Are Qi Wireless Smartphone Chargers Better?

Are Qi Wireless Smartphone Chargers Better?

Why is it that no matter how many phone chargers we buy (or receive through our new phone purchases) we never seem to have enough? They are the sort of thing that we find ourselves asking our co-workers for, rooting through our cupboards or frantically emptying out our glove compartment in search of.

Smartphone tangled in differnt cables chargers usb and black and white wires

For iPhone users, this has been especially true since the creation of Lightning USB. Prior to the iPhone 5, we may have had iPod docks scattered around our homes, which we could just place our cell phones into when we needed to give them a quick boost.

Expensive looking stereo systems and clock radios formed the centerpiece of many a living or bedroom, and right there perched on top was our smartphone, the modern and stylish controlling force behind each of them. Now, however, this style is already antiquated.

Work place with wireless devices including security system, satellite, radio, isometric composition on blue background vector illustration

Where Lightning USB is indeed a vast improvement on what came before, the redundancy of the iPod, its docks, and the wave of household gadgets it inspired has left a vacuum where a certain level of convenience used to be. Fortunately for us, technology continues to advance and salvation is at hand.

Convenience Is Making a Comeback

Wireless chargers aim to replicate that same convenience we all became accustomed to several years ago. The idea behind them is the same, to place your smartphone on (or nearby) them, as they charge up. All without the need for wires or the frustration of remembering where you last saw that pesky white cable. What happened to the other 6 you owned?

While wireless chargers have existed in some form for a while, the type that is starting to set a new standard is the Qi Wireless Chargers. Pronounced chee’, in traditional Chinese culture Qi means vital force’ or energy flow’, which is incredibly fitting for the new gadgets they describe. Anyone who practices yoga or any other form of traditional Eastern philosophy will be familiar with the concept of Qi and will likely make the association straight away.

How do Qi Chargers work?

Qi Wireless Chargers only work with some of the more contemporary cell phones that exist on the market. But it’s reasonable to assume that large smartphone manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, and Google will be designing their future models with this technology in mind.

This technology works by allowing a phone to be charged, wirelessly, over a short distance. Some of the Qi devices themselves may need to be plugged in but ultimately the actual smartphone does not. They are also compatible with other devices that share their software such as iPads for example. Like we said above, Qi Wireless Chargers only have a short-range, users are unable to turn the device on, then walk around the house with their smartphone in their pocket expecting it to be charged.

Isometric concept of phone wireless charging. Flat vector illustration.

The small radius of the Qi charger is usually made apparent by the inclusion of a Qi Wireless Charging pad. The pad is something the user can place their smartphone onto then leave it there while it charges. It actually feels rather reminiscent of the old iPod docks and in many ways and is their modern replacement.

Benefits of Qi Chargers

The benefits of using Qi Wireless Chargers are plentiful. As we’ve already established they eliminate the need to rely on plug-in USB cables attached to the main power supply. So not only do you no longer need to go on another infuriating search but you also no longer need to bend down or reach the cable to plug your smartphone in.

How many of us put our smartphones on charge when we go to bed at night (if we even remember), but have to fumble in the dark for the cable in an effort to navigate it into the bottom of our smartphone? Have there also been occasions where this fumbling has accidentally yanked the cable from the socket, meaning you then need to get out of bed and reattach it? In worse cases, has it led to the charger itself getting snapped and stuck inside the bottom of the smartphone?

Please see some of our other helpful articles “What Are The Best Wireless Cell Phone Chargers?” and “What Are All Of The Smartphone Charger Types?”

These concerns may not apply to some of the more organized smartphone users among us, but we’d hazard a guess that it certainly applies to many. Simply being able to place your smartphone on a charging pad is so much easier and will make these late-night struggles a thing of the past.

Qi Wireless Chargers also look a lot neater. For those of us who do have an abundance of cable chargers in our homes, we may have them hanging out of power outlets in different rooms in our houses. Some of these may also be in awkward places after all most smartphone charger cables are only around one foot in length if that. Having a sleek looking Qi pad on a dresser, desk or nightstand looks so much nicer. They are also easier to see and reach.

Not needing to plug your phone into a charger and unplug it again may not seem that inconvenient so some of us. Needing to spend money on something we can already do may be considered unnecessary. But it’s about convenience. We spend an awful lot of time plugging our smartphones in and out of charging stations, surely this is one way we can improve such a mundane experience?

Apple Watches and Beyond

Qi Wireless Technology has been used with the Apple Watch and other smartwatches since day one. These clever little pads kept the watch securely attached using magnetism, and for users that were new to this feature, it was a novel and convenient way to charge a device.

Now, this technology is being adopted for smartphones as well, we expect that in time it will replace cables altogether. Apple and Samsung are not yet bundling their new smartphones with this technology (like they do for their smartwatches), but one can speculate it’s only a matter of time.

Does this mean you should wait? If Apple or Samsung makes their own version then why purchase one now? The answer is this is not confirmed and maybe a while off yet. Also, there’s a chance that any licensed version they make would be sold separately and at a higher premium. Apple was creating its own called the AirPower which hasn’t yet come to market, it may have been canceled, but it may remerge in some other form eventually.

There are perfectly good Qi Wireless Chargers available right now and it’s worth taking advantage of this, especially if you own a compatible smartphone. There are also options available that allow you to charge two smartphones and a smartwatch at the same time. They also don’t need to have been made by the same manufacturer either. This is an effective way to free up multiple power outlets on a home.

What About Phone Cases?

For some Qi Wireless Chargers, it may become necessary to remove the smartphones from its case, but this all depends on the case that’s on the smartphone. Lighter cases may still be able to pick up the signal but those that are thicker may not be able to.

Remember the smartphone doesn’t need to be touching the Qi pad, just very close to it, meaning in most cases a case shouldn’t make any difference at all. This was one of the reasons why some people didn’t take to iPod docks, many of those needed the owner to remove the smartphone from its case before they could be used. Even the customizable options were clunky and not always reliable.

Pads vs Stands

In terms of functionality, there isn’t much difference between the two. Stands do mimic docks, meaning accessing the smartphone features (such as changing the track on the music) is much easier. But pads are incredibly convenient and simply allow the user to put the smartphone down and the Qi technology does the rest. It’s so refreshingly simple. Pads can also charge multiple devices at once and are generally cheaper. Stands can serve as a charging station for multiple devices but they are normally specially designed this way and therefore more expensive.

Conclusion

Qi Wireless Chargers are essentially a luxury item now but will fundamentally change the way your smartphone is charged in the future as the technology improves.

Something we don’t necessarily need but would make our lives much more convenient if we did have one, or several. It’s easy to see why they are catching on, most of the technology we buy is unessential but that doesn’t stop us from buying it. We buy it because we love it and it makes us feel good.

All technology is designed to do is improve our lives and make them less stressful. Qi Wireless Chargers are no different in this sense. Anything that makes our life easier is always worth exploring and Qi Wireless Chargers are no different in this regard. We may not really need one, but wouldn’t it be nice to have one anyway?

References:

Tech Advisor.com – Best Wireless Chargers – https://www.techadvisor.co.uk/test-centre/mobile-phone/best-wireless-chargers-3664248/

Electronic Notes.com -Qi Wireless Charging – https://www.electronics-notes.com/articles/equipment-items-gadgets/wireless-battery-charging/qi-wireless-charging-standard.php

John Mortensen

I was a project manager and am a technology and science enthusiast who loves to study the latest technology, such as AI, smartphones, headphones, and software.

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