Say goodbye to that nightly bedside clutter of cables linking phones to power sockets. Wireless charging docks are finally affordable.
Premium handset makers like Apple and Samsung offer wireless charging pads -- but they are pricey extras. What about the rest of us?
Charging phones without connecting a wire calls for a technology called Qi, pronounced "Chee" as in the original Chinese word meaning 'energy flow'. It creates an inductive wireless coupling between a coil of wire in the phone and a similar coil in the charger. Just place the phone on the Qi pad or dock and the device gets charged in a few minutes. A large pad can charge multiple phones at the same time. The only hitch: Your phone should be QI-ready, ie the makers should have put in a Qi coil. Almost all premium phones these days are.
I have been trying out a wireless charging pad called Magik, from Hong Kong-based Toreto that has just come to India. It's a very light (60 gm) disk about 10 cms in diameter, with a floppy silicon rubber cover. You need to charge the charger first using the micro USB cable provided-- but once charged it works for a month or two on its own. Pressing a soft switch also changes the colour of the charger to suit your mood or double as a night light. When you place a Qi-ready phone on the pad, you can immediately see the charging symbol come up. It will stop charging once the phone is ready -- no overcharging.
What if you have a cheaper or older phone which is not QI-compatible? No issues. You can buy a Qi wireless patch to make your phone Qi-ready for anything from Rs 300 to Rs 500 on Internet sites. This is a flat and flexible device that you plug into the charging port of your phone, then bend and paste on the back of the phone. It is now Qi-ready.
Select carefully when buying the patch: choose the right type of micro USB connector Type C, or Type A. The Toreto Magik wireless charger is reasonably priced at Rs 1999 -- so even basic phone users without Qi phones, can enjoy wireless charging at home for under Rs 2500, after buying a Qi patch. Money well spent on saying goodbye to tangled charging cables!
Wireless chargers that are supplied for premium phones can in comparison cost a bit. Google offers a Pixel Stand to charge its more recent Pixel phones. This costs Rs 6,900 -- almost a tenth of the handset cost. But it charges Pixel phones very rapidly -- and once on the stand, if you install Google Assistant, the phone will double as a useful display -- the weather, the time, your engagements.. It can also double as a screen with a Google-compatible video doorbell.