Galaxy S4 wireless charging

 

Official accessory brings Qi wireless charging to the Galaxy S4, at the cost of a little extra girth

Wireless charging is one of those features that seems like an unimportant luxury until you've used it for yourself. The ability to place your phone down on a magical pad and have it charge through the ether can change the way you use your device. Suddenly, you're free from wires and don't having to worry about constant plugging and unplugging. It's an added convenience if you're sat working at a desk all day, or even if you want to charge your phone on a nightstand without getting tangled in wires.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn't include wireless charging capabilities out of the box, but the official S Charger kit brings Qi-standard inductive charging to the device, in the form of a replacement back cover and charging plate. In exchange for a little extra thickness on the phone, this lets you take advantage of wireless charging on your S4. And it's available now from ShopAndroid.com priced $89.95, 10 percent off the list price.

So let's take a closer look -- we've got video, photos and more words after the break!

The Samsung Galaxy S4 S-Charger kit comes in two parts. The first, a replacement back cover for the phone, houses all the components necessary to let the phone use inductive charging. Gold contacts connect to the interior of the S4, and the cover sturdily snaps into place with a few reassuring clicks. The first thing you'll probably notice about the wireless charging cover is the extra heft it brings to the Galaxy S4. It adds a few extra millimeters to the back of the device, and a small amount of additional weight, too. Looking at the LED flash -- now recessed away from the surface of the back cover -- gives you an idea of how much extra thickness it adds.

It's not a trivial amount of extra thickness, and the differences are more than cosmetic. The S4 becomes more rounded with the new back cover, which might change the way you hold it. (In our opinion, this actually makes it a little easier to hold.) Finally, in case you were wondering, NFC still works even with the thicker back cover in place, although any form-fitting cases you might have bought likely won't fit with the wireless charging back in plate.

Wireless charging back versus regular backGalaxy S4 regular back cover versus wireless charging cover - Click animation to enlarge

The second part of the kit is the official Samsung charging plate, which as the name suggests is a small, curved slab onto whick the phone sits. Its edges are curved upwards and the top is matte textured to stop things slipping off, the sides are shiny plastic, and the base is rubberized to hold it in place. Once it’s plugged in, it’s just a case of placing the phone on the pad and it’ll start charging automatically -- you'll get a little popup message telling you that the phone’s charging wirelessly, and an LED on the plate will light up.

The Galaxy S4 charges wirelessly at 650mA, which is pretty reasonable. To put that in perspective, charging over USB 2.0 from a computer will give you 500mA, and most AC chargers will charge at 1A. The Galaxy S4’s wall charger actually charges at a full two amps -- so that’s still going to be your best bet for a fast charge. That said, the main benefit of wireless charging is convenience, not speed.

As it's based on the Qi wireless charging standard, which means the charging back should work with existing Qi charging pads, and the pad should work with Qi-compliant phones (we successfully tested ours with a Nexus 4.)

The bottom line is that you’re trading extra thickness for the convenience of wireless charging, and whether that’s worth it to you is going to depend on how you use the phone, and how important the thin, sleek design is. We're going to keep using the S-Charger kit as our main way of juicing up the Galaxy S4, and we'll update this article with any long-term impressions.

The official Samsung Galaxy S4 wireless charging kit is now available to buy from ShopAndroid.com for $89.95, 10% off the list price!


 

Reader comments

The official Samsung Galaxy S4 wireless charging kit

65 Comments

LOL - Couldn't they have made that charging-pad a bit bigger? I think I still see some of the table underneath it...!

Why has nobody adopted the direction the Palm Pre Touchstone system used? I had four of the 'stones, and just LOVED them!

Yeah it seems like Samsung is starting to charge totally ridiculous prices for their accessories since the GS3

Might I suggest the WiQiQi Wireless Charger? It fits inside of the existing case, does not affect NFQ, allows you to keep your existing case, and only costs $49.99 plus $5 shipping for the receiver AND the charging base. I got one for my S3, and it works perfectly fine.....

BTW - I don't work for, nor am I in any way affiliated with WiQiQi. I just got tired of having everything from Samsung being ridiculously overpriced.

It appears to. The image on the website shows the Qi charging coil has a small tab at the top which mates up with the charging contacts above the micro SD card.
http://www.vivealive.net/WiQiQi-Samsung-S4-Wireless-Receiver-Only-WQS4R.htm

Pricing seems much better compared to the Samsung setup, and it fits inside the stock back cover, which means I don't have to give up my Seidio Active case.

