I bumped into Chris of Waltzcomm a company specializing in Qi Chargers who was kind enough to give me a run down on what he was offering. For the longest time, people have been talking about wireless charging for iOS and Android devices and not many know that there are third party suppliers in the market who can do just that, make your device charge wirelessly and this includes the iPhone!
What is Induction Charging
When you hear people talk about Qi charging, one has to recall a few years ago when there was a Smartphone product called the Palm Pre, where a touchstone was used to charge it wirelessly. Well it’s the same thing. Using magnetic waves to charge the battery, it was way ahead of its time. Since then, the whole Qi charging community went wild when Google announced that the Nexus could be charged wirelessly as well. Wow…what a brilliant idea…but who cares it was three years too late. The technology isn’t new. It’s been around since the 90s and was used to charge the first generation electric vehicles.
Today, no one talks about wireless Qi charging because over the years, the benefits are far too few for those who are in a hurry. Some smartphones have built in connectors for Qi charging but Apple is slow to follow. What’s more, if you are willing to sacrifice the lighting port on your iPhone 5, you can have wireless charging as well but it will void your warranty if you decide to install one in your iPhone.
So you need both a transmitter and a receiver to load up on battery juice and this isn’t going to be easy if your phone wasn’t made for it in the first place. Fortunately for iPhone users, the receiver can be housed in a protective cover jacket for your iPhone while it plugs into lightning port. This also means you can’t use the port for anything USB related until you remove it.
Usage in the Real World
It took a while for me to write this review as there were some experiments I had to run. For instance, if your charging transmitter is not place directly (albeit partially) over the receiver in your device, charging of the device will be 50% slower. So it does affect your charging times even if you dump your device in a hurry to get a quick top up.
Now Qi chargers are 30% slower than USB charging. The efficiency is probably the biggest deal here and doesn’t work to your advantage when you are in a hurry.
Putting a Qi charger in your car too doesn’t make much sense. At a slower rate of charge, you won’t be topping up any juice if you happen to use your device for playing music or video at the same time or for that matter leaving it in charging mode for short drives. Half an hour driving isn’t going to help you juice up much.
The biggest benefit really is that it has an overcharge circuit and when you put it to charge mode during the night. When we sleep, 8 hours or more, there is a tendency that the normal USB chargers will charge it up quickly and recharge it several times over during the night.
The slower rate of charge for Qi chargers makes it ideal that this does not happen, plus the fact that it maintains a 95% charge during trickle mode. This mode only kicks in once the battery is fully charged at 100%, then it stops charging totally until the battery falls to 95%, before topping it up again to 100%.
Because of this cut off, there is no constant trickle charge to keep your device at 100%, ensuring a longer battery life. Waltzcomm has several rather creative solutions, including Qi battery packs, LED lamp with built in Qi Charger, Car Qi Charger and dual Qi chargers. The downside is that those are made only for smartphones and not tablets. According to Chris, tablets draw too much power and have much larger batteries making Qi chargers useless. So for now, it’s only good for iPhones and Galaxy devices. Please note that not all Galaxy devices support the wireless receiver module you need to plug into the back of your smart device. Only the S series and the Note series are currently supported. If you look it up online, there are third party Qi chargers selling for less than US$30 (including the transmitter and receiver) so you can get them cheaper but these products come without warranty. Waltzcomm offers a 12 month warranty for all products purchased from them.