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Wireless Charging: The Good and the Bad

Phone placed on a wireless charging pad
Image Source: Verizon

The world has slowly shifted from analog to digital as new discoveries are made everyday. Today, modern technology has not only improved the standard of our living, but has also made things that were considered difficult and unachievable in past years extremely easy to come by and accessible to normal everyday people. Tasks are simplified, and there are plethora of options to get things done today.

Our smartphones are living witnesses of how far technology has developed. Almost all aspects of today's mobile device have been touched by the tentacles of modern innovation including the display, CPU/GPU, camera, biometric security, and connectivity, not to talk of how well-developed and polished the mobile operating systems of today's are. But, there is a tech that is gradually coming into the limelight after many years of its existence.

Wireless charging is one of the technologies that were not widely adopted before but that are increasingly gaining popularity in recent years. Wireless Charging (or inductive charging) is the way by which a device battery can be charged via electromagnetic induction without the need of using cable or cord to directly transfer power (electricity) to the device.

The tech has existed for more than three decades and has been used in a lot of portable gadgets with small batteries, such as electric toothbrushes, Bluetooth earbuds, portable wireless speakers, smartwatches, fitness trackers, smartphones, tablets e.t.c.

It gathered momentum when smartphone manufacturers began incorporating it on their mobile device. For instance, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge announced during the 2015 MWC event were the first Samsung smartphones to fully support wireless charging out-of-the-box, although Samsung had been offering the tech for its high-end mobile (i.e Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4) via optional accessories since 2013.

In real world usage, wireless charging is less applicable and is often cumbersome to use in most scenarios as it still required a charging pad (dock) to make contact with the device before the power can be transfer into the device battery.

The connection is not entirely cordless as most people think because the charging pad is not wirelessly connected to the charger that supply the power. A wired connection still need to be established to transfer power from the charger to the charging pad.

Wireless charging has its usefulness not to say, but not many.

The Good:

  • It eliminate tangling of cords
  • The device does not need to have a charging port
  • No need to plug or unplug
  • Lessen bad connection and disconnection
  • It is convenient to use

The Bad:

  • More expensive
  • Slow charge (although there have been improvements lately)
  • Restrict movement
  • It is inefficient
  • Compatibility issues

The good part

As already said, wireless charging eliminate the use of cord (or cable), and port. The only wired connection that exist is between the charger and the charging pad - this eradicate the tangling of cords since no cord is required to connect the device to the charging pad. Moreover, it also eliminate charging port. The device only need to be placed on the charging pad for the battery to be charged.

Also read: Why is VGA connector irrelevant today?

Charging the battery of a device that support wireless charging is as easy as placing the device on the charging pad. It makes it more convenient to quickly buck up the battery without unnecessary stress of plugging and unplugging dangling wires.

To plug or unplug, users only need to put their device on the pad or remove it. In most cases, wireless charging only required the back of the supported device to make contact with the charging pad for it to begin charging, nothing more.

The ugly part

Wireless chargers are mostly more expensive than normal chargers despite not having much benefits to offer. For one thing, they are slower than normal chargers and usually take a longer time to fully charge a compatible device. They are more fancy though, so maybe that's why they are costlier.

Fast wireless charging is becoming a thing lately, but it is no where near as fast as wired charging. It is inefficient needless to say, because it takes roughly twice as much time needed to completely charge a device compared to normal fast chargers. Fast wireless charging is still in developing phase so there are chances of improvements in the near future.

Another thing worth mentioning is that wireless charging restrict movement. Since the device need to be placed directly on the pad, any slight movement may result in disconnection. The flexibility of use is nearly zero once the device is on the pad, whereas with wired charging, the device can be easily moved around and operated while charging.

I won't failed to point out the compatibility issues that are more profound with wireless charging as well. There are two main standards that are widely used, Qi and PMA. These standards use different connection protocols and transmission frequencies, although they are quite similar. However, the wireless charger that supports only Qi will not work with devices that support PMA and vice versa.

The special need for one's device to be compatible with a specific wireless charging standard can be infuriating in urgent need, although some devices support both standards and will have no difficulty working with any wireless charger out there.

Lastly, pouches, back cover, cases, and other protective equipments may interfere with the charging if you are trying to protect your device while using wireless charger. Smartphone users that often protect their device with thick back cover or protective case usually experience difficulties in using their device wireless charging feature without first removing the protection.

There are still room for improvements, so things will definitely get better. But I don't expect wireless charging to best wired charging anytime soon.

If you have questions about any of my articles or you need help, please drop your comment on the site Facebook Fan Page or Tweet @CalebOlayiwola, and I'll promptly reply.

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