Does anyone use the Powermat chargers?

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Don't get me wrong. I love the idea and the technology, but the current implementation just seems too clunky. Is it really that much easier to have a bulky add-on for each device, rather than just plugging in a simple cable?

Maybe we'll see Powermat work with some hardware manufacturers and build their technology into some devices, negating the need for those external charging sleds.

:: Live at CES 2010 with my iPhone 3GS ::

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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5 thoughts on “Does anyone use the Powermat chargers?

  • Avatar of Steven L

    That’s what the custom battery packs for devices with removable batteries are for!

  • Avatar of johnkzin

    For me, it’s all about USB charging. I can charge anywhere there’s a USB port, and I only have to carry 1 wall wart (one with a USB port on it). So, my devices pretty much all charge via my computers (at home, at work, etc.), and I use my netbook as an extended battery/emergency charger for them … and it’s only in rare cases that I need to actually find a power plug for the wall wart. The “have to plug it in” factor is pretty trivial, really. And I’m limited by the number of powered USB ports on my computers (that was my biggest surprise/inconvenience — how many of my USB ports do NOT send enough juice to power a gadget for recharging).

    PLUS … I can use it and charge it at the same time. If I had to keep it on a pad, or within 1 or 2 inches of the wireless source, that’s not convenient at all — I can’t charge it and use it as a couch computer, for example, in that situation. Or use it and TXT with it, at my computer. I can do those things while it charges on a cord.

    And, it’s not only convenient, it’s cheap. To have spare chargers, or multiple chargers, I don’t need to buy a $15-$50 (depending on the device) “travel charger” or something. I only need to buy a $2-$5 USB to mini-USB cord (usually). And that doesn’t count any extra power you consume (on your power bill) from having to overcome any air-gap (read: big resistor) between the device and the mat.

    Any other charging technology has to beat that level of convenience and expense. Like I said, there’s not a lot of inconvenience to plugging in a cord, but there is a lot of inconvenience to having to leave it on a charging pad. And, if the charging adapters cost more than $2-$5 each, then it’s also more expensive.

    I have yet to be impressed by power-mat nor wireless chargers. They need to do 4 things in order to get my interest:
    1) have a 3-4 FOOT (1 meter-ish) range between the device and the charger
    2) have the charger built into the devices, with no noticeable increase in the price of the device
    3) not cause a noticeable increase in my power bill, due to the extra air-resistance.
    4) have base stations/mats that are built into, or attachable to, standard desktop/laptop/netbook computers, providing both power, and BT and/or wireless-USB connectivity to the computer (at the very least, BT FTP and/or USB storage mode). Has to be rather low profile as well, so that I can conveniently carry it with my netbook (or with my netbook-sized-tablet).

    If they don’t get all of those features, they wont be more interesting/convenient/affordable to me than just using USB cords.

  • True, and at least there are some nice choices now for those of us with the iPhone. And I don’t mean the Powermat brick, either…

  • I’m with you, John…I always prefer USB charging over using proprietary AC adapters. You should check out the ZAGG Sparq I posted about yesterday, it has two USB ports and a 6000 mAh capacity. It’s been great to use out here at the show, and it is one of the award-winning products here.

    On a side note…I don’t travel much, so this may be old news, but at the airport in San Antonio, the Southwest gate I was at had a nice long bar counter and stools, along with a good number of USB and AC charging ports. Nice touch…

  • I’d get the battery pack for my device if they also sell a car mount that works with it.


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