Journey launched its new ALTI wireless charging desk mat for the first time a couple weeks ago. Looking to standout from the plethora of other desk mats out there, Journey’s ALTI delivers a reversible solution with a modular design, built-in wireless MagSafe charging, and some other interesting tricks tucked under the vegan leather surface. We had a chance to give it a run for its money over the last couple of weeks or so and now it’s time to weigh in as part of the latest entry in the Tested with 9to5Toys series.
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Hands-on with Journey’s new ALTI wireless charging desk mat
Journey might be best known for its leather iPhone cases, but earlier this month, it unveiled its new desktop accessory. In some ways the ALTI is very much your typical desk mat, but not so much in others. It delivers a desk mat to rest your keyboard on, doubling as a mouse pad of sorts with a reversible design made of vegan leather with a felt treatment on the flip side.
Alongside a hideaway to store one-off notes or sheets of paper out of sight, the real element that stands ALTI apart from your average desk mat is the modular charging panel. The border of ALTI’s main desk mat is a magnetic one, effectively allowing users to attach and detach the charging panel to ether side. This panel wirelessly delivers up to 15W in total (7.5W to iPhone, also compatible with other Qi-enabled handsets) and also features a small indented divot for your AirPods, or other wireless charging-ready earbuds.
Here’s a closer look at the spec sheet:
- Modular design with wireless charging for phone and earbuds
- Reversible design with a hideaway for your stray paper and notes
- Premium vegan leather and felt
- Flexibility to use and place the wireless charger as required on left or right side
- USB-C input
As we mentioned above, the ALTI is very much your typical desk pad designed to offer a streamlined desktop, organizing your keyboard and mouse to one central work surface. Measuring 14.6 inches by 30.7 inches wide and 0.15 in thickness, it will fit nicely on most desks outside of particularly shallow table tops and presents a neat and elegant solution that tends to elevate the look of just about any space I tested it on.
The splash-proof vegan leather feels soft to the touch and actually looks like a nice, albeit thin, piece of leather, easily tracking my Apple Magic Mouse and keeping the companion keyboard in place without sliding all over the place. The same goes for the felt on the flip side, although it, as expected, likely won’t withstand a coffee spill as gracefully. The ALTI doesn’t bring that sort of puffy classic brown leather approach reminiscent of a top floor office on some high-end CEO’s desktop, but rather a more modern approach that delivers much of the same base functionality while taking it up a notch or two with integrated tech.
This is where the charging panel comes in – a separate piece not much wider than your average iPhone that magnetically connects to either side of the main ALTI desk mat. It is wrapped in the same vegan leather found on the desk mat for a near seamless look with its own USB-C connector (cable included) to provide a total of 15W of power – 7.5W to iPhone and 5W to AirPods/other Qi-enabled earbuds.
You’ll find a slightly indented, rounded rectangle to rest your earbuds case just below the small cutout to allow the LED charging indicator to shine through, and just above the round raised MagSafe landing pad for your smartphone. I immediately thought of the FreePower gear out there (it offers complete freedom to rest your gear anywhere on a given charging surface) when I first laid eyes on the ALTI, but quickly came to appreciate the dedicated and organized positioning the ALTI promotes – sure, it might have been nice to be able to just haphazardly drop my tech anywhere on the charging panel to start juicing up, but there’s just something nice about the organized look and feel of the setup when everything is neatly in their dedicated charging zones.
The charging panel presents very much like it appears in the imagery – the slightly debossed Journey logo centered along the bottom is a nice touch for me here – but it is expectedly a little bit thicker than the actual desk mat. While it might have been nice to have a completely level surface carrying across both elements of the modular system, the strip of felt that wraps around the magnetic edge of the desk mat gently slopes up to create that effect anyway. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted the actual desk mat to be any thicker and it is to be expected that a charging pad would need to be at least a little bit more substantial to house the charging tech under the hood. It is, however, still thinner than your average Qi charging pad, or at least compared to those I have laying around the office right now –the base is barely thicker than Apple’s MagSafe charging puck, for example.
The ALTI wireless charging desk mat is a compelling solution to streamlining a work surface that looks good doing it. While some folks might prefer their desk mat to be completely tether-free, ridding the main surface of their desktop of as many cables as possible in favor of a traditional mat and some kind of heads-up MagSafe stand resting further back on the table, I have certainly enjoyed my time with ALTI and will continue to. There’s just something satisfying about having a nice vegan leather resting pad housing my most important daily tech and desktop input devices. It has been a pleasure to wake up in the morning to a tidy and organized work surface, drop my iPhone 14 on its dedicated charging pad, and get to work with everything neatly laid out in front of me.
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