As you may have gathered by now, we’re pretty fond of wireless chargers here at The Wireless Solution, but that love of chargers has only continued to grow each year thanks to the amazing new products being released.
We are constantly surprised by what’s possible with a Qi wireless charger and its ability to set us free despite the limitations of close coil alignment.
The crazy thing is that the technology behind wireless charging – inductive coupling – still works in the same way it did back in 2012 when wireless chargers first hit the shelves.
Back then there was a huge amount of hype, and a firm belief that inductive chargers would quickly replace their wired equivalents. Unfortunately, this surge in popularity soon stalled, with many writing them off as just not practical enough to compete with the faster charging speeds and cheaper prices of wired chargers.
So why are we seeing a resurgence of inductive charger hype?
Well, for one, both the price and the charging speed of many wireless chargers is now comparable with their wired counterparts and this has no doubt played a huge part.
But there is another reason – the quality of the chargers themselves has come on immensely and they have now become some of the most desirable tech gadgets on the market.
In fact, wireless chargers are the latest tech fashion trend and as a result, manufacturers now focus a lot of their efforts on aesthetics.
Of course, there are more practical ways in which these chargers have developed. A turning point was the realisation that Qi charging coils could be integrated into anything from car mounts to bedside radios and this has helped bolster the convenience these products provide.
The Top 5 List
To demonstrate how far wireless charging has come we've created a list of the top 5 most ground-breaking chargers that have been or will be released in 2018, all of which we will stock in our store as soon as we can get a hold of them.
We’ve kept the list to charging pads and stands for simplicity’s sake but there’s also a whole range of other charging products that provide other types of convenience – these can be found on our store.
The blend of a grey TPU finish with a bright white base is a stark contrast to the black design of Anker's previous wireless charging range, but makes the PowerWave charging pad stand out as one of the most appealing chargers aesthetically.
The TPU is soft to touch and creates a grippy surface for your phone, whilst a smart futuristic blue LED on the side informs you when your phone is charging.
Fortunately, this charger isn’t just a pretty face. Whilst it’s not yet Qi certified (although we anticipate it will be soon), according to Anker it packs cutting edge functionality including “total radiation shielding, over-charge protection, foreign object detection and more”. Not only that but the charger is available at a very reasonable price when compared with its big brand counterparts
Belkin have gone back in time with this latest instalment in their wireless charging line. The BOOST↑UP Bold Wireless Charging Pad bears resemblance to some of the earliest wireless charging pads with an even more minimalist design than ever before – they've simply created a very basic circular charging puck. But there is a brilliance in this simplicity, since in this puck you get 10X the functionality of your average charger. Not only that but its aesthetic is easy on the eye and has an appealing symmetry to it.
The pad allows for 10W fast charging of Qi devices, which is always nice to have, but it also contains premium shielding and precision resistors, which reduce interference with functions such as touchscreen and Bluetooth, and just like the Anker pad a thermal sensor prevents the puck or your phone overheating during a charge.
Probably our favourite aspect is the LED indicator which is a just a subtle white light that clearly informs you when your device is charging but is unlikely to be a problem for bedside chargers.
While the BOOST↑UP Bold will hurt your wallet more than the Anker pad, it really is one of the best made chargers on the market and its simplicity is refreshing. Thankfully the price is likely to drop over time so it may be worth holding out for a few months before you consider investing.
The Logitech Powered Wireless Charging Stand is the company’s first wireless charging release but it’s already catching headlines, with Apple adopting it as one of their go to charging stands for iPhone X users.
And there is good reason for this. The Powered Wireless Charging stand is made from a sturdy plastic with a great white colouration that makes it a perfect fit for any office environment. The cradle is designed with the iPhone in mind and should keep it secure, but has the added advantage of making it easy to position your phone for successful charging.
Unlike other chargers, Logitech have also positioned the LED indicator on the rear of the device so it shouldn’t cause trouble for those charging overnight – a very smart move.
While this product is technically fast charge enabled, charging at 7.5W for the iPhone, it will only supply 5W to any non-iPhone device which may be a deterrent for those with a Samsung phone for example. This along with the £50 price tag mean this product will be a great piece for iPhone users but not so appealing for other smartphone users.
Probably one of the weirdest looking wireless chargers we’ve come across so far is the Samsung Wireless Charger Duo, which was revealed at Samsung’s recent Note 9 event in Brooklyn and has since been released.
Whilst this probably won’t be the choice of charger for those going purely on looks, what Samsung have sacrificed in aesthetics they’ve added in serious functionality.
The device is a combination of two separate Samsung products: the stand half of the charger is the same as their recent charging stand and is an ideal solution for charging and using your phone, whilst the pad on the other hand is the perfect shape for a smartwatch, with indentation to allow for easy positioning.
Despite its looks the pad is also big enough to charge another phone at 10W of power, so you really will have all bases covered with the Wireless Charger Duo.
While this may look a bit odd it provides a whole new level of functionality as you now have the choice of charging two devices, whether that be your phone and smartwatch or just two smartphones. The bonus is that the Samsung Wireless Charger Duo should provide similar advantages to using the up and coming Apple AirPower, but at half the expected price.
Despite no one really knowing the exact specs the Apple AirPower will ship with on its release, or if it will even ship this year, the AirPower looks set to be a shining example of how designers have taken a technology as simple as inductive coupling and crafted it into something special.
If Apple are to believed, this oval shaped charger will be able to charge up to 3 devices at a time, with Apple intending those to be: your iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods – although any three Qi devices should work as well.
Its genius lies in its ability to charge all three of these devices simultaneously whilst allowing for a degree of freedom in how you position them.
This will be a pioneering piece of engineering since all of these devices contain different sized Qi transmitter coils that each have different charging outputs. Although it’s still unclear how well Apple will be able to deliver on the whole spatial freedom aspect (one source suggests the AirPower will be fitted with 24 Qi coils), if it can charge these three devices at all it will still be a revolutionary piece of kit.
There are other rumoured features including cross-device synchronisation and Bluetooth connectivity which will enable you to measure the battery percentage of all devices from the iPhone. It should also be able to cycle charge between the devices so that they all charge at the same rate.
The big caveat however is that AirPower is still a WIP and we haven’t heard a great deal so far in 2018, but expect some big news this Autumn alongside Apple’s next product launch.
For a more in depth speculation about AirPower check out our recent blog post on the subject. Otherwise here's a video of the Apple reveal of Airpower last year courtesy of CNET:
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- Tags: AirPower, Anker, Apple, Belkin, Charging Speed, iHome, Inductive, iPhone, Logitech, Qi, Qi Certification, Samsung