On Wireless Charging

A wireless charging Powermat in Starbucks

The other day, I was at Starbucks, and I noticed this thing:

A wireless charging Powermat in Starbucks
The fat cat sat on the Powermat

Over the country, wireless chargers are starting to pop up in Starbucks, with some dongles to plug into your phones. One of my friends had a wireless charging enabled phones, and it seemed really cool when he put his phone on the mat. But it’s a bit more complicated than that.

By the way, please don’t take my opinion too seriously, as I don’t really know much about wireless charging. Especially not Powermat. I’m just speaking from the little personal experience that I have.

Overall Usability

Overall, wireless charging seems to be advertising with:

  • Ease of use
  • Wow factor
  • NO MORE WIRES

In the end, wireless charging does mostly live up to these standards, but there are a few tradeoffs that you have to make.

Before I go on, I just want to say that wireless charging works. But not that well. First, your phone has to be really close to the wireless charging point. My friend had a case on, and even that interfered with the ability to charge wirelessly when not placed exactly correctly. And this leads me to my next point: wireless charging needs proper placement. If your phone is not placed correctly, then it might not charge, or might charge slowly.

At this point, it’s looking like wired charging might actually be more effective than wireless, as you can actually move around with it, as long as you’re in the range of the wire.

Efficiency

This is one of the major drawbacks of wireless charging, as it’s not really all that efficient. Placing your phone on a wireless charging spot probably means that you’re losing at least 20% of your electricity through the air. Most times, it’s even higher. Much of this excess energy can be passed off as heat, so you’re also making your electronics hotter while charging wirelessly.

I know that there are many other devices that run hotter and are less efficient. However, we are passing up an already very efficient power solution: wires.

Simplicity

Wireless charging is supposed to be simple. Place your phone down on a wireless charging pad and charge your phone. However, the fragmentation of the standards of wireless charging make this difficult.

There seem to be more standards than there are actual wired connectors. The fragmentation of the market is very unattractive at this point.

Conclusions

Wireless charging is the new thing around here, but with the efficiency, fragmentation, and the overall experience, I don’t find much of a reason to recommend it. There’s not really much of a reason why to use wireless charging as compared to regular wires.

If you appreciate a feature that might impress your friends once in a while, than you can get a phone that supports wireless charging. For all the other people, I don’t really see why you would need it.

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