The Progress Of Wireless Charging
Today we are going to dig a bit deeper into the history of wireless charging and the technology behind it. We will look at the pros and cons and the difference between wired and wireless charging.
Related Product: I charge my iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods Pro with the Belkin MagSafe 3-in-1 charging stand (click to view on Amazon)
We have become more used to this technology as many of the big companies like Apple and Samsung have added wireless charging to their new products.
I believe that this movement is only on its threshold and that we will continue to see a growth in the tech industry.
This information will be based on wireless charging technology and my own opinions.
What Is Wireless Charging?
It is just what it sounds like: charging your device without any cables connected to it.
You might have seen a wireless charger in a tech shop at some point. The most classic look is generally a small pad made out of plastic but they can all come in different shapes.
Some are even built into certain tables where you just simply place your device on a spot where the charger is close enough to the surface that the charger and device can connect.
There are also some smartphones that can actually charge other phones through contact.
How Does Wireless Charging Actually Work?
Wireless charging works by using electromagnetic induction that creates an alternating electromagnetic field between the charger and the device. This means basically changing the dynamic of the electricity to travel in between.
The device and charger unit generally have to be placed on top of each other for this to work. Depending on the charger and device, you might have to place them in a certain way to get the best connection.
It may sound like electricity going through the air is dangerous, but this is not something that is harmful to you or your device.
What Devices Can I Use With Wireless Charging?
Many of the new smartphones from Android and Apple supports the use of wireless charging.
Apple has included wireless charging in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, but there are also some wireless charging adapters for the older generations of the iPhone.
These are some Android smartphones that are compatible with wireless charging.
- The later Samsung Galaxy series
- LG G7 Thinq
- LG V30
- Nokia 8 Sirocco
- Sony Xperia XZ2
Smartwatches With Wireless Charging
Worth mentioning is that wireless charging is not only for phones but also for other gadgets like smartwatches. These are some of the smartwatches series on the market that are also compatible with wireless charging
- Apple Watch
- Samsung Gear
- Motorola Moto 360
- Asus ZenWatch
- Pebble SmartWatch
It’s a good idea to check the wireless compatibility when you’re thinking about buying a new smartphone or smartwatch.
Is Wireless Charging Something New?
There has been an increase in attention towards wireless charging in the last few years.
This is mainly because the smartphone companies are creating more devices that are compatible with wireless charging.
The History Of Wireless Charging
Although it’s more popular now, wireless charging is not something new. Some electrical toothbrushes and other bathroom accessories, for example, began using wireless charging back in the 1990s.
It has however grown greater in popularity since it was introduced to smartphones and other devices in the later 2000s. Now even more as for the recent release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X among other smartphones.
To look back in history, as early as in the late 1800s, Nikola Tesla was already working on projects that involved the transmission of electrical fields where there would be no wires used in between.
During his projects and experiments, he actually had success by using the same technical practice as we use in our wireless chargers today but on a larger scale and it wasn’t able to be controlled.
Although his creation was not to be used much during his time, the wireless technology we have today is thanks to the earlier practices by Nikola Tesla before our time.
Is Wireless Charging Slower Than Wired Charging?
The general answer is yes but it’s not the full answer and I will explain why.
You should know that there are different types of charging.
Wired charging – The standard wired charging, used by all previous phones.
Fast wired charging – What it sounds like, a faster version of wired charging.
Wireless charging – About the same speed as the standard wired charging, but wireless.
Fast wired charging – Same as the above, but with increased power.
The fast wired charging will be the fastest one technically. Why are we not only using fast wired charging then? Well, you will need a fast wired charger and also, the device being charged needs to be compatible to receive that power.
As technology has improved, both wired charging and wireless charging has improved greatly. However, the charger and device must be compatible with each other to take advantage of the improved power.
Otherwise, it won’t make a difference because of the devices limits to keep the battery safe from being fried.
I will say that both sides have their own practical use and that it comes down to comfort and different use for different situations.
I personally use my wired charger whenever I need to use my phone while it’s charging. I have my wireless charger on my nightstand for when I’m not actually using my smartphone.
Does Wireless Charging Damage The Battery?
No, wireless charging does not damage the battery.
You may have noticed that your smartphone can become warm on the backside while it’s being charged. While it is a good thing to keep an eye on your smartphone, this is not something harmful. The heat that you may experience is not coming from your actual battery but from the conductor.
