News & Analysis

Love Your Wireless Mobile Charger? Better Read This Then

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Over the past year or so, smartphone reviewers across the world have made a song and dance about new devices sticking with their cable charging options. Besides the number of cameras on a smartphone, these reviewers seem to gravitate towards battery sizes and charging options as if these are primary movers of technology. 

While fast-draining has been a perennial issue with the likes of iPhones and Samsung mobiles, we believe that it is the influx of the Chinese smartphones that led to this unsavoury trend of too many cameras and long-lasting battery life getting extra prominence. Into this milieu came the wireless charging concept where companies began making chargers on which one placed the phones after hooking them up to a laptop or any other power device. Now, how is that wireless? 

Anyways, we are not here to talk about what constitutes wireless charging. We want to make you aware that recent studies suggest that this new trend is not something for the future. For starters, wireless charging consumes 47% more energy just so that you are too lazy to carry around a cable with you! So, next time there is a talk of conservation, point out to that cable! 

Research conducted by OneZero and iFixit claims that wireless charging could be a disaster waiting to unfold as it is definitely inferior to cable charging as it uses more energy, generates more heat and is definitely not healthy for the gadgets, in their current form. The question is: for the sake of convenience do you want to overheat the device? 

As a user of an iPhone XS, the author of this article found the fast-charging wireless pad to be a heaven-sent as all one needs to do is place the phone on top of it and juice it up. And while it is getting charged up, you can connect your wired earphones and continue with calls. Else, you are forced to buy a pair of Airpods that cost half as much as the iphone (an exaggeration!). 

The tests conducted on a Pixel 4 smartphone by these companies revealed that the wireless charging took around 21.01 Watt-hours to get the device from zero to 100%, while using power cables reduced this to 14.26 (Watt-hours). In other words, the convenience of being cable-less costs you more power, generating extra heat on the device that could cause future damage. 

Also, the tests revealed that these wireless charging pads consume some power even when they are in idle mode. Moreover, in case you have more than one charging pad scattered within the precincts of a house or an office, there is a possibility that on some instances the charger may consume more power in case the phone isn’t aligned perfectly on the pad. 

The research found that such chargers consume 0.25 Watts of power when left idle, which in itself may appear nominal. However, leave one on for 24 hours and that means 6 Watt-hours of electricity added to your power bill. As for the environmental damage that such a wastage could have, well, we leave it to your imagination. 

Now, imagine what would be the state of affairs, if all the phones go wireless with chargers or better still remove chargers from their boxes, leaving the task to an entirely new bunch of device makers? What would happen to overall power usage across the world? It’s mind-boggling.  

And all of this, only to remove the need to lug around a cable and a plug that weighs less than a fountain pen of decent make. 

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