The Pros and Cons of Wireless Charging
This post was originally published on March 1, 2019 and updated on February 23, 2020.
When wireless charging was first announced in Apple phones back in 2017, people were buzzing. Apple wasn’t the first company to build Qi wireless charging into smartphones, but as one of the most popular smartphone companies in the world, they received a lot of attention about it. Fast forward to today. It’s 2020 and while the hype has sizzled, wireless charging is now available in more smartphones now than ever before.
According to Powermat, the self-described largest wireless charging network in the world, more than ninety smartphones on the market today have wireless charging capabilities.
So what’s the deal with wireless charging? How does it really work and should you be using it to charge up your smartphone? We’re taking a look at the pros and cons to help inform your decision.
How wireless charging works
Wireless charging uses a base station or charging pad to transmit power using electromagnetic waves. These waves are then picked up by a receiver coil embedded in the back of your phone that transforms the waves into electricity. This electricity is then used to charge the smartphone.
When you center your smartphone onto a wireless charging pad, the only thing you’ll notice is the change of your battery icon from its standard mode to a battery with a bolt in the middle, signalling your phone is actively being charged.
Wireless charging is also referred to as Qi charging or Qi technology. The Qi standard was introduced in 2008, so the technology is relatively new. Qi uses both resonant and inductive charging, of which the latter requires devices to be close to each other in order to work.
Advantages of wireless charging
- Less cords. This one’s a no brainer. With wireless technology, you don’t need to carry around your USB-c charger wherever you go. You just need one cable that is connected to the charging mat.
- Universal compatibility. Qi charging is the universal standard, so if you have multiple different wireless capable devices, you can use the same charging pad without any issue.
- Safer connections. Since the charging is all occurring inside an enclosed environment and without cords, there’s no corrosion because there is no exposure to water or oxygen. This also means that there is less risk of electrical faults.
- More durable. Without having to regularly plug or unplug, there’s also no wear and tear on the smartphone sockets. If you alternate between charging wirelessly and with cables, this also means less wear and tear on your cables.
- No overheating. When your smartphone is fully charged, the wireless charger automatically shuts off. This means less energy, a safer charge, and no overheated battery.
Disadvantages of wireless charging
- Not exactly wireless. When people hear the term wireless, they immediately think that they can move around pretty freely. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with wireless charging. Whereas with a cord you are at least free to move around the diameter of the cord, with currently wireless charging your smartphone has to stay on top of the charging pad in order to continuously charge.
- You aren’t able to use your phone. See above. The phone needs to stay on the pad in order to continue charging.
- Slower charging. The efficiency of Qi charging is still lower than cable charging, so it takes more time to charge wirelessly using the same amount of power. Wireless charging supposedly takes 30-80% longer to fully charge your device than a cable. It’s unsure whether these numbers are taking into consideration fast charging capabilities on newer iPhones or not.
- More expensive. As a pretty new technology, it’s more costly to purchase a wireless charging pad, especially when new smartphones come with a corded charger in the box.
- You have to pay closer attention to your phone. Maybe the biggest disadvantage that is often overlooked by people is the need to pay closer attention to charging your phone. This is because, if you pick up your phone to quickly use it while it’s being charged, you have to be much more deliberate when you put it back down. People are used to picking their phone up and putting it down without much thought. With a cord connected, it’s not a big deal. If you put your phone back down absentmindedly and it’s not perfectly placed on the pad, it’s not charging.
Enable wireless charging on your Rokform case
Did you know you there are a couple of ways to quickly enable wireless charging on your Rokform case? The first option is simply to pop the magnet that's included out of the case.
You can also charge wirelessly with the magnet still in the case using Rokform’s Magnetic RokLock Plug. By removing the existing Neodymium magnet, which rests in the center of the phone, and using the magnet strategically placed inside of the Magnetic RokLock plug, customers will be able to easily charge their phones wireless while keeping their Rokform cases (and magnetic technology!) on their phones.
Read more about the Magnetic RokLock Plug here.
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