A wireless charging pad lets you charge your mobile device without the need to plug them in. With basic contact, these pads can send a charge wirelessly into your battery, letting it charge up while your phone sits there. Sounds useful, right? As these charging devices become a part of daily life, it’s time to decide which models work best for your life. Here are the three primary categories and examples of each.
Wireless charging pads are the most common type of Wi-Fi charging option, and come in a whole array of shapes and sizes. Well, mostly: The shape is usually flat, because you need to rest your phone on the pad to charge it. But there are hockey puck discs, large squares and rectangles, and curved, artsy shapes to choose from. Each works the same way. You put your phone on the pad, making sure it is properly aligned, and the phone will charge automatically without needing to be plugged into anything.
The goal here, as you can see, is to create a handy charging surface at your desk for you to drop the phone off when you sit down and then pick it back up again when you rise, always ensuring that your battery is topped off and ready to go.
If you’re looking for a good charge pad, consider something like the Anker Ultra-Slim, an extra-thin black disc that your phone can rest on like a little mini-pedestal. It’s small enough to fit nearly anywhere on your desk, although you will need a USB cable connection – and there’s a danger you might your coffee cup down on it by accident instead of your phone. Plus, Anker’s option is one of the least expensive, with models available for around $23. Of course if you want a more brand specific wireless charging pad, then LG, Samsung, Nokia and others also offer their own models.
The second options for wireless charging is a stand, which works much like a wireless charging pad but holds your phone in an upright position instead of flat on the table. There are two primary types of stands. The Tylt Vu is an excellent example of the first kind, a charging stand you can use at your desk. In addition to the bright colors, the primary advantage of this stand is that you can see your phone screen while working and tap open your home screen to check messages or apps if necessary. It’s also more difficult to knock your phone across the room by accident when it’s propped up by a stand.
The other type of charging stand can be seen in something like the Choe Qi Wireless Car Charger Dock. This type of stand fits in your car. Instead of fumbling around with cords and cables, you just slip your phone into the dock when you get in the car and let it charge as you drive.
The problem with pads and stands is that they are generally stationary and cannot help you if your phone dies on the go – which, of course, is when you most need battery power. Now a new field of wireless charging devices is on the rise – the sleeves. Unlike wireless charging pads, sleeves are designed to be inherently portable. Slide your phone in, and the sleeve will charge it for you as you walk around.
Of course, this sounds a lot like just an external battery pack that you carry around, which are widely available and not especially revolutionary. But charging sleeps are something different. Take the Ampere sleeve as an example. This sleeve project, quickly on its way to becoming a reality, uses a wireless connection to charge smartphones while they are in the sleeve. It also has several more advanced features, such as an accompanying app that you can use to charge the phone to a specific battery level instead of a full, uncontrolled charge. Another advantage of sleeves is that you never need to worry about alignment: The sleeve automatically aligns the phone when you put it.
You still have to carry the sleeve around with you for it to be the most effective, and a charging pad may be a better option if you just want to casually put your phone down by your desktop when you work. But for on-the-go charging – as long as you stay in wireless range – it’s hard to do better than a sleeve.
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