Wireless charging has been around for a good few years and has gained more and more popularity. Along with Apple’s getting in on the scene this year: with its flagship iPhone X coming with the wireless charging capabilities, it’s fair to say this capability has really taken off.
But have you ever wondered what makes wireless charging so popular? Will it take over from the more traditional wired method and become the one to use from now on?
The reasons why wireless will take over from wired charging
Quite simply, wireless charging means that you just drop your handset devices onto the charging dock and things get to work without having to plug anything into your phone, which is significantly easier than traditional wired charging. And it is because of this that wireless charging has many advantages.
A) You don’t need to fiddle with cables compared with wired charging
First, let’s have a look of someone’s answer to a posting on “Wireless charging benefits”
Just imagine the situation: no need to plug & unplug a cable every time you need to charge your phone, simply drop your phone on the charging pad and it starts charging without doing anything else. Everything looks elegant and neat; you don’t need to worry about where you left your cable, or charger for that matter.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean that all the wires have gone, you still need a wire for your charging base to be connected with the power supply.
B) It reduces the wear and tear on your device.
Why? As I mentioned earlier, wireless charging doesn’t need cables, which means there’s no need for a USB port anymore which removes the strain on the cable, the charging plug and the phone’s USB/Lightning port.
Furthermore, it enables manufacturers to improve the performance of your device by making them completely waterproof and dustproof, making them easier to maintain.
C) It enables multiple smartphones to charge simultaneously instead of taking all kinds of cables with you.
If you travel a lot and you have several different phones, for example, an Apple iPhone and an Android smartphone, you will be familiar with the fact that you will also need to carry both a micro USB cable and a lightning cable with you as well as a few chargers to power them when you run out of battery.
However, if all of these smartphones are wireless charging enabled, a wireless charging pad becomes the “one size fits all” solution. Fortunately, cell phones and chargers from different manufacturers are compatible so one pad can keep all your phones topped up with power.
D) It provides a safer way to transfer power to your phone, which avoids putting your personal safety and data at risk
Unlike plugging in a device, wireless charging transmits power without actually touching any exposed electrical connectors. In another words, this reduces the chance of a connection failure and electric shocks. If that doesn’t convince you, check this news article about the danger of using your phone while charging. Shockingly, several many injuries and even death has been linked to improper use of cables or cellphones while charging. Sounds scary, right? But it happens. Wireless charging can be safer because as soon as you pick it up the charging stops.
There is also a lesser-known risk associated with “plugging in to public USB chargers“. These free USB public charging hubs can send and receive data while you are not aware of it, which is yet another reason why wireless charging is better.
E) Lastly, it looks so much better. Yes, no obvious wires means that wireless charging looks cleaner when compared to the mess of charging cables.
The drawbacks with wireless charging that prevent it from being used everywhere.
A) Wireless charging is slower and less efficient than wired charging
AnandTech found that a Samsung Galaxy S6 can charge from zero percent to 100 percent battery power in 1.48 hours if you plug it in and charge over a wired connection. Whereas, wireless charging takes 3.01 hours, twice as long as the wired charging solution.
They also found that as wireless charging takes more time to top up your phone, it will take more power to completely charge your phone too.
B) Wireless charging usually makes your phone overheat which can harm your battery.
There are many discussions around whether or not “ wireless charger heat harms your battery” amongst those who have started charging their phones wirelessly. According to How-To-Geek, wireless charging usually generates a bit of waste heat and can even make the phone battery overheat when compared to the conventional cable charging. Some of that wasted power will be in the form of excess heat and the heat will translate to more wear and tear on the battery.
So how does the overheating caused by wireless charging damage your phone battery?
Let’s think about this: the best rechargeable batteries on the market, generally, are lithium-ion batteries. But what you might not aware of is that these batteries have limits when it comes to overheating. The heat will speed up the aging of your battery every time your phone battery gets exposed to high temperature.
Why can’t these lithium-ion batteries stand the heat? Have a look at this article on “battery thermal modeling and testing” made by U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
The picture above shows that battery life is significantly affected by both geographic location (different temperatures) as well as thermal management. According to the Pike Research’s discovery, lithium-ion batteries perform optimally, and will last longer, if they are kept between -10°C and +30°C.
But we seldom hear about phones having this problem when charged with a wired charger.
c) Wireless charger is slightly expensive than common cables
Check the price for cable and wireless charger on Amazon, you will find that most of the cables are less than $10 while usually, a wireless charger costs $20 more or less. That’s quite a big difference.
The Bottom Line
Making a comparison between wireless charging and wired charging is hard as there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Luckily for you however, there’s good news on the best way to charge your phone as well as protect it: a MagCase and a MagMount Qi made by PITAKA.
When you are going somewhere, just take MagMount Qi: a magnetic car mount, which allows you to charge your phone wirelessly. Use it with the PITAKA MagCase, which has metal plates inside to attach your phone on the MagMount Qi reliably. With these two gadgets, you can be free to charge your phone hands-free while driving.
Secondly, you don’t need a USB cable to charge your phone because you have MagMount Qi for wireless charging.
This means that the USB charging port can be used for other functions such as listening to music. The only thing you need to do is connect your phone to the car stereo with an aux cable whenever you want to have fun in the car, and of course, charge your phone wirelessly at the same time.