Wireless charging capability is becoming increasingly prevalent in flagship smart phones. Over the next few years we're likely to see this functionality trickle down into more mid range and even budget devices.
Anyone who has used both wired and wireless charging would have noticed that the latter is noticeable slower. So how fast is wireless charging, anyway?
Wireless charging has increasingly become a standard feature when it comes to flagship smart phones. In fact its becoming so normalised that I saw wireless charging pads included in many of the cars I took on test drives this year. One term that you'll find attached to many wireless chargers is 'Qi' - which is a type of wireless charging technology. It was one of the first to be introduced to market and having a device meet the requirements of 'Qi Standard' remains important. But despite its popularity, a lot of people don't actually know how to say 'Qi' properly.
What's this Qi wireless charging I've heard about?
Qi (which you can learn how to pronounce here) is the wireless charging standard that most major smart phone manufacturers adhere to. This is good news, because it means that any Qi charger will work with any Qi-enabled phone, regardless of the brand. A similar standard for USB-PD fast charging is currently being enforced by Google.
Qi wireless charging uses induction coils in both devices to to transfer energy between a wireless charger and a phone to juice it up.
Which major phone manufacturers use it?
Just remember that not all models will have wireless charging capabilities, so check before you buy.
How fast is it?
When Qi 1.0 debuted in 2010 it was only capable of providing 5W of wireless charge. Nine years later it has tripled.
At the time of writing Qi is capable of supplying 15W of wireless charging, though the actual results depends on the individual devices. For example, compatible iPhones are currently capped at 7.5W for wireless charging. Comparatively, most compatible Android phones get around 10W when being charged wirelessly - though some claim to hit the 15W threshold.
Sadly wireless charging is still slower than what you'll get over a wire. Most of the top-of-the-line Apple and Samsung phones come with 18W chargers, but even that is erring on the slow side as fast charging becomes increasingly prevalent.
Oppo's SuperVOOC charger provides 50W of power, with Huawei's SuperCharge for the P30 Pro coming in at 40W. Even Samsung is joining the fast charge party with some of its Note 10's being compatible with a 45W charger, but it's sold separately.
Will Qi wireless charging take off?
While fast-charging is still preferred by many due to the sheer speed, wireless charging is becoming increasingly popular and will continue to as speeds improve over the coming years.
We're already seeing wireless charging pads being installed in new cars and expect more to be included in furniture and public spaces like bars and cafes in the future.
The likes of Samsung and Huawei are even pushing the reverse wireless charging narrative by creating phones that themselves can provide power wirelessly to other handsets. They're extremely inefficient at the present time, but that could change.
Bring on the wire-free future, we say.