My only question is: How do I pronounce WiQiQi? Like the beach in Hawaii (Waikiki), or like "We Chi Chi"? The former seems more clever; the latter is probably correct, though...

Just checked this out. The site seems a lil sketchy because you go off to yet another site to pay, but paying with Paypal gives some sense of security.

I also do like the fact that you don't have to change the case. I was waiting on the QI case from Samsung, but not at the cost of losing the cases I've already bought.

Thanks.

My husband has the WiQiQi wireless charging kit for his S3. While it does work it makes the back plate of the phone bulge out a little...I think people might still have issues with cases. He uses a case that replaces the back plate of the phone because it has a flip cover. So he doesn't use a form fitted case. In regards to cases not fitting I can't be positive but I would be wary. I didn't like the way the battery door of the phone bulged. It seemed like it was putting unneeded stress on it so I opted for the Samsung wireless charging kit.

For those that get discounts through their work. The wireless charging battery door is able to receive that discount. However, NONE of the Qi pads that verizon has is able to be discounted. They changed the way the employee discounts work which is stupid but whatever. They also do NOT currently have the SAMSUNG branded charging pad. However you can choose from a Nokia Charging Pad for $50, a really weird and frivolous Charging "pillow" for $60 (it really is a pillow for your phone. I was like ummmm...No.) or an LG charging pad for $40. I chose the LG pad as it was the cheapest. Its also the smallest. Its about the same diameter as a hockey puck but slightly thinner than a hockey puck. I tried it out and it works perfectly. At least for over night charging. I wouldn't suggest using Qi charging if your battery is running low and you want to watch a movie on it. It wont be able to keep up. Its better to just plug in at that point. I'm not sure how streaming music and charging wirelessly would work but it might. I don't think it uses that much power. I will try it one of these days and let you all know.

I just bought one as well. Going off of what a couple of people has said about these chargers I couldn't resist. I can't wait for it to come in. Thanks for the link!

I guess it's a feature that pretty much no one cares about. So it would be an unneeded price increase for most people. Just guessing though.

Personally I'd rather they built in at least the wireless charging receiver rather than an NFC one. USB connectors are just too fragile to be (dis)connected often. Especially when awkwardly trying to get it in a car charger.

Amen. I busted the charge connector on my Jaybird headset after only a few times plugging them in. And I was extremely careful.

There's also a cool factor to being able to just lay your phone on something to get it to start charging. I loved it when I had my Lumia and later my Nexus 4 and I have missed it since using phones without wireless charging.

Yeah, my LG Optimus G Pro has wireless charging built-in. It seems like Samsung is kind of taking advantage of the consumer here. I don't see any reason why they couldn't have included it stock, unless they wanted to be able to say that they had the thinnest phone on the market.

You can use any Qi compatible charging pad. If you get the Samsung battery door its $39.99 before any employer discounts at verizon. If you get the LG Qi charging pad (puck really) its also $39.99 before any employer discounts so that ends up being $80 before tax. I was in a sales tax free state so I bought mine there. After my employer discount I got the battery door for 29.99. The Qi pads are not discounted through verizon. So I paid $70. Its still more than the WiQiQi charging pack but this way I know it fits my phone and is not damaging the battery door.

Also the Best buy I went to DID NOT have any of the Samsung wireless charging stuff. I had to go directly to Verizon so you may have to go to your carrier to purchase it.

Best Buy doesn't seem to have it. Verizon does. If they don't have it in the store they can order it for you. If you use another carrier I would check with your carrier. I would also look into if you have any employer discounts.

Does is stink that I have to buy a back cover to add a feature that should be built in, yes. Does it stink that it's going to add girth to my phone, yes. Does it stink that the kit is $100, yes. Does it stink that this kit is just now arriving to the market, yes. Do I still want it, yes, begrudgingly willing to spend $100 for a convenience add on.

I expect that modders will figure out a way to get wireless charging into the original back cover fairly soon, now that this kit is available for sale, and the price will drop like a rock. Back in the days of the Palm Pre Plus, there was someone who actually sold larger batteries combined with the new back cover and did the work to move the Touchstone coil from the original back cover to the new one that fit the larger battery.

I wonder if a pop-up comes on when you take it off the charger telling you that you have taken it off the wireless charger and your phone is NOT charging wirelessly.....

I bet this is in between 69.99 and 99.99 repectively.

It doesn't, but it DOES tell you when it is fully charged. When it is fully charged, it stops pulling power. Then, power starts leaking out and it begins to charge again. Cue the pop-up to tell you that wireless charging has begun. This cycle will continue through the night. And yes, there is a specific wireless charging sound. Each night before putting down my S3, I have to make the effort to turn down the brightness and turn off the sound or it will wake me up all night.

My Note 2 does not do that, it just shows the 100% icon in the top left corner when its full. I haven't had any issues with it stopping charging at full then restarting with its requisite beep. Is it your charging pad? I have 3 of the Nokia ones and they work great.

It will. But you'll have to check otterbox and see if they have made a "new" case to fit the bigger back cover.

What is the likelihood of someone offering a case designed for use with this back cover? That's the only thing that would me back from pulling the trigger. I loved having an extended battery in my Rezound, but wouldn't have been able to go that route without the availability of an appropriate case. Hoping for the same for the S4 wireless charger back.

Should have been released at launch with the CORRECT backing. Like Palm did with the Pre+ and beyond devices IMO. But great news otherwise!

I'm assuming this will work with the Nexus 4? While I have the charging orb at my desk, I'd love to have a simple pad like this when I don't need to have the phone angled and can just plop it down on this.

Go to your local Verizon store and get the LG pad, or order online for $39.00 or $29.99 if you get corporate discount like I do. I have 2 of them and they are great, use on N4 and DNA. Why pay more than double for this Samsung for your N4?

Pretty fail Samsung. The inductive charging back should have been built into the cover in the first place, and offered the charging pad as an accessory. As it stands now, that kit is way too expensive and many already bought a case they like which won't fit this. You can spend less on ebay for an inductive coil made to fit inside your existing battery compartment, and use any compatible charging pad.

They should have made this in a dock form that allows you to set it in it in landscape or portrait orientation. That way you could be charging it & watch a movie, read/respond to texts/emails, Skype & make phone calls etc. It could go into bedside mode or office desk mode too. That is one thing I love about my Motorola Dock. Even though its not wireless, it let's me use my phone for many purposes while its docked. To me, this is a big issues with these charging pads, when you pit it on the pad, your phone is not really useable.

I don't see the point of this.

1) I still have to have a power cord running to my nightstand. I don't see how the comment about not having a tangle of wires applies.

2) I want my phone to be propped up so I can see the display.

3) A dock that holds the phone propped up will take up less room on my nightstand.

4) According to a supervisor at Seidio, at least their dock is simply a passthrough. So, I if I connect the stock charger to that, my phone should still charge at the full 2A charging rate. This wireless dock will take 3 times as long to charge my phone?? If I have a charger in my office and I'm running around a lot, being able to get 3 times the charging done when I'm in my office for 15 minutes in between meetings (for example) seems like a much better way to go.

5) A good dock is not hard to put the phone down in and have the charging port and connector mate up correctly.

6) I use a regular charging dock in the center console of my car. It holds phone propped up where I can see it while I'm driving. It needs less space. It holds the phone more securely than this snack plate - much less one of those other Qi chargind things that barely holds the phone when it's just sitting your your desk. It will supply enough juice that I can have the display on and be running a mobile hotspot and STILL have enough juice to actually charge the battery at the same time. I've had trouble with chargers that only supply 500mA or 1A where if you're really using the hard at the same time, the charger barely keeps up with the phone's consumption and doesn't actually charge the battery at all.

Maybe this thing somehow makes sense for some people to want to spend the extra money and have the extra bulk, just so their phone can charge more slowly. But, not me....

Although your charger is capable of 2A, I don't believe the SGS4 charges at that rate, I would say closer to 1A. This will most likely be slower than charging via microusb, but definitely not 1/3 the speed.

Sorry. I use the free app Galaxy Charging Current to check how my S4 is charging. With the stock charger, it shows that it's taking in 1900mA. On other chargers or a PC USB port, it shows 1000mA or 500mA (approximately).

With the stock charger, charging at 1900mA, it will charge from almost dead to Full in roughly 2 hours. That's actually one of my favorite things about this phone.

I just read the whole thread. There doesn't seem to be any significant debate on the accuracy of the app, to me.

Regardless, every place I plug my phone in and check via GCC and it shows an expected amount of charging current. My old BB charger, it shows 860. USB port on my laptop, 460. HP Touchpad charger (rated at 2A), 1900. Revive DualFLUX AC adapter (rated at 2A), 1900. Stock charger, 1900.

And my Battery Monitor Widget logs from overnight recharging show, with the stock charger, I'm netting 1500 - 1600mA net charging, with a peak (so far) of 1992mA.

All signs point to the S4 will pull a charging current of pretty near 2A, with the right charger. If this wireless charger only gives 650mA, then I stand by my statement that the stock charger will charge an S4 roughly 3 times faster. 2 - 3 hours, instead of 6 - 9, sounds really good, to me!

Pointless, call me when wireless charging works through the air and I can use my device without being plugged in, or it sitting on something preventing me from using it.

I'm currently very happy with the old Pre/Pixie TouchStone mod I did to the SGS3 and SGS4.

I really love the set up.

I wish the notification wasn't a blocking pop-up. Using the normal notification would be perfect. As it is the pop-up is not dismiss-able and stays up for what seems like 30 seconds. OK, it really is only a few (maybe 3) seconds but still annoying and pointless.

A few little SW/OS features missing that WebOS had that would be nice:

The first was, if on wireless charging and you answer the phone, automatically go to speakerphone mode. Or, if on a call and the wireless charging connects - go to speakerphone.

Another nice feature was the "answer phone on lift" - essentially if the phone is ringing and it detects the wireless charging is disconnected - answer the phone. While it was a cool feature, I turned off the feature almost immediatley. More than once I would pick up the phone to see who it was - and answered the phone by accident. Maybe it's only a problem if you have several stalker ex-GF's :-)

I'm trying to remember if there were other neat little features.

A few reasons I prefer the TouchStone to Xi.

1) Xi isn't Xip - Well that's a pun that doesn't look as good as it sounds. Xi is pronounced chi or chee as in Chinese for energy force... I am assuming the $100 price will come down. The original cost to update a Pre (when it first came out) was $79 - if I remember correctly. It included a replacement back and TouchStone. Just like the Xi one described here. Only later did they start including the wireless back on every phone.

2) The magnets - the fact that the phone lands on the TouchStone with a comforting thunk. Placing extra magnets on the TouchStone puck allows me to have the puck be the vertical holder even in my car. Looks great and clean and allows the phone to stay in place even through Boston potholes.

Anyway, kudos to Samsung for making any wireless charging possible by adding charging pins on the back and having a removable battery cover.

Anyone thinking of adding the touchstone - follow the links posted above. Also, a few are selling pre-made touchstone charger kits on ebay. They are pre modded packets the you just place on the back of your phone and then place the back cover on. Pretty damn easy and no warranty issues.

Also, I have found the perfect replacement back cover for the SGS4 if you are doing this touchstone mod - or even if you aren't. Via Amazon, you can get these "Black Pu Leather Plastic Material Replacement Battery Cover" from China. They are perfect for the touchstone mod because they are rugged yet flexible and conform nicely to the touchstone coil.

Even if you aren't doing the mod, this is a great replacement back cover. Without adding any noticeable thickness, the PU Leather feels great in the hand, looks great, isn't a fingerprint magnet and isn't slippery if you are prone to sweaty palms (no comment).

ShopAndroid should really look into getting these into the store.

I'd love to see a genuine leather version as well, but this is much better than I had expected.

I love the wireless charging pad idea... I can check my phone in the middle of the night by picking it up and setting it down! It's meant for me so I do not have to fumble looking for the stupid cord that falls on the floor! If you don't like it or think it's stupid it's because it's not meant for you it's meant for me!

The price might be a bit ridiculous and the fact it isn't built in seems a bit ridiculous...

I am not in a hurry to get one but will get one sooner or later... The fact of it not working with the current Otterbox case I bought kind of grinds me... Will wait for them to release sturdy cases for phones with the new charger...

If you had a charging dock, you wouldn't have to pick your phone up at all to check it. Just look over.... And *gasp* see that it's already fully charged, even!

There is DIY battery cover with a wireless charging card only cost USD10.4 / set. with different color and pattern
you may google: gadget2us