January 8, 2014

Qi Charger

I picked up a Motorola Droid Mini phone a while ago. After tinkering with it for a short time, I discovered that it has native support for wireless charging (compliant with the Qi inductive charging standard). For the geekspeak challenged, "inductive charging" = "charging without plugging your phone in" (some people call it "wireless" charging, but that's not technically true because the Qi charging pad must be connected to a power source using wires, a cable, a cord, coat hangers, twisted tin foil, or the like). For the pronunciationally challenged, "Qi" = "Chee" (as in Kim Chee or Cheetos).

There are many Qi chargers available on the market now. I acquired the Koolpad charger shown here:

The charging pad came with a micro USB cable (no power adapter is provided). The USB cable allows the charging pad to be connected to any powered USB port or to a wall adapter that has a USB port. I simply used my Motorola wall adapter to connect the charging pad. I did not have to modify my Droid Mini at all (no additional hardware, no app downloaded, no settings tweaked).

The Qi charger works like a charm, and it was one of my best acquisitions of 2013. I keep it plugged in at the office, where I spend most of my time during the week. I simply place my phone on the pad whenever the battery drops below about 50% to top it off while I work. The charging pad automatically recognizes the phone (or vice versa?) whether or not the phone is on. The magic begins with a beep emitted from the pad and a confirmation generated by the phone. The green indicator light (shown in the picture) changes to blue when the phone is charging, and reverts back to green when the battery reaches 100%.

Qi charging takes a little longer than usual, but that doesn't bother me at all because I usually have several hours of desk time during each workday. I don't mind charging at a leisurely pace. If I need to charge my phone faster, I simply remove the charging pad from the USB cable and replace the pad with my phone. Easy peasy.

I highly recommend a Qi charger for anyone who is lucky enough to have a phone that already has a Qi power receiver built into it (I have no opinion regarding phones that require modification or retrofitting). In fact, by the time I unleash this post, I'll probably have a Qi charger at home, too.

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