The battery of your smartphone is almost empty – and the charging cable is in use again somewhere or elsewhere. With wireless charging, you don’t have to worry anymore – you can wirelessly charge your mobile device.
Most people know it like this: In the evening, the smartphone with the last battery percentage is attached to the charging cable and charged overnight. You can do it this way, but it is also more convenient, namely wireless charging or wireless charging. What you need for this is a Qi charging station on which you can put your cell phone.
Popular Qi charging stations for smartphones
This is how wireless charging works
The basis of wireless charging of smartphones is the principle of induction. Electric toothbrushes are a vivid example of this technology. These are charged by plugging them into the charging station; an additional cable is not necessary.
Wireless charging works with coils built into both parts – the toothbrush or the smartphone and the charging station – and through which electricity flows. If the transmitter and receiver are directly on top of each other and are compatible, the charging process is started by induction.
Wireless charging according to the Qi standard
Qi, the Chinese word for life energy, is currently the most widespread standard for wireless energy transmission. The principle behind the transmission is various providers who have joined together under Wireless Power Consortium, including Samsung, Sony, and Nokia, and Apple has recently joined. According to our own information, around 850 products use and support the Qi standard.
With the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple recently launched devices that support wireless charging for the first time. At Samsung, the charging function has been possible since the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5.
Qi charging stations for smartphones – a selection
Charging smartphones wirelessly is convenient, and the charging stations are affordable. There are correspondingly many offers – some with astonishing price differences. However, it makes sense to take a closer look: Often, cheaper devices do not offer fast charging, or you need an adapter to buy separately. And the offers often do not state what exactly is included in the scope of delivery. And everything that is offered on Amazon for cents should be viewed with caution anyway. We have selected five charging stations between 10 and 35 euros based on customer satisfaction.
Yootech wireless charging station
The Yootech charging station is suitable for the Samsung models Galaxy S9 / S9 +, S8 / S8 +, S7 / S7 Edge, S6 Edge +, and Note 5/8/9 as well as for iPhone X / XS / Max / XR / 8 and all others Qi-enabled smartphones.
There are 3 charging modes: 10 W for Samsung, 7.5 W for iPhone, and 5 W for all other Qi-enabled smartphones. Charging with a cover is possible as long as it is no thicker than 4 millimeters. Included in delivery: charging station, micro USB cable, operating instructions. Price on Amazon: 12.99 euros
The Anker charging station is suitable for the Samsung Galaxy S9 models, iPhone X / XS / XR, and all other Qi-enabled smart phones.
There are 3 charging modes: 10 W for Samsung, 7.5 W for iPhone, and 5 W for all other Qi-enabled smartphones. Charging with a case is possible, even with a relatively thick case, according to the provider. Included in delivery: charging station, micro USB cable, user manual, no power supply. Price at Amazon 25.99 euros
Ravpower DE RP-PC066
The Ravpower charging station is suitable for the Samsung models Galaxy S9 / S9 +, S8 / S8 +, S7 and iPhone X / XS / XR / XS / Max / 8/8 + and for all other Qi-enabled smartphones.
There are 3 charging modes: 10 W for Samsung, 7.5 W for iPhone, and 5 W for all other Qi-enabled smartphones. Charging with a case is possible as long as it is no thicker than 3 millimeters. Included in delivery: charger, QC 3.0 adapter, micro USB cable, user manual. Price at Amazon 28.99 euros
A cheaper variant, model RP-PC014, suitable for Samsung Galaxy S9 / S9 +, S8 / S8 +, Note 8, and iPhone X, 8/8 +, and all other Qi-enabled smartphones require a separate adapter for the fast charging function. If you already have it or can / want to do without this function, you can get this charging station, including micro-USB cable and operating instructions, for 12.99 euros.
Magic Circle Wireless Charger
According to the manufacturer, the Magic Circle Wireless Charger is the first 15 W Qi-certified charging station. It is suitable for LG G3 / V30 / Nexus 4/5, Samsung Galaxy S9 / S9 +, S8 / S8 +, Note8, S7 / S7 Edge, S6 / S6 Edge and iPhone X / XS / XS Max / XR, 8/8 + and all other Qi-enabled smart phones.
There are 4 charging modes: 15 W for LG, 10 W for Samsung, 7.5 W for iPhone, and 5 W for all other Qi-enabled smartphones. Charging with a case is possible as long as it is no thicker than 6 millimeters. Included in delivery: charging station, micro USB cable, operating instructions. Price on Amazon: 33.99 euros
What other transmission standards are there?
In addition to the Qi standard for wireless charging, there are two other standards:
Like Qi, the Powermat technology of the Power Matters Alliance also relies on the inductive coupling.
The Rezence technology of the Alliance for Wireless Power, on the other hand, uses a resonant magnetic coupling. Some Samsung smartphones also support the latter. The two competitors of the Powermat and Rezence processes joined forces in 2014 to make their standards compatible.