Smartphones these days have a better way of protecting the battery from frying itself if it ever were to go that far. iPhones, for example, have a set safety role that will turn your smartphone off it ever becomes too hot, and even then, that is before it would have likely caused any damage.
I recommend researching your wireless charger to be sure it’s optimized for your device.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Wireless Charging?
Some of these pros and cons will vary because it’s mostly about personal preference. These are some of the pros and cons that I experience with wireless charging.
Pros Of Wireless Charging
The best thing about wireless charging, in my opinion, is the convenience. By just simply putting my phone on a wireless charger pad with one hand, it’s just convenient.
An example I can think of is, is that when I’m in the kitchen making dinner and have messy hands and can put my phone on the wireless charger with one hand. This takes away the hassle of plugging in the wired charger.
- Worn cables
One problem when using a wired charger is the wired chargers easily wear down at the charger pin and cause a bad connection. Also, using a wired charger can also with time wear down the charger socket on your device.
This is something that you don’t have to worry about when using the wireless charging.
- More appealing to the eye
As our technology keeps on growing, we also care more about how it looks. If you’re like me, avoiding cables laying around is something that I value.
As I mentioned, some desks even have built-in wireless charging and I believe this is a cool feature. This is a way to completely get rid of the visible cables.
I will be talking more about this specific topic in another article.
- Safety when charging in public
Have you ever stumbled across a wired charging cable out in public? Maybe at a cafe, an airport or a tech store. Sometimes, you don’t know if it’s coming from a wall socket or if the charging cable is connected to a device.
My point is that wired charging is also using the same socket to transfer data while wireless chargers are only transferring energy.
You still generally have to accept on your device before any data can be transferred. However, wireless charging still has an advantage in this question.
- Multi-charging wireless
Both wired and wireless chargers have some that allow multiple devices at the same time to be charged.
Some of the wireless charger pads offer space for more than one device. The thing that makes the wireless option easier to use is that you don’t need the bundle of cables laying around.
Cons Of Wireless Charging
- Slower charging
When it comes down to the actual speed of charging, the improved version of wired charging, also known as fast charging, will definitely be the fastest way of charging your smartphone.
This is something to take in mind if you’re thinking about buying a wireless charger, although I believe that using both wired and wireless charging is a great combo.
(Not at the same time, this won’t charge any faster)
- More expensive
Although the wireless charging movement has definitely become more common in new products, it’s still not the standard for many devices.
Therefore, requiring different compatibility in both the charger and device increases the manufacturing cost and therefore also the cost for the customer.
When it comes to the cost of wireless chargers, you can find some cheap ones if you look at the generic ones. However, many of these may not be optimized for your device and this could be a bad thing.
I have tried multiple wireless chargers and I have noticed that some of them heat up my smartphone more than others.
The prices in general for wireless chargers range between $10-$50 depending on the brand.
- Connection problems
It will depend on the charger but some smaller charger pads require you to be more specific where you place your device. This could be annoying sometimes if you don’t notice that it isn’t connected.
Another issue here is that some chargers can go into a loop where it’s trying to connect without success. If this happens, this can result in faster battery draining unless sorted.
- Usability while charging
Probably the biggest downside to wireless charging is the fact that you can’t really use your smartphone while it’s charging. You can still control it but as it needs to lay down to stay connected, you are somewhat limited.
I will say that wireless charging is for when you’re not planning on using your smartphone.
- Interfering with cases
Having a case on your smartphone is a great idea to protect it from daily use. However, some cases are thicker than others and this could cause a connection problem.
There are many cases on the market and many have adapted to this but if you have a metal case of some sort, for example, this could be a problem.
I believe that there are different uses for both wired charging and wireless charging and that you can use it both at different times. We are still advancing in this technology and I believe we will continue to do so.
Take a look at the pros and cons and decide if wireless charging might be something for you.
I would definitely recommend having a wireless charger if you’re like me and enjoy life with as few cables as possible. You don’t have to replace your common wire charger but it’s a great combo to have both of them available.
I hope this article has given you some insight or solved any question you might have. If there is anything you feel that I missed or could have gone into more depth on, feel free to contact me!
My top picks for wireless chargers for both iPhone and Android smartphones