Friday, July 01, 2011

Powermat Wireless Charging System for iPhone 4 – Review

Sometimes technology amazes me. When I first got my electric toothbrush I couldn’t understand how it charged without being plugged in. Someone told me it involved magnets, but it remained a cool mystery that I wanted to see in every product. Sadly my other wireless products insisted on either contacts touching (Wii remotes) or USB wires for charging (Xbox controller) or just good old fashioned plugs. Even an iPhone, the ultimate in portable tech, doesn’t employ the technology, well at least not without a Powermat.

The Powermat is a rectangular tray that is just slightly bigger than an iPhone 4, although it does also come in variants for the Nintendo DSi, Nokia N97 and various Blackberry phones. In essence it’s a docking station that cups your iPhone 4 nicely when you place it on top. It’s quite heavy, but nothing that would add a significant weight if you wanted to carry it in a handbag or backpack.

In order for the Powermat to work with an iPhone 4, you have to remove any existing case you may have, and instead add an ‘enclosed receiver’ case to the phone.

It’s a simple black design and fairly hard wearing so doesn’t detract from the iPhone design too much. If you prefer your phone cases to be designed and stylised you’re sadly out of luck. Although there’s nothing to stop you adding a sticker to the case.

 With the case around your iPhone you then place it in the dock and plug the Powermat in to a standard plug socket. This is the most random step, as the act of plugging the Powermat in to a wall is essentially the same as plugging in your phone charger, and putting the case on takes longer than plugging a charger in to your phone. However in time, if you leave the Powermat always plugged in, it’s certainly quicker to place your phone on the dock. In addition if you get a call, picking the phone from a dock is also more convenient than having to remove a power cable.

In terms of charging time we didn’t notice any difference compared to plugging the phone in, so the wireless technology was on a par with a standard charger. Another nice feature is that the case has a USB slot, so you can still do a manual charge if you need too.

It requires a different cable to the normal iPhone 4, but you get this included so will need to carry this with you, if you want to borrow someone else’s charger on the go.

The idea with Powermat is clearly that you always have the charger plugged in, and the manual reassures you it won’t waste any power whilst not charging. Compared to normal chargers which can still use power when not in use, it’s a nice eco benefit.

 If you’re the type of person who is always on their phone, even when it’s charging then the Powermat is a novel solution. It’s really for people who use their phone a lot, and casual users probably won’t find much of an advantage over plugging in wires. For the heavy user, it’s a cool product to show off, but won’t change your life.

Official Powermat Website

1 comment:

  1. Hi, love your post. In my tests, An iPhone 4 connected to the case charged from completely dead to 100 percent in two hours. When it's fully powered, the Powermat stops charging the device, so there's no overcharging or wasted energy. It monitors the iPhone's battery, and tops it off whenever necessary instead of constantly pumping energy into an already-full phone.


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Every product on this site has been received for free, and given to me by the product manufacturer or their associated PR organisation in return for a review.

I have no other personal or business association with these companies, and all reviews are written truthfully and based on my own experience. If I hate a product I will say so (and have done on many occasions!).