For whatever reason, wireless charging in smartphones hasn’t taken off like we thought it would a few years ago. So, what’s the holdup? It could be because various standards — Qi and PMA in particular — are still battling it out for dominance, with Qi having more success getting into smartphones and homes, but PMA having more success getting built into tables at businesses like Starbucks. While that uncertainty has probably slowed investment to some extent, there’s a more obvious reason — it’s too slow! A lot of wireless charging pads can only transmit 5W of power, and even then, they’re far less efficient than simply plugging in a cable. With most phones now coming with quick charge adapters that can get a phone’s battery back up past 50 percent in a half hour or less, wires don’t really seem that bad right now.
Belkin is taking a step toward fixing that problem today. They’re releasing the Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad, a sleek black charging pad that could probably pass as a coaster on the coffee table (not recommended usage). Belkin’s charger can supply 15W of power to Qi-enabled smartphones and accessories, making it one of the faster wireless chargers available. Still won’t be as fast as a cable with a quick charge adapter, but it might be quick enough to make you more willing to embrace the convenience of being able to plop your phone down on a pad and be done with it.
The Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad has a few nice design touches to it, as well. The underside has a no-slip matte finish, along with LED lights that can tell you how charged your device is without you needing to touch it. It’s also powerful enough to transmit power through cases as thick as 3 mm.
So, now we get to the big question — who’s this for, anyway? Wireless charging hasn’t been adopted by many smartphone makers, and there are some who have dabbled, then abandoned the feature altogether. The only major smartphone company to have stayed committed is Samsung. Samsung originally supported Qi, but eventually started including both PMA and Qi technology in their Galaxy S and Note smartphones. Belkin’s charger will work with any of Samsung’s flagship smartphones released after (and including) the Note 5 and the Galaxy S6. The Nexus 6, Nexus 5, and Nexus 4 also have Qi wireless charging, but Google and friends dropped the feature after those releases. If you own other phones, all’s not lost — you can track down a dongle or, if you have an iPhone, find a Qi-compatible case.
If you’re looking to get a wireless charging speed boost, the Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad is available from Belkin starting today for $70.