travel photos out on display, and while most of your shots will hang on the wall in traditional frames, there’s only one frame you should get for your nightstand: Twelve South’s PowerPic.
Made by the same company that brought us the must-own AirFly, The PowerPic is a simple, unassuming 5x7 picture frame made from New Zealand pine, but lurking behind the frame’s glass is a Qi wireless charging pad that can charge most modern smartphones while you sleep. In practice, it combines two things that you probably already have on your nightstand anyway into a single, space-saving device.
Setting It Up
The PowerPic cleverly hides its USB power cord inside the stand on the back, so if you arrange it near the back of your nightstand, you’d be hard-pressed to ever see the cord.
Putting in your favorite photo is, surprisingly enough, no different than a normal picture frame. Just twist open the mounting holders, remove the back (which features a round hump with air holes to keep the charging components from overheating, and put your 5x7 photo into place behind the glass (yes, it’s real glass, not plastic). The only real downside is that the PowerPic doesn’t work turned on its side, so the photos you choose will need to be oriented vertically.
When I got my PowerPic, I celebrated by loading up ShutterFly and printing a bunch of my favorite personal and travel photos. At only a few cents per 5x7 print, it didn’t make much sense to pay shipping for a single photo, and now I keep all the extras in an envelope in my nightstand drawer. Any time I want to freshen up my bedroom’s look, I can swap in a new photo in a matter of seconds.
While I can’t say I’ve done this personally, some of Twelve South’s sample photos show people using the same printed photo that they use for their smartphone’s wallpaper, creating a really unique visual when it comes time to charge your device.
Ease of Use
Once the sun goes down and the lights go off, the PowerPic becomes one of the better wireless charging pads I’ve used. While it sometimes struggled to charge my phone with a thick case on it, it’s been great with a thin case (officially, Twelve South recommends your case by 3mm or thinner).
Your phone sits atop the lower lip of the frame, making it easy to find the right charging spot by touch, even if you’re in a pitch black room. And since it props up your phone like a charging stand, it’s easy to roll over and check the time if you wake up during the night.
Recharge Your Memories
Functionally, the PowerPic is no different than a regular picture frame. Or a regular Qi charging stand, for that matter. It does a perfectly good job at both of those tasks. But I’ll gladly purchase any device that clears some cables and clutter off my nightstand, and since I bought the PowerPic, my typical nightstand Qi charger hasn’t left the drawer. The fact that it’s a great showcase for your travel photos? Consider that a bonus.