Yep, another power solution! I guess that when you write and review gadgets, you also have to write about things that provide power and life to those devices. I written about external batteries, how to install a new battery into an iPhone and actually about the company that I’m writing about this time, Powermat. When I first played around with the Powermat solutions some time ago, the technology was impressive…and it still is. Essentially you can clip an adapter to any variety of electronic devices and then place that device on to a Powermat charger and magically your device starts charging, all without wires.
Powermat calls it wireless charging…which in my opinion is partially accurate, well, it is actually fully accurate. You don’t have a cord attached to your device to charge it in most cases (there are some USB adapters that require you to plug in a wire to a wireless pad), and in other cases there are literally “cases” that you put around your device, like their latest release for the iPhone 4. But before I go into that, I’m really hoping that someday we will all have a way to wirelessly truly charge your devices, without having to put it on top of a mat or charging base. Perhaps a small, personal Tesla Coil or something like that. That day will come, eventually.
But for now, we need to look to innovations from the likes of Powermat. I have spoken about the technology that they use in this previous review, so I won’t rehash what was said there. But rather, I wanted to talk about their latest solution for the iPhone 4, the Powermat Wireless Charging System for iPhone 4. The nice thing about the new design for the iPhone 4 is that it has a small footprint and is a completely self-contained unit, only for the iPhone 4. There are two main parts to the the iPhone 4 solution, a case for the iPhone and a charging base.
Since a case is included, you don’t have to worry about touching the antennas on your iPhone 4 (causing degraded signal strength) and you have protection in case you drop it. While the case itself isn’t very “pretty” (it’s a basic black with no real style), it does provide those two key features. You do slide your iPhone in (inside of the case there is an dock adapter) and then fold the top part of the case on top of the iPhone to close it. Once it is in place, you are ready to go. There are holes for the camera and it’s easy to access the other controls. There is also a micro USB connection so that you can sync your iPhone 4 with your computer easily (and charge it too if you need to).
The magic comes when you put your iPhone with the Powermat case on, into the base. Doing this action starts the charging, no need to plug in any cords. And once the case and the charging pad “recognize” each other, you hear the trademark Powermat charging sound to let you know that your iPhone 4 is being “juiced up.”
Some of the other important features are:
- Sound acknowledgement – as I just mentioned, true all of the Powermat chargers is that distinctive sound that you hear when charging is enabled
- Proper charge length – using an embedded RFID, the mat sends the receiver the proper amount of power for the right amount of time; this saves energy
- Auto shut off – you definitely don’t want your iPhone overcharged so when the Powermat detects that the iPhone’s battery is full, it stops sending a charge and shuts off
- Keeping track of the charge – if you start to use the battery again, the Powermat will detect this and start charging the battery again until it is full
- Universal Powermat usage – once you have the case on the iPhone 4, you can use it on any Powermat, not just the one that comes with the iPhone 4 case
You can get the case and the mat as a package (MSRP is $59.99) and you can get just the case (MSRP $39.99) if you already have a mat. I would, as usual, check out Amazon as well; the mat/case combo is currently $43.69 and the case only option is $39.01.
So, I’m a bit torn between having an easy charging solution like the Powermat or having the convenience of an iPhone case that has a battery built into it. I would almost wish that there could be both: the wireless charging of the Powermat and the external battery of a Mophie or other device. For me, I burn through my iPhone’s battery too quickly to not have a battery case. However, I think that Powermat’s wireless charging solution are pretty great. I hate having to carry cables and chargers. Sure, you will need a cable to sync but you won’t need a wall plug. The Powermat for the iPhone 4 is quite small and portable which makes it great for the office or a bed-side table. I think the price point is just starting to push it a bit so definitely look for discounted prices out there. It’s really easy to set up and use, and if you have multiple iPhones or even other gadgets in your house, I would recommend getting a case and then getting one of the longer charging pads. My kids use the charger pad to power up their Nintendo DS-es. Powermat does have a wide range of solutions.
Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.
HTD says: Once again, Powermat comes through with a very useful and unique charging solution!