What’s it take for us to pull up a year-old phone and start looking at it in a new light? A software update? Sure – but it had better be a major one. A newly discounted price? Again, possibly, but you’d have to be practically giving the handset away for us to spend much time on an aging model. But what about new hardware functionality? The idea of a smartphone picking up some new hardware tricks months after it launches is a pretty tantalizing one, maybe most because it just so rarely happens. But here we are in March of 2016, a full year after Microsoft announced the Lumia 640 XL, checking out a hack that brings wireless charging to the phone.
What’s interesting about the Lumia 640 XL is that under the phone’s removable backplate, you’ll find the connectors needed for interfacing with a wireless charging back. Only problem is, the 640 XL didn’t ship with such a backplate, nor did Microsoft make one available as an optional accessory.
It’s taken this long, but someone’s finally stepped up to fill that void, as an eBay seller starts making available modified Lumia 640 XL rear covers that include the absent wireless charging hardware.
The only real problem is that the wiring is super hacky: while the shell does its job and brings wireless charging to the Lumia 640 XL, it lacks a cleanly engineered spring-loaded set of contacts that interface with the smartphone’s charging circuitry, so you’re left to manually thread a set of four bare wires to the phone’s contact points. Once hooked up, everything should work fine, but it’s far from the most graceful solution we’ve ever seen.
Wireless charging back panels for the Lumia 640 XL are selling for $50, with free US shipping.