Charging our devices is part of everyday life, but the unsightly cables, scrambling to find a charger, and frustration that comes with forgetting to plug your phone in is something we can all do without.
Wireless charging can help fix all this. As the future of charging evolves, the newest smart devices no longer need to be plugged into a small cable. Simply placing them on a special mat will allow them to absorb a charge. In the future, wireless charging may even be possible just by being near a charger, meaning you won’t even need to take your device out of your pocket to charge it. We’re not there yet though, so for now, let’s weigh the pros and cons of today’s wireless charging to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you.
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How does wireless charging work?
Instead of plugging your device into a charging cable, a special wireless charging pad transfers energy to your device using electromagnetic induction (also known as “inductive coupling”). It doesn’t replace charging with a cable — all phones that support wireless charging can still be charged the traditional way.
Which devices work with wireless charging?
A number of Android phones and two Apple device series — iPhone 8 and iPhone X — support native wireless charging. Most new mobile devices from Apple are expected to have wireless charging capabilities, and you can also add this feature using a wireless charging adaptor for any iPhone, 5s to 7 Plus. Android phones that support native wireless charging include the Samsung Galaxy Range, Sony Xperia, LG Optimus G Pro, Nokia Lumia, and Motorola Moto.
Pros of wireless charging
Here’s why wireless charging may be a good choice for you.
Just one cable: With wireless charging, all you need is one cable plugged into the charging mat — no more multiple cables for multiple devices. Plus, the universal standard — the Qi wireless charger — is compatible with all devices. So, wireless charging for iPhones is the same for Androids. You can use the same charging mat for all your devices.
Convenience: Just place your phone face up on the mat and it starts charging. That’s all you have to do!
Charge anywhere: Wireless charging mats have already started showing up at hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops. They are also more secure than plugging your device into an unfamiliar charging cable.
Clutter-free charging: Wireless charging means exactly that — no wires! You’ll get rid of the cables on your desk, bedside table, and in your car (in-car wireless charging is available too). Some furniture companies are even building wireless charging into their furniture, eliminating the need for a charging mat on your table or countertop.
Auto-off: Once the device is fully-charged, the wireless charger shuts off, resulting in saved energy, a safer charge, and less need to worry about overheating your battery.
Less wear on cables: You can still use cables to charge your phone when you need to, but using them less frequently makes frayed cables a thing of the past.
Cons of wireless charging
It may seem like a no-brainer to go wireless. But factor in these considerations before you make the switch.
It’s slow: Wireless charging typically takes 30-80% longer to fully charge your device than a cable. Keep in mind: how you place your device on the mat can affect how long it takes to charge. And even in an ideal setup, 20% of the power running through your device will be wasted — not great in terms of conserving energy.
You can’t use your phone: Your device has to stay on the mat while it’s charging, meaning you can’t pick it up and use it in the way you can when it’s plugged into a charging cable.
It’s more expensive: Wireless chargers are a relatively new technology with a hefty price tag, especially compared to cables. Depending on the size, they can cost anywhere between $40 and $100.
Pro tip: Larger pads can charge multiple devices, potentially resulting in some cost savings.
As smart devices continue to advance, wireless charging will likely become the norm. Until then, weigh the pros and cons, and keep an eye on the latest phone accessories to help you decide if you’re ready for this new technology.