Advantages and disadvantages of wireless energy transmission
A great advantage of wireless charging is its simplicity for the user. You don’t have to search for the cable for a long time and connect it to the smartphone; simply place the mobile phone on the appropriate charging point, and the battery is charged. This means that there is no wear and tear on the smartphone’s connector or the charger itself. More and more charging cradles offer space for several devices. Two or three smartphones can be charged at one socket that supplies the charging point with electricity.
The Qi technology standard means that the user is independent of the manufacturer. Cell phones from different manufacturers can be charged with the same pad.
• Easy to use without a charging cable; just hang up
• No wear and tear on cables and mobile phones
• Same standard for different manufacturers
• Third-party products are compatible with standard
• The charging pad can be integrated into furniture, cars, etc.
The standards are only available with current cell phones. Older models must be retrofitted with adhesive pads or appropriate covers. The wireless chargers must also be purchased as they are not part of the normal scope of delivery.
The mobile phone must be placed directly on the charging cradle during charging. It is, therefore, difficult to use it during the charging process. Chargers with a stand function can help here. Even thicker protective covers can be problematic for the charging process. Despite major advances, wireless devices’ charging time is generally slower than that of the cable version. The efficiency of the inductive energy transfer is also lower, which leads to an increased energy loss.
• Many devices require retrofitting
• The charging station is not part of the standard scope of delivery; it is sometimes expensive
• Direct contact with the charging cradle is necessary, makes it difficult to use
• Depending on the thickness of the protective cover, it must be removed
• Lower efficiency than a cable connection, longer charging times
What is important with Qi chargers?
• Charging coils: With simple wireless chargers, it is often criticized that you have to find the ideal point at which the coils in the transmitter and receiver are exactly one above the other. This is easier with charging cradles with several coils so that it is easier to catch one of the coils. This means that you don’t have to pay so much attention to where and how you hang up the cell phone.
• Performance and charging time: Some wireless chargers offer a fast charging mode for very few compatible devices. These have an output of up to 15 watts, for example. In the standard charging mode for all common Qi devices, however, it is 5 watts. In comparison, the USB charger from Apple has an output of 12 watts.
• Support surface: A rubber surface on the charger support surface helps prevent the mobile phone from slipping. This prevents the smartphone from falling unintentionally and prevents the charging process from being interrupted with a small touch.
• Practical: Most devices have LEDs that show the charge level. An automatic switch-off when the battery is fully charged is helpful but not available on every model. It is also important to pay attention to the development of heat and possible interference. There are also Qi chargers with integrated batteries that are especially suitable for the go and resemble a power bank – here, you have to pay attention to the capacity.
Cars, furniture, charging cradles: these Qi-enabled options exist
Even if the number of cell phones that can be charged inductively is still rather small, the variety of chargers is great. Numerous manufacturers offer models in different sizes, shapes, and price ranges made of plastic, aluminum, or wood.
Samsung already has its own versions in the shop, and Apple’s own product was to follow in 2018. In a few branches of the Starbucks coffee house chain and the McDonalds fast-food restaurant, there are already charging pads that are integrated into the tables. Another example is Ikea. The Swedish furniture manufacturer has been offering charging cradles for some time and lamps with an integrated charging surface and smartphone cases for retrofitting.
More and more car manufacturers are also offering the option of booking Qi chargers for equipment. Qi-enabled car mounts are also on the market. These are attached to the ventilation, for example, and receive electricity from the cigarette lighter.
How do I get my cell phone ready for Qi charging pads?
The number of smartphones that are Qi-enabled as standard is increasing. This is the case, for example, with the iPhones X and 8, also with Samsung phones from the S6. Nokia relied on wireless energy transmission early on and equipped various Lumia models with it. The older Google Nexus 4, 5, and 7 and the Google Nexus 7 tablet are also Qi-capable, but the Google Pixel Phones are not.
The Qi standard can now be easily upgraded for many cell phones. This can be done, for example, with a corresponding cover, a sticker, or, depending on the manufacturer, with a completely new back wall for the mobile phone. However, with most options, a cell phone slot, micro-USB or Lightning, is used for the connection. Depending on the variant, a retrofit solution is available for just a few euros.
Is the radiation dangerous with wireless charging?
The experts argue about this. Some say that the low level of electromagnetic radiation from wireless charging is harmless. Others believe that even the smallest amounts are harmful to humans. Due to the devices’ concise range, the radiation is limited due to inactivity or lower power if no smartphone is used for charging.
Conclusion: comfortable or practical? At some point, both!
It can be discussed whether wireless charging is actually practical or just particularly convenient. If the Qi standard continues to prevail as it has in the past, the technology could continue to gain popularity. Simply charging your mobile phone on the restaurant table, at the airport, in the office, or on the bedside table is undoubtedly convenient. A forgotten charging cable is then no longer a problem.