Premium handset makers like Apple and Samsung offer wireless charging pads -- but they are pricey extras. What about the rest of us?
Charging phones without connecting a wire calls for a technology called Qi, pronounced "Chee" as in the original Chinese word meaning 'energy flow'. It creates an inductive wireless coupling between a coil of wire in the phone and a similar coil in the charger. Just place the phone on the Qi pad or dock and the device gets charged in a few minutes. A large pad can charge multiple phones at the same time. The only hitch: Your phone should be QI-ready, ie the makers should have put in a Qi coil. Almost all premium phones these days are.
I have been trying out a wireless charging pad called Magik, from Hong Kong-based Toreto that has just come to India. It's a very light (60 gm) disk about 10 cms in diameter, with a floppy silicon rubber cover. You need to charge the charger first using the micro USB cable provided-- but once charged it works for a month or two on its own. Pressing a soft switch also changes the colour of the charger to suit your mood or double as a night light. When you place a Qi-ready phone on the pad, you can immediately see the charging symbol come up. It will stop charging once the phone is ready -- no overcharging.
What if you have a cheaper or older phone which is not QI-compatible? No issues. You can buy a Qi wireless patch to make your phone Qi-ready for anything from Rs 300 to Rs 500 on Internet sites. This is a flat and flexible device that you plug into the charging port of your phone, then bend and paste on the back of the phone. It is now Qi-ready.
Select carefully when buying the patch: choose the right type of micro USB connector Type C, or Type A. The Toreto Magik wireless charger is reasonably priced at Rs 1999 -- so even basic phone users without Qi phones, can enjoy wireless charging at home for under Rs 2500, after buying a Qi patch. Money well spent on saying goodbye to tangled charging cables!
Wireless chargers that are supplied for premium phones can in comparison cost a bit. Google offers a Pixel Stand to charge its more recent Pixel phones. This costs Rs 6,900 -- almost a tenth of the handset cost. But it charges Pixel phones very rapidly -- and once on the stand, if you install Google Assistant, the phone will double as a useful display -- the weather, the time, your engagements.. It can also double as a screen with a Google-compatible video doorbell.