Wireless charging is […] a comparatively slow charging method, but it’s convenient to be able to set your iPhone right next to you on a wireless charger and pick it up when necessary without the need to hassle with a cord.
Android-based smartphones have had contact charging – often referred to as wireless charging – for a few years. It’s a new, optional feature this year for Apple fans, available on iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. But is it worth the added cost of a $60 charging pad?
Mac Rumors did side-by-side comparison of charging methods to find out. Click through for their methodology and concise graphs detailing their results.
Bottom line: Charging an iPhone with a $19 iPad charger and the Lightning cable included in every iPhone box is the most cost-effective and quick charging method. USB-C wired charging is the overall quickest method, but requires a much more expensive charger and cable combination.
Many iPhone owners also own an iPad. For these customers, the second-quickest method is already at hand. Apple’s iPad charger is relatively inexpensive for everyone else.
In contrast, contact charging is a distant also-ran, effectively besting only the tiny charger included in the box with each new iPhone. While handy for not requiring a cable plugged into the phone, the contact charging pad itself requires a cable and wall plug, so there’s only a net gain for multi-phone families. And it’s a one-at-a-time process until Apple delivers their multi-device charging pad next year.
The desirability of contact charging over plugging in a cable comes down to aesthetics. A gaggle of chargers and cables adorns many people’s kitchen countertop. Contact charging replaces all of them.
Personally, a technology has to provide a significant cost/benefit gain for me to adopt it. Contact charging doesn’t reach my threshold, so aesthetics don’t enter into it.
Apple has been criticized for coming late to the contact charging party. In light of these results, I wonder if they were slow to offer a solution because it’s not much of an improvement over wired charging, even taking the unsightliness of dangling cables into consideration.
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