Tech Smackdown: Qi Wireless Charging Vs. USB Charging
Gorilla Gadget's Tech Smackdown:
Wireless Charging Vs. Traditional Wired Charging
Wireless charging has really become popular over the last year. There is a lot to love about Qi wireless charging, but USB charging has a bit of a head start when it comes to charging prowess. In the first ever Gorilla Gadget's Tech Smackdown, these two charging types are the first two combatants to hit our ring.
We are going to base this Smackdown on the three most important factors, convenience, charging speeds, and the "cool" factor.
Will Qi Wireless layeth' the smacketh down on wired charging, or will the experienced veteran get the pin?
Tale of the Tape
-Compatible charging cables
-A wall charger, power bank, or another charger
Charging speed range: 1A-3.4A
Quick Charge 3.0: Yes
Types of charging cables:
Other phone exclusive cables
Available for all devices: Yes
Can you use device while charging: Yes
Qi Wireless Charging
-Wireless compatible phone, or wireless charging adapter or charging case
-A Qi Wireless phone charging pad or power bank
Charging speed range: 3W-3000W
Quick Charge 3.0: no
Types of charging:
Inductive (close range used in Qi Charging)
Resonance (Mid-Range, still not widely available)
RF (Long range, still being tested)
Available for all devices: No
Can you use device while charging?
No (you can on some charging stands but it’s not easy)
Smackdown Round 1: Charging Convenience
Let's start with wired charging.
- Easy to find accessories: Micro USB has become pretty universal on a lot of Android devices and it's easy to find affordable cables and chargers pretty much anywhere
- Not only is it easy to find wired accessories, there are also a wide variety of different types including power banks, wall chargers, charging stands, car chargers, and even wireless speakers that can charge your phone
- Ease of use and familiarity: Chances are you have been charging with your USB of Lightning cable now for as long as you've owned a cell phone. There is something to say about being familiar with the technology. As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
- Having to carry around different cables for different phones
- Always having to seek out the nearest wall outlet at an airport, at home with your family, or at work
- Frayed or damage charging ports, or cables
Qi Wireless Charging
- Super easy to use, just plop it on the charger and it starts charging.
- No tangled-up wires, or searching for the right cable for the right device
- Cleaner charging: You can be charging your phone without long cables hanging out of your pocket, while on your commute, or on your desk or kitchen counter.
- No frayed wires, worn out or damage charging ports
- Not widely available, more and more new phones are getting the technology but the majority of devices do not support Qi Wireless Charging.
- Even the adapters and wireless charging case available to give you this charging capability are sometimes hard to install, or to find.
- Finding compatible chargers is more difficult to do, especially in public places like libraries, airports, and coffee shops.
Round 1 Results: While both of these charging types have their advantages, and disadvantages they each have aspects that cancel each other out. So, we are going to call this round a tie.
Round 2: Charging Speed
USB charging speeds have drastically increases in the last year or so. Original cell phone chargers would only charge at 1A=1000mAh or less, but now there are chargers that can charge at 3.4=3400mAh or higher. These new fast chargers can charge in minutes what use to take hours.
- Smart Charging Chips: The newest chargers and smartphones, have internal chips that safely control the voltage that flows through your phone to prevent overheating, overcharging, and damage to your battery for smartphone.
- With the newest Quick Charge technology, you can power up your phone in the take it takes to commute to work. Not bad, in our opinion.
- Since Quick Charge technology is still relatively new, we will have to see what long term effects fast charging can have on your smartphone or cell phone battery.
- A lot of mobile devices do not support quick charge, so these faster charging speeds only apply to a select few.
Qi Wireless Charging
- This technology is quickly improving: Some of the earliest Qi Wireless Chargers only charge at 0.5A or less. But in the last year or so they have drastically improved, getting closer and closer to standard wired charging. (Not anywhere near Quick Charge USB however)
- Bet on the future: Some experts think this technology will be standard across all devices in the future. This means the best and brightest are working to improve wireless charging speeds every day.
- Still nowhere near the charging speeds of Quick Charge USB.
- Due to the nature of this type of charging, heat is a factor. That is why speeds have to remain so low
- You'd have to be sitting at a Starbucks a very long time, to get the same charge you would with a USB charger.
Round 2 Results: While both of these charging types have seen their charging, speeds increase dramatically in the last year or two, wireless charging just can't compete with Quick Charge USB.
Winner: Wired Charging
Round 3: The "Cool" Factor
Charging your smartphone in under an hour can be pretty cool depending on who you ask. Not everybody is a technology nerd like we are. In fact, many would argue that simply plugging a cable into your phone is not the most exciting and coolest thing out there.
Most of us have been charging our phones with a cable for decades now. Old news.
For the "cool factor" we are basing our battle on if you pull a random not tech savvy person off the street and show them your phone charger, would they think it was "cool" or interesting. No matter how much we tried, the majority of people just didn't get too excited about wired charging.
Qi Wireless Charging
We found that the opposite was true in terms of wireless charging. There's something futuristic and some might say "cool about wireless charging. The people we showed this technology to were immediately interested and wanted to know more about it. One of the most common questions were does my phone already have it, and how can I get wireless charging.
Nobody seemed to care about how it works, how fast it works, or how easy it is, they just had to have it.
Round 3 Results: While we think both charging types are pretty "cool" there was a clear winner in this round.
Winner: Wireless Charging
Nobody likes a tie, but after looking at both of these charging types, it's really hard to pick a winner. It really comes down to the individual user. If you have to have the coolest new tech, then wireless charging is perfect. If you could care less about cool and just want something functional than USB charging is for you.
It's not about which one is better, but which one is right for you. The both offer a great phone charging experience. It's kind of like Apple vs. Android they both offer a great experience it just depends on what type of smartphone user you are, and how you embrace technology.
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