The future is wireless, something you probably know as you begin to see more headphones without cables and computer accessories without cords. But what about charging your phone: can this be done without cables, too?
Features and performance
When your phone is out of battery power or heading that way, chances are that you go looking for the nearest power outlet, portable battery, or any USB port.
At home, though, things are different: you have your nightstand set up with the right cables and plugs, and possibly even a dock for your device, and before you go to bed, you plug the thing in leaving it there until you wake up and the phone is all good to go.
But what if you didn’t need the plugs? What if you could leave your phone on a little block and have it receive charge wirelessly, much like an electric toothbrush?
That might sound like a science fiction, but it’s more a thing of science reality, and thanks to wireless charging and the Qi standard that exists, phones with wireless charging built into the body can be charged wirelessly, provided you have the right charging dock.
Even if your phone doesn’t support wireless charging natively, you can bring wireless charging to the device, with cases made for a variety of smartphones including Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6S.
There aren’t many phones that support wireless charging natively, mind you, but 2015 saw a few more added to the pile.
While LG dropped the wireless charging from its G3 when it made its way to the G4 (something that actually confused us), Microsoft offered up a double attack with the Lumia 950 and 950XL both supporting the technology.
Really, though, the focus was on Samsung which pushed wireless charging by making sure it was present in every one of its flagship handsets, with the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and Galaxy Note 5 handsets all receiving the technology.
Officially, these handsets rely on the same standard that most of the other wireless-supporting phones use, also known as “Qi” charging. More than that, though, Samsung pumped up the power, adding a little extra oomph to provide faster charging.
That’s something you can get with Samsung’s fast charging adaptor that comes with the phones normally, but it also exists in the wireless charger.
In use, you’ll find the Samsung Fast Charger is super easy to set up, and you simply need to plug it in, with a couple of LEDs lighting up to tell you that you’re ready to go (green the blue at the front).
If you plug the charger into the Samsung provided brick, essentially it just transfer that high speed charging to your device, with the same recharge time exhibited between either a plug point or the wireless charger using the same brick.
Use a standard charger with the Samsung Fast Charger, though, and the speed is a little faster than if you had plugged that standard charge cable, with the wireless dock appearing to amp up the speed a little more than the cable can handle by itself.
Positioning the phone on the charging dock isn’t always perfect, and we found the larger of Samsung’s devices, the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ needed to sit closer to their middle, but that might be something to apply to all: sit the phone in the rough middle of the circle and you should be fine.
Even Microsoft’s Lumia 950 charges off this dock in the same position, though without the fast charging, as far as we could see.
And you happen to have other devices that rely on wireless charging as their primary way of getting power — like say that of a smartwatch — you may also find that the device will charge here, too.
Samsung’s Gear S2 will charge, for instance, but only if you take off those straps.
For the most part, Samsung’s Fast Charge Wireless Pad takes what we like about wireless chargers and gives it the Samsung touch, with an LED that lights up and a simple design, plus support for fast charging on supported devices.
So what’s wrong with it?
Not much, except for maybe it being completely unnecessary and a little pricey.
In comparison to the Qi chargers out there, Samsung’s Fast Charger sits in the upper echelon of pricing, because these things normally range between $10 and $40, with the most expensive hitting $60. Samsung’s option, however, hits a little under $70 for the same thing with a little extra power for Samsung devices.
We need to note that the whole “fast charging” thing for Samsung devices doesn’t charge it stupendously faster, and to even get it to do this, you need to remember to plug the charger into one of the Samsung’s fast charging plugs which we couldn’t find in the box.
Fortunately, owners of either the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, or Galaxy Note 5 will find these in the box they bought their phones in, but that’s kind of it.
You also can’t charge two gadgets at once, so if you do have an S6 Edge+ and a Gear S2 watch and you want to supply them both with power on the one dock, you can’t do that. It’s a one at a time affair only.
A shame that. We’d love to be able to charge both the phone and the watch at the same time on the one gadget, or even just one at a time. Reducing the number of chargers in our life would be tremendous. Sadly no.
There’s no doubt that the world we’re moving towards will be wireless, and you can now provided you have a phone that supports this.
We do need to note that Samsung isn’t alone in producing wireless chargers, and there are quite a few brands making these. That being said, Samsung’s is the first we’ve seen with a little more boost for charging, which can speed things up boy a good 10 or 20 minutes, which might make all the difference for some people.
In the next few years, you can expect wireless charging tech to be built into more furniture, with even Ikea hinting that the technology will be built into some of its kitchen countertops coming to Australia this year.
For now, though, if you want power without wires and you own a Samsung phone, you may want to check out the Fast Charger.