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Cut The Cord: Wireless Portable Batteries That Charge By Touch

Portable batteries are a utility we hope ultimately becomes obsolete. But, for the time being, they’re pretty crucial when we need extra juice, and enable us to do a lot of things that weren’t possible before.

But beyond saving us when we’re in a power pinch, portable batteries are becoming gadgets in their own right–going wireless. Meaning: you don’t need any cables or cords in order to use it.

What’s so cool about a wireless portable battery?

No more cord clutter

These wireless-charging portable batteries mean that you no longer need to carry a lightning cable to charge your iPhone, and a Micro USB cable to charge the portable battery.

Freedom from outlets
– Wireless chargers are neat, but they still need to be plugged into an outlet to get power. These wireless portable batteries mean you can truly charge your phone anywhere.

Meta charging

A wireless portable battery can also be recharged wirelessly. Instead of needing to plug the battery into an outlet to recharge, you can place it on a wireless charging pad.

Multiple charging options

Perhaps the best thing about these new portable batteries is that you can still charge with a cable if you want. Wireless portable batteries are not getting rid of their ports, they’re just adding the wireless charging capability into the mix. They’re becoming super batteries.

It’s not all rainbows and ponies, but don’t worry

Consider these things.

Added size and weight

Right now, wireless portable batteries tend to be a little thicker and heavier than non-wireless batteries because of the extra hardware required inside.

No stow-and-go

With a charging cable, you can tether your phone to the battery and drop it in a purse or backpack. Not so with wireless portable batteries. The phone will slide around and not stay planted on the induction charging point.

Slower charging

Wireless charging can be slower than charging with a cable. iPhones can currently only charge up to 7.5W, which makes it just a tad faster than charging with the (minimum) 5W plug that comes with the phone.

But don’t let these minor sticking points deter you. Wireless portable batteries are still far more useful and interesting than non-wireless ones.

 

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Phone Cases And Wireless Charging: What You Need To Know

Now that Apple and Samsung (among others) are using the same wireless charging standard in their phones, more people are ready to join in on the wireless power fun. (That’s probably why you’re reading!) Setting a phone down on a charging pad is straightforward enough, the more important question: which phone cases will block wireless charging?

The need-to-know basics

  • Qi is the most popular wireless charging standard being used.
  • You want to look for chargers that are Qi-certified, rather than chargers that might use tricky language like compatible with Qi charging.
  • Sticking to Qi-certified chargers will provide the best performance and safest wireless charging experience.
  • Having a case on your phone will not block wireless charging–by default.

A quick debrief on wireless chargers

Wireless, inductive, charging works by connecting the coil built into compatible phones and a electromagnetic coil in the charging pad.

  • More coils = a larger target area to set the phone down
  • More coils ≠ stronger charging
  • Inductive (wireless) charging works with cases less than 7mm thick.
  • Wireless charging can work through different materials–silicon, leather, plastic, wood, etc.

Will my case work with wireless charging?

There are too many cases out there to name specifics, but, with the above info about charging area and materials for Qi wireless chargers, you can make some safe assumptions about why your phone case might or might not work.

  • Those “unbreakable,” cases may be too thick.
  • Fancy gold-plated or metal cases could block the signal.
  • Adding a metal plate on the back of a basic case for a magnetic car mount will also probably block the signal.
  • Putting Popsockets or ring holders on the back of the phone could make the distance too far.
  • Wallet cases with cards on the back may make the case too thick.

Pro Tip 1: Wireless charging won’t automatically damage credit cards in wallet cases, but it can. You should remove the cards to avoid issues.

Pro Tip 2: Foreign object detection is used in Qi chargers to avoid heating up accidentally. Chips in credit cards and other parts of cases can trigger this FOD.