Gone are the days when you merely dropped your phone onto a bulky wireless charging pad. There are now far more numerous ways you can charge a Qi-compatible device, and some of them are hidden in everyday objects under your nose.
On a Car Mount
Car mounts are almost ubiquitous. Less well-known, though, are car mounts capable of charging your phone. These handy accessories look just like your typical car mount, except the pad your phone rests on contains wireless charging coils.
There’s more variation among this type of charger than you might expect. Most utilize the same kind of side arms that clamp your phone in place. Those with the widest phone compatibility implement Qi wireless charging and stop there. Other models, like the Mophie Wireless Charging Vent Mount with MagSafe, will hold your phone in place using powerful magnets. Such mounts often target iPhones, but there are various ways to use MagSafe accessories with Android phones as well.
If you’re in the market for a new car, you may not even need a car mount at all. Many models come with a Qi wireless charging pad baked in, often tucked away somewhere around the center console.
On the Back of Another Phone
Wireless charging tends to be a feature saved for higher-end phones, and among those devices, there’s another type of wireless charging that’s a less common luxury. This is the ability to charge another phone, wireless earbuds, or other Qi-compatible devices on the back of your phone. The feature goes by many names, such as Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare.
Reverse wireless charging isn’t likely to be your primary means of charging. The process takes a while, with speeds limited to around 5W. This also depletes the amount of energy you have in your source phone. Think of this as a surprising perk that’s nice to have for emergencies.
Directly on Your Desk
Wireless charging isn’t quite the novelty it once was, but if you want to inject some magic back into the experience, show off charging your phone just by plopping it on your desk.
Kew Labs makes the Invisible Wireless Charger, which attaches to the bottom of a desk or other non-metal surfaces thinner than 17mm. Since the charger is hidden from view, your phone appears to be charging as it lies flat on your desk.
On Your Nightstand
When you climb into bed at night, your phone probably goes somewhere nearby. Is your bed near an outlet? Do you have a cable strung awkwardly to your nightstand? You don’t have to deal with any of this when you can get a nightstand with Qi wireless charging built-in.
Such nightstands, like the Old Captain wireless charging stand, have a dedicated area on top where you can drop your phone at night. Don’t expect fast charging, but since you’re filling up overnight, that’s arguably more of a perk than an issue.
You may find yourself more frustrated by the inability to use the entire surface area as a charging pad or the fact that you’ve now tied a piece of furniture to a type of technology that we can expect to get better steadily. Nonetheless, what already exists may be both cool and functional enough to save you a bunch of frustration at night.
On a Lamp
A bedside table makes a natural home for either a wired or wireless charger, in addition to a table lamp and a stack of perpetually unfinished books. Cramming a wireless charger into your lamp won’t do anything to help you stay on top of your reading list, but it can still reduce some of the clutter.
Table lamps with wireless charging have flat foundations for you to place your phone. Some also have additional USB ports, so you can plug in a cable when you need to charge your phone more quickly or power multiple devices at once. The IKEA NYMÅNE with wireless charging and USB-C port is one such lamp.
On an External Battery Bank
External batteries can recharge your phone multiple times and enable you to charge wherever you are, even if there are no outlets in sight. Yet they’re also another thing to carry around in your bag. Plus, with most of them requiring you to plug in your phone, an additional cable is also something else you need to carry around.
Unless you happen to pick up an external battery that supports wireless charging, then you can power your phone simply by resting it atop the battery. Sure, you need a flat surface, and this takes longer than hardwired charging, but the benefits extend further than merely saving you from having to lug around an extra cable.
Such a battery bank, like the PITAKA MagEZ Slider 2, is essentially a wireless charging pad that you don’t have to keep tethered to a wall. You can place the battery on a side table floating in the middle of a spacious living room and charge your phone without having to fuss with surge protectors stretched across the floor.
With a Battery Attached to the Back of Your Phone
Almost all approaches to wireless charging come with the same drawback: you have to leave your phone lying around for an extended period of time. A wireless charging stand at least lets you watch a video while your phone charges, but most others are best used when you’re only listening to audio or asleep.
That changes when you have a battery that magnetically adheres to the back of your phone, like the Anker 622. These batteries stick to the back of an iPhone using MagSafe. With such a battery attached to the back of your phone, you can continue to use your device as normal, whether walking around or sitting in a chair while your thumbs twiddle away. Anker’s battery also comes with a stand so that you can prop up your phone at any time.
On a Picture Frame
A wireless charger takes up a visible space on your desk. To make it a work of art, consider a charger that doubles as a picture frame. For a rather striking picture frame, take a look at the PowerPic from Twelve South.
With a plane of glass serving as the shelf your phone rests on, the PowerPic already makes a compelling design choice even without sliding a picture inside the frame. Yet the ability to slide in any 4 x 6 photo turns this into something you can place on any countertop, table, or shelf without looking out of place. It’s also not every day that you get to personalize the physical look of your tech.
On many newer phones, wired charging has become fast enough that leaving your phone to charge while you’re in the shower provides enough juice to get you through most of the day. Charging overnight can do more harm than good.
Yet there’s a certain magic that comes from not having to reach for cables, and if you want to partake in the fun, know that the difference in battery health between wired and wireless charging is pretty negligible.