I’m going to catch a whole bunch of (probably deserved) sh*t for this, but I’m just going to say it – wireless charging is overrated.
I know that most tech media and some vocal tech bros love to rail against companies who omit wireless charging these days (go look at the drop of OnePlus 6 reviews last night). They do so because we (the tech enthusiast crowd) look for ways to critique phone companies and their new phones as we approach peak smartphone feature set. We nitpick. We tend to go off of a list of current trendy specs that have to be there or we flip the f*ck out, and wireless charging is one, probably largely because Apple invented it recently.
The thing is, wireless charging is useful all of 5% of a day, maybe even less. I’m actually struggling to think of a time when wireless charging would be convenient other than when I’m sleeping. And even then, I’m sleeping, so plugging it into a charger before I pass out isn’t really making my life that much easier.
Wireless charging sucks when you want to use your phone, because using your phone requires picking it up, which detaches it from a charging pad. Sitting at your office desk when wireless charging could be cool? Yeah, not so much if I constantly pick it up to use it as notifications come in or I need to do the Twitter thing or something else on phone. “But Kellen, Samsung has those cool angled wireless charging pads that are fast and you can use your phone without picking it up!” Not really. Have you actually tried using those? It’s a nightmare to swipe around a phone without physically holding it. They are great for displaying info, like the time or notifications as they come in, but not much else. You know how I can super fast charge my phone and use it at the same time? By plugging it in.
Wireless charging is also incredibly slow compared to today’s fast charging solutions. Even Samsung’s fast charging isn’t that fast. Every single time I’d rather wired charge a phone. I get ratings on wired chargers that tell me they can give me hours and hours of use in 15 minutes or 30 minutes. Wireless chargers, even the fast ones, are ashamed at their supposed fastness and tell us nothing.
Of course, I can’t help but point out the fact that wireless charging typically means a glass back is required on a phone. As you all know, I view glass as one of the worst “premium” materials in smartphone history. It’s fragile, scratches, and requires way too much effort (or a case) in order to preserve it over the life of a smartphone. I’d rather do without it if I can have a metal back or something more durable.
And honestly, as lazy as I can be (I’m the smart home guy who would rather talk to his house than get up off the couch and manipulate it), I’m not so lazy that plugging in a phone is a major inconvenience over just setting my phone down on a pad, a pad that may give me zero charge without warning if not properly placed.
Maybe that’s where wireless charging could shine, though, with better placement of pads. I’m thinking about in cars as you drive. That’s convenient! But how many cars have them embedded in consoles or trays? Someone suggested in an airplane seat arm rest, which would be cool. Maybe in a pocket in a bag as you commute? Other than those what other options make more sense than finding an outlet and a cable?
Now, before you scream and yell at me (and feel free to), I want you to know that I just asked as many tech bros as I could in my Hangouts list that I knew would bring the heat in support of wireless charging and none cared enough about the tech to try and stop me. The best I got was that it’s kind of “sexy” to set your phone down and have it charge. The rest, well, they laughed. I guess I should also point out that few of you really seem to care either. Look at this poll when the iPhone X was announced. 28% of you thought it was a must-have feature when buying a phone. More people (30%) straight up said they don’t care, while the rest only considered it a nice bonus.
I just feel like we see wireless charging hit headlines when it’s not included as if it might be the end of the world and a dealbreaker mistake by a phone company. It’s not, though. Wireless charging is overrated. Just plug your phone in. It’ll charge faster, in a more stable and efficient manner, and you can use your phone while all of that happens.