Wireless charging is the latest technology for charging mobile devices over short distances without actually having to connect them with cables. So how does wireless charging actually work? Wireless or inductive charging, is a method of powering up your smartphone via an alternating current fed to a transmitter coil which induces a voltage in the receiver coil in the mobile device. The wireless charger uses a coil of wire which generates a fluctuating electromagnetic field, when the smartphone is placed near to the charging mat or pad, this fluctuating electromagnetic field induces a current in a similar coil which is inside the smartphone with built-in Qi wireless charging, and this current will eventually recharge the device. This is why wireless charging is also known as inductive charging.

As wireless charging is still relatively new, there are a number of competing standards for wireless charging, the most popular of which is Qi, which is already supported by Samsung, Google, LG and Nokia. Qi wireless charger pads are capable of charging smartphones, tablets and other portable devices, simply plug in the charging pad and place your mobile device on it. Of course your device must be Qi compatible, if it is compatible it will have a Qi logo on it somewhere – the Qi icon looks like a magnifying glass in the shape of the letter Q focusing in on the letter “i”.

The main advantage of wireless charging is that charging is easier and quicker to set up as you don’t have to plug and unplug devices each time, plus it looks neater. Another advantage is that wireless charging coils are usually sealed within the device which means they’re completely protected and safe in wet environments, so manufacturers like Sony have used this aspect of the technology to make some completely waterproof smartphones. But the main disadvantage of using a wireless charging pad is the fact that wireless charging is much less energy-efficient than traditional charging, so it takes much longer to charge your device. So if wireless charging really takes off, there will be millions of devices around the world being charged inefficiently and wasting energy every day – not great for the environment!

For smartphones which do not currently have wireless charging built in, you can add this functionality with a special phone case accessory, though they can be a little bulky, but they do of course also protect your smartphone from damage! Phones and tablets that already feature built-in Qi wireless charging include the Samsung Galaxy S6, Microsoft Lumia 920/928/1520, and the Google Nexus 4/5/6/7. However popular smartphones like the Apple iPhone 5&6, Samsung Galaxy S5/S4/S3/Note 3/Note 2, Microsoft Lumia 930/925/830 and the Sony Xperia Z series – will all need an accessory case to use wireless charging pads. The top manufacturers of wireless charging mats and accessories are currently Qualcomm, Samsung, Powermat, PowerByProxi, Mojo Mobility, CHOE, PowerBot, Anker, RAVPower, Qi Infinity, Yootech and Nexcon.