Wireless charging is one of the latest trends in technology. One that is coming into many devices, from phones to watches to TWS (truly wireless earphones). Like most tech, it claims to make our lives a whole lot easier by getting rid of wires. But while it is certainly a very cool feature to have – imagine being able to park your phone on a wireless charging pad without having to actually plug it in. As of now, most flagship phones and a number of high-end TWS come with wireless charging and it is expected to come to many other devices in the near future.
The problem? While it does have a certain “cool” factor, or what folks might call “swag” these days, it is not really useful. There we said it: wireless charging is not really useful. In fact, it is not even wireless.
The wire remains
Before you start calling us Luddites and accuse us of being suspicious of new technology, let us explain. And as the technology is coming the most in smartphones, we will take them as an example. How do we charge a smartphone conventionally? Well, we plug a charger with a cable into a point and connect the other end of the cable into our phones.
Now, how do we use a wireless charger?
We need a wireless charging mat on which we place the phone. But the mat again has to be connected to a power outlet through a charger and a wire.
Do the math – we need a wire to charge our phone normally, and we need a wire to charge our phone wirelessly. The only difference is that the wire in the case of wireless charging is actually powering your charging pad rather than your phone. Yes, some purists might insist that there is no wire going into the phone per se, but the stark fact is that you still need a wire to charge the wireless pad itself. Yes, there are some portable power banks that come with wireless charging support, but even they need a wire and a charger to be charged itself, so at some stage, you are going to be depending on a wire. The “wireless” in “wireless charging” is actually a slightly inaccurate description.
Cool, but not convenient
Then comes the convenience factor. Yes, it does seem a whole lot easier to just place your phone on a charging mat. But if you are the type that moves around a fair bit – and most of us are, to be honest (hell, that’s why it is called a mobile phone) – you suddenly have not just got to carry a charger and a cable but also a charging pad. And if you go to a cafe or an office, you need more space to charge your phone, because you have to place your charging mat on a surface and then place your phone on top of it. What’s more, in most cases, you will have to place your phone carefully on the charging mat, because if you do not, the phone might not charge or might even slide off – most charging mats do not come with the option to attach magnetically to your device. Using a wireless charger in a car, for instance, can be a pain.
And that is not the end of it – wireless chargers almost always are way slower than their wired counterparts. The majority of wireless chargers out there are around 10-15W, while you get wired chargers that go all the way to 65W. Yes, wireless charging is getting faster even as we write this, but you would need – yes, we are saying this again – not just a wireless mat with quick charging capabilities but also a fast charger to make that mat capable of wireless charging! Finally, all wireless charging pads or mats do not charge all devices in an equally efficient manner – there are all sorts of standards and complications out there. And they inevitably cost way more than their wired counterparts (yes, it is a new tech, but still…)
It might be the future, but it ain’t the present
In short, yes, we love the idea of placing our phones or tablets or earphones on a surface and their getting charged the moment we place them there. But then, carrying that surface around along with a cable and a charger is not exactly super convenient. And knowing that it will in all probability take up more space and will also not charge as fast your trusty old “wired” charger does not actually sound too cool, does it?
No, we are not saying that wireless charging is useless. It does have a very cool factor to it and it saves you those milliseconds that are the difference between placing a device on a mat and plugging it in (we are being sarcastic), but as of now, we would say, it is more about style than substance. This could change and we hope it does.
But speaking of the present, the wires are still there. The costs are comparatively high. And the only thing that is “less” is the convenience.