You probably know this already, but Wireless charging has been around for some years, but it is fair enough to say that it’s still in the process of development. As with any new technology, it’s clearly necessary to set standards, develop each newly-found technology and finally send it to every consumer.
Now, even Apple is entering the scene, with its latest flagship which is the iPhone X, in addition to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus smartphones, for they are all equipped with wireless charging capabilities.
So, what exactly is wireless charging, how does it work and does your smartphone support it? Read on.
What is Wireless Charging?
The wireless charging is based on the inductive load, which creates energy by passing an electric current through two coils to create an electromagnetic field.
When the magnetic receiving plate in the mobile device makes contact with the transmitter, or at least within the specified range, the magnetic field generates an electric current inside the device.
This current is converted into direct current (DC), which in turn charges the integrated battery.
What are the standards for wireless charging?
The main one you’ve probably heard of is Qi (pronounced “Chee”). Qi is a standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) for inductive loads at distances up to 40 mm.
Qi has three separate power specifications, starting from a low power, which can supply up to 5W and is mainly used to charge mobile devices and smartwatches: the WPC has said that this will triple up to 15W in the future.
There is a medium power specification that can provide up to 120W and is used for monitors and laptops. And there’s a high specification that can provide up to 1kW to power things like kitchen utensils.
Qi wireless charging has been adopted by many of the leading smartphone manufacturers: Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC, Huawei, Nokia, Motorola, and Blackberry.
The other standard that has the potential to steal the attention of the Qi is PMA or Powermat. It also works with an inductive load, but in 2014 PMA signed an agreement with another wireless charging consortium, Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). It works instead on magnetic resonance loading. The agreement means that the two companies can exchange technologies and patents to help develop wireless charging at a much faster rate.
What are the smartphones that support wireless charging?
Most phones only support Qi wireless charging. However, some, like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, along with the Blackberry Priv, are compatible with the Qi and PMA standards. Both also have integrated technologies in their chassis.
These are the other main phones that have integrated support for loading the Qi:
- Asus Padfone S
- BlackBerry Z30
- Google Nexus 4
- Google Nexus 5
- Google Nexus 6
- Google Nexus 7
- LG Optimus G Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Note 5
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Active
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S
- Sony Xperia Z3V
- Sony Xperia Z4V
- Microsoft Lumia 950
- Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
- Motorola Droid Maxx
- Motorola Droid Mini
- Motorola Droid Turbo
- Motorola Droid Turbo 2
- Motorola Moto X Force
- Nokia Lumia 735
- Nokia Lumia 830
- Nokia Lumia 920
- Nokia Lumia 928
- Nokia Lumia 929 / Icon
- Nokia Lumia 930
- Nokia Lumia 1520
There are others that could be compatible with the regional Qi load, like the US version of LG G6. And there are others from smaller producers, like Yotaphone 2.
Can you get a wireless adapter charger for your phone?
You’ll notice that not many recent phones actually have the technology built-in, most of them require an adapter or case to be attached in order to support Qi charging.
Just some of the phones that support a wireless charging adapter include:
- HTC 10
- LG G5
- LG G6
- Samsung Galaxy S5 – an internal adapter that is fitted inside the phone, behind the battery cover.
- Samsung Galaxy S4
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- Sony Xperia Z3
- Sony Xperia Z2
- Sony Xperia Z
There are now products on the market that plug into the charging port of your phone – Micro USB, Mini USB, USB Type-C, and Lightning are all supported – and a thin plate slips between the back of your phone and a regular case. This plate receives a current from Qi charging pads to wirelessly charge your phone.
Does Apple support wireless charging?
Apple has finally adopted the wireless charging for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and their latest flagship, the iPhone X Edition. They previously joined the Wireless Power race with determination to compete with other brands, so they’re always striving to be successful at the end.
They will also launch its wireless charging mat, the Apple AirPower, in 2018, which will not only work with the latest iPhone but also with the Apple Watch and AirPods in combination with an optional wireless charging case. The phones will also work with conventional Qi charging mats.
Apple also supports wireless inductive charging with Apple Watch, but it is not the Qi standard. Charging an Apple Watch requires a MagSafe charging cable, which connects to the back of the dial.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Wireless Charging?
Therefore, you learned what wireless charging is, what standards exist and which devices are compatible. Is it really good? Like many other things, there are advantages and disadvantages to technology, and we hope it will help you decide if wireless charging is the right solution for you.
- A safer way to transfer energy to the phone.
- Just release the phone on the charging platform.
- It puts less stress on the charging port of the phone.
- The Qi wireless charging pads are installed in various parts of the world, if you run out of battery and you do not have a cable, you can charge the phone.
- It provides only up to 5 watts of power, the same as with a 1 amp plug. So, a 2 Amp socket will charge your device faster. Even phones with Quick Charge technology would not benefit from wireless charging, since connecting them to a power outlet will be much faster.
- If your phone is charging via a cable, you can still keep it and use it as usual. If you remove the phone from a wireless charging platform to use it, the charging stops.
- Adapters and cases are expensive because technology is expensive to produce.
- Can’t be used with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the car.