It’s quite fitting that the first blogpost of the year is one from our readers. Starting as we mean to go on, we do thrive because of what our readers contribute and share with the Nokia Community. Thanks guys!
Anyway, this MNB RG is by Janne who emailed us a couple of days ago actually but I missed the mail at the time. Janne looks at the original Nokia accessory, the Nokia DT-910 wireless charging stand. The difference with the plate/fat boy is that you the screen of the phone is easier to see, a perfect accompaniment to certain apps such as the ‘sleeping screen’ update.
Nokia released an interesting “sleeping screen” update for the NFC enabled Nokia wireless charging stand DT-910 (http://mynokiablog.com/2012/12/27/nokia-update-brings-sleeping-screen-to-lumias/). I recently picked up one of these DT-910 charging stands, so because there was some confusion as to how it works, I decided to write a little review. No, this is not a Nokia sleeping screen of old, but it is an interesting accessory nonetheless.
DT-910 is obviously one of four wireless charging products from Nokia and its partners that launched with the Lumia 920 and 820, others are the DT-900 wireless charging plate, Nokia/Fatboy wireless charging pillow (basically just a high-quality beanbag-inspired pillow with a color-matched DT-900 inside) and the Nokia/JBL PowerUp speaker that has both NFC for music connection and wireless charging on top. DT-910 has wireless charging and NFC too. The regular DT-900 and Nokia/Fatboy products do not have NFC, so they don’t have any other function than charging.
In the included fair photo of mine you can see the Nokia/Fatboy charging pillows and a blue DT-900 charging plate on the back of the table, in the middle on top of the cardboard box is the wide Nokia/JBL PowerUp wireless charging speaker and on the front small, round Nokia/JBL PlayUp NFC speakers that don’t have wireless charging, but do have NFC connection for music.
OK, so back to the DT-910 wireless charging stand. While these other products come in a multitude of colors as you can see from that expo photo, the more business-like DT-910 comes in black or white only, glossy on the base and behind, matte/soft on the front area where the phone lands. On the base there are these soft ridges where the bottom of the phone lands, I tried with both a Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, both land firmly and sit firmly on the base even when tapping the screen while charging, but it is also very easy to pick up as it doesn’t lock anywhere, just literally stands there supported by the ridges and the back of the stand. It doesn’t feel like it would trip sideways at all, very firm design. It uses the same white power supply as all DT-900/Fatboy, but the cable is color-matched of course (black in my case).
A silicone cover on the Lumia 920 didn’t bother, the charging works just fine through the cover. On both the 920 and 820 (with wireless charging cover) charging only works in vertical (portrait) position due to the fact that unlike DT-900, which has three inductive coils inside in two different orientations, the DT-910 stand only has one inductive coil inside (http://mynokiablog.com/2012/12/10/nokia-dt910-charging-stand-teardown/) aimed at vertical charging. Attempts at horizontal charging even with something to raise the phone higher were met with only intermittent charging results, it couldn’t hold the field. So, it works vertically only. On the Lumia 820 charging while upside down (standing on the head) also worked, although not on the longer Lumia 920 – not that there is any point in doing that.
Apart from offering support for the Lumia which allows using the user-interface, the stand differs from the DT-900/Fatboy charging plate with its NFC feature. This actually seems to be unique amongst all the wireless chargers from Nokia and its partners, only DT-910 currently seems to support the NFC feature I am about to discuss, the JBL speaker only supports NFC music connectivity if Internet reports are correct. But DT-910 has the ability to launch stuff via NFC. As said before, Nokia just released an update for their proprietary “Nokia accessories” app, which adds new functionality for the DT-910 stand. To get this update to work, though, I had to make sure “accessories” was updated, NFC was enabled and reboot the phone first, though.
Once all that was set, I could make the DT-910 stand and Lumia talk to each other via NFC. On the stand the NFC tap area is placed in such a manner that simply placing the phone on the charger won’t launch the NFC feature. You can tell where the tap area is from the small NFC logo on the front of the base of the DT-910 stand. Tap here with the top of the Lumia (or wherever NFC is depending on model, on the Lumia 920 I just tap with top end where the Nokia logo is) and Nokia accessories starts whatever function you have set for it. Unfortunately, so far I haven’t found any way to set NFC connections as trusted, so each time I do tap the NFC the phone also dialogs for a confirmation. An unnecessary step I hope to see go away in future updates. Unless someone can guide me otherwise?
Going to the phone’s settings and onwards to accessories you will now find settings for Charging Stand. Basically it allows you to select an app for the NFC function to start, you could open your favourite news app for instance and open it via NFC before placing the phone on the wireless charging stand. As a new feature there is also what we have here called the “sleeping screen” option, but officially known as Weather & Calendar, which is built-in to the Nokia accessories experience and offers a few further options. When you select this, you can also select which location’s weather to display (current GPS or manual choice) and whether to use Celsius or Fahrenheit and that’s about it. From the Nokia accessories app you can also choose to like them on Facebook and send feedback. I have included a combined screenshot, left is the actual “sleeping screen”, then the Nokia accessories settings menu and two right-most panes are the Charing Stand settings.
The Weather & Calendar app, once active, shows the time and the next calendar entry. These move from time to time so as to not burn on the screen. It is also supposed to show the weather, but I have been unable to get the weather part to work so far on any location home or abroad, language set both to Finnish or English (I even went as far as to install Nokia’s exclusive Weather Channel app to see if that makes a difference, it didn’t) – there just isn’t any weather displayed, although setting the weather location and measurement unit work just fine. Any help, guys? Also, you can change the brightness of the text by sliding on the screen, which works very smoothly.
Once Weather & Calendar is on and the phone is charging on the stand, the screen saver does not kick in (at least not in any normal period I tried), so it looks like it is genuinely useful as a table watch. The two-row time format is a bit hard to read, though, didn’t see any setting to change it. Also the capacitive Windows Phone button lights stay on. Do note that regular apps started via the NFC function do revert to screensaving/locking the phone normally, so they are less useful in that regard, going dark soon after last used.
Finally, for those asking, no the Weather & Calendar view does not show missed calls or text messages, I tried. Although of course at the time the message/call comes in, usual dialogs show, but then it reverts back to showing just the time, calendar and weather (for those whom the weather works). By the way, Weather & Settings does not appear as an app in the app list, so it can only be started via the NFC feature.
And that’s about it, for the Nokia DT-910 wireless charging stand. Like DT-900/Fatboy, it has a small LED on the front signalling wireless charging. It is a high-quality product for those who want to occasionally see/use the phone’s screen while wirelessly charging, with a bonus NFC function, usefulness of which remains to be seen in my eyes. I think the NFC potential is mostly up to future software updates from Nokia (and perhaps Microsoft regarding trusted NFC devices), there is potential there, but so far the experience is a bit simplistic with a niggle or two. On the upside, with the latest update, it is already much more useful than it was at first – so given time, I’d expect improvements.
Personally, I still think the colorful Nokia/Fatboy charging pillows are the greatest. There is just something about dropping a phone to sleep sweet dreams on a pillow… But the DT-910 does feel better than I expected in charging use, placing the phone on the soft ridges/back is very satisfying and it looks plenty smart. Nice contrast between a yellow phone and a black charging stand too. I think the basic DT-900 charging plate is the least satisfying of these three, it misses the charm of the pillow and the extra utility of the DT-910 charging stand.