Wireless charging is one of those things most folks tend to ignore for two reasons. No Android phone that supports wireless charging has ever included a wireless charger in the box, and wireless charging is never as fast as the charger you do get in the box. It's only marginally more convenient to set a phone on a little tray than it is to plug it in, so the list of positives has never really been high enough to justify mass adoption.
Samsung's recent phones have included a new kind of wireless charging — dubbed Fast Wireless Charging — which aimed to do something about the charging rate. With more Samsung phones arriving with this Fast Wireless support, we decided to take a look at the difference between these new chargers and the older Qi chargers from the Nexus 5 days.
Your average wireless charger
Qi and Powermat chargers have been around for a while, and while most of them look like small platters you connect Micro-USB cables to there are a few that have drifted from this design. Zens has a cool Qi car charger you just slip your phone into, Fonesalesman makes a battery pack with a Qi coil on top, and the list goes on. The problem with these chargers is rarely design, and usually output. These chargers had a maximum output of 5V/1A, which charges a Galaxy S7 from 9% to 100% in about five hours.
This is fine if you're charging your phone overnight, or if you're leaving your phone at your desk all day during work, but when your power cable can replenish 30% of your battery in 10 minutes that wireless charger becomes a lot more difficult to justify. The only real benefit here is less stress on your Micro-USB or USB-C port, which is frequently not worth the cost of a wireless charging accessory. Even a really cool one.
Fast Wireless Charging
Setting the same Galaxy S7 on a new Samsung Fast Wireless charger offers a mostly similar experience. You get a notification that your phone is charging wirelessly with a fun animation, and the phone starts charging. There's a small indicator for faster charging, like you get with Samsung's included rapid charger, but the results are a little different.
On a Fast Wireless charger, our Galaxy S7 charged from 9% to 100% in just over two hours, cutting the total charge time in half. A quick look at power input through Ampere confirmed that Fast Wireless Charging