What Is Wireless Charging? How Does It Work?

This novel way of charging smartphones is getting popular.

wireless charging
Image: Pexels

Wireless charging is a way of charging electronic devices via a magnetic field instead of a wired power connection. It is also known as cordless charging or inductive charging. Although many people think of smartphones when they hear wireless charging, this technology expands into smartwatches, electric toothbrushes, medical equipment, and even electric vehicles.

From Apple’s MagSafe to Realme’s MagDart, mainstream tech companies have increasingly become involved in the wireless charging category. This means the industry is continually pushing the limits of this technology, resulting in better wireless chargers arriving in the market every year.

wireless charging dock
Image: Pixabay

How Does Wireless Charging Work?

Wireless charging relies on the successful transaction of energy, between a transmitter and a receptor, based on electromagnetic induction. This phenomenon involves creating a changing magnetic field to induce an electric current. Ultimately, this enables the wireless transfer of power to an electronic gadget.

The wireless charger base comes with an electromagnetic coil that transmits a magnetic field. It is picked up by another smaller coil embedded within a compatible device, say a smartphone. After collecting this energy, the smartphone’s circuit converts it into battery backup.

To make sure most wireless chargers work consistently with smartphones that support this technology, most manufacturers follow the Qi Standard. This standard is applicable for wireless charging where the device is, at most, 4cm apart.

Are Wireless Chargers Better Than Wired Chargers?

When it comes to ease of use, going wireless has its benefits, including ditching cables. This means no more scrambling for a charging cable at the last moment, as you can place it on your wireless charging pad. Opting for wireless also saves you from the trouble of resolving tangled wires.

Given that an overwhelming majority of wireless chargers follow the Qi standard, you are less likely to face compatibility issues. However, in the case of wired charging, significant shares of people still use smartphones with Micro USB ports instead of USB Type C. This means that no wired charger is compatible with each kind of device.

But, when it comes to the main factors, charging efficiency and affordability, wired chargers generally dominate wireless chargers. Therefore, wired charging is almost always faster than wireless charging. The novelty of the wire-free technology also means that it is more expensive than any wired alternative at the moment.

All in all, wireless chargers aren’t quite ready to displace wired chargers in the smart device industry right now. But, over time, its efficiency has been improving, and prices have been going down, giving it a promising future.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Priye Rai

Priye Rai

Priye is a tech writer who writes about anything remotely related to tech, including gaming, smartphones, social media, etc. He prefers to be called a "video game journalist" and grimaces when he doesn't get to be "Player 1." If you want to share feedback or talk about games, reach out to @priyeakapj on Twitter.
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