The Pros and Cons of Wireless Charging
by Krista A.
More and more smartphones that are being released support wireless charging, including the most popular models like the Apple iPhone (8 and up) and Samsung Galaxy (S7 and up). According to Powermat, the self-described largest wireless charging network in the world, more than 75 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 the newest technology to charge up your smartphone? We’re taking a look at the pros and cons to help inform your decision.
How wireless charging works
To simplify it, wireless charging uses a base station or charging pad to transmits 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 is then used to charge the smartphone.
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.