When you're shopping for wireless charging stands, there's a seemingly endless number of options. Samsung and Google each make an attractive version of this charger style, but have notably different features, designs and prices.
What's the difference between the Google Pixel Stand and Samsung Wireless Charging Stand?
Having a stand-up wireless charger is preferable for a lot of people so they can use their phone with an always-on display to keep the time, notifications and alarms available at a glance while charging. But aside from "the phone stands up," there are distinct differences in design between available standing chargers — Samsung's and Google's are particularly different.
Samsung's Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand has a wide circular base with a wide circular area to rest the back of your phone. That means it takes up more room on your desk, table or nightstand, but also gives it much more stability with a wide range of different smartphone sizes and shapes. Just how stable your phone is on the charger will ultimately depend on its size, of course, but Samsung's charging stand gives it the best chance of staying upright even if the surface it's sitting on is bumped inadvertently. The charger also comes in three colors — black, blue and white — to match your decor a bit better.
On the other end of the spectrum is Google's Pixel Stand, which focuses on being particularly sleek and streamlined. That matches Google's overall design sensibilities, but also points to the fact that the Pixel Stand is really designed for Google's Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. It's compatible with other phones, sure, but with a narrower base and narrower backing, it isn't as universally accepting of different phone sizes and shapes.
But the real reason to consider a Pixel Stand is when it's paired with a Pixel 3 or 3 XL it unlocks new features beyond just charging. Your Pixel will automatically display a great-looking slideshow of Google Photos albums while it's on the Pixel Stand, has a special Google Assistant-focused alarm system, enables Do Not Disturb at night automatically, and enables quick automatic connection to your Nest Hello video doorbell when someone arrives at the door. If you buy multiple Pixel Stands, you can also configure them to do different things at different locations — for example at work versus at home.
The Pixel Stand is a great choice for Pixel owners, but everyone else will be happy with Samsung's charger.
While you don't buy a wireless charger for super fast charging, it's important to know what to expect when you drop your phone on one for an hour or two. Both the Samsung and Google charging stands charge relatively quickly compared to cheaper competitors, but they aren't going to charge at the exact same speed. The Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand maxes out at 9W of output, which is very good, and is as much as most phones can handle.
The Pixel Stand has a 10W output, which is of course nominally higher but once again may be more than your phone's maximum charging input anyway. While we talk about charging speeds it's important to note this is the final area where the Pixel Stand is a perfect choice for Pixel 3 and 3 XL owners: the Pixel Stand is one of only a few wireless chargers that will actually charge these phones at a full 10W. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL need a "Made for Google" charger to charge at 10W, of which there are few, and will otherwise charge at just 5W — fine if you're topping up over night, but quite slow if you're in a hurry.
Which should you buy?
Choosing between these two charging stands is pretty simple. If you have a Pixel 3 or 3 XL, you may want to consider the $80 Google Pixel Stand because it's actually made for it. The phones fit perfectly, and it enables a couple of neat features that make it feel like more than just a charging appliance — in addition to the big victory of charging your Pixel twice as fast as other chargers.
If you have any other phone, you're better off saving about half of that Pixel Stand money and getting a $40 Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand. You'll be able to charge up just as fast, and even though it's a bit bigger it's not a bad looking charger in any respect.
A good all-round charging stand for any phone you have.
This charging stand isn't the sleekest, but its wide base and back make it a good choice for a wide variety of smartphone sizes. It will charge up any phone you have quickly, and it costs less than Google's competitor.
Perfect for Pixels
Get something a little more than just charging.
The Pixel Stand is a wireless charger, sure, but it also has extra features that make your phone a bit more usable while it's charging. Unfortunately those features are exclusive to Google's own Pixel phones, so if you have any other phone the $80 MSRP really isn't worth it.
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