SanDisk Ixpand Review: Works But At A Cost

One of the biggest iterations to smartphone technology, for me personally, was wireless charging. Device permitting, I use it all the time! Flagship devices with a glass back-face have looked to utilise Qi as a selling point for a while now, but it’s surprising how many people I speak to who don’t own a Qi wireless charging pad, and just use their  USB cable. Perhaps the SanDisk Ixpand will tempt them towards the Qi-side?

Sandisk Ixpand
+ FOR
  • Basic, minimalist design
  • 24W AC Adapter in tow
  • Speedy charging
- AGAINST
  • Expensive compared to the competition

Buy at Western Digital Store – £46.99

Disclaimer

The SanDisk Ixpand was sent to us by Western Digital, free of charge, in exchange for a full and fair review. WD have had no input into the review copy, nor have they seen an advance copy of the review prior to publishing. This review was completed after a one week review period.

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Overview

The SanDisk Ixpand sits neatly in the SanDisk accessories stack which is full of SD Cards, SSDs, USB Sticks, and other mobile device peripherals. Western Digital, who acquired SanDisk in 2016, continue to operate the brand that many smartphone enthusiasts will have fond memories of. SanDisk became the go-to manufacturer in the early days of SD Cards for many, and it’s nice to see them continuing to churn out products.

The SanDisk Ixpand itself is a relatively small, clean-looking 15W Qi wireless charging pad. The construction is largely ABS plastic from what I can tell, and it’s matte white in terms of colour. There’s a USB Type-C input on the side edge, and a white rubberised stability ring on the main pad to hole the device in place when charging. That’s it – clean!

Specifications

  • Dimensions (L x W x H) – 100mm x 13.5mm x 100mm
  • Compatibility:
    • AirPods Pro
    • iPhone 8 and up
    • Samsung Galaxy S7 and up
    • Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and up
    • Any other Qi-compatible phone
  • Connector – USB Type-C

In The Box

  • Ixpand Charger
  • SanDisk AC Adapter – 24W
  • USB Type-C cable

Performance & Use

Off the bat, a nice little addition to the SanDisk Ixpand setup is that the included AC adapter is Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 compatible. So, even if you don’t have a device right now that can make use of wireless charging, if you have a Quick Charge 3.0 phone (almost any Snapdragon-enabled device over the last few years) you can at least get some speedy wired charging!

Obviously, that’s of secondary concern. The SanDisk Ixpand is a Qi wireless charging pad first and foremost. Most smartphones that support Qi wireless charging do so at 15W, which is what this device is rated at.

The included 1.5-metre USB cable should be enough for most to get from an outlet to their pad’s position, and thankfully it uses a Type-C cable for connection (with Type-A at the AC adapter end). With some wireless chargers I’ve used, the pad is so narrow so as to look more aesthetically pleasing, the cable tugs on the pad causing it to lift up at the non-wired side. The SanDisk Ixpand doesn’t have that problem. It is weighty enough to sit neatly on a desk and deep enough to give the stability required.

Speaking of stability, if you’re anything like me, when using Qi pads previously, getting the correct positioning can be a pain. If you have a glass-backed device and a glossy Qi pad, it can be a pain to keep the device in place once you have found the sweet spot. The SanDisk Ixpand has a nice rubberised ring around the circumference of the unit to hold any device in place. It elevates the device perhaps 0.5mm, but that doesn’t seem to hinder charging performance.

It Just Works

I’ve left the charging performance to the end of this section as it just gets the job done. It charged my Huawei P30 Pro and Mate 20 Pro without incident, and even older devices like the Lumia 950 or some no-brand smartwatches I have worked just fine too. As I say, it just works, even with phone cases on both Huawei devices.

Final Thoughts

Despite the fact that I personally like the design (minimalist if you insert it into a desk!), it is difficult for me to fully endorse the SanDisk Ixpand. It works flawlessly, that isn’t the issue. My only quibble with it is the price. At £46.99 from the WD Store, consumers might be paying double the price of other competing devices. We’ve reviewed some of those other Qi devices too.

So, why would you pick this device. SanDisk has a proven track record in the market, whilst other Amazon-no-name brands might not. Western Digital also offer a 2-year limited warranty on the unit too. Whilst this is standard, again I’d expect to have a more pleasing experience from a reputable brand like Western Digital, than with Amazon direct.

The long and short here is that this Qi pad just works. For me, every device (construction notwithstanding) should include Qi charging – I love it, and I can’t wait for the speeds to increase.

About Craig Bradshaw

Tech enthusiast and Editor-in-Chief of MobileTechTalk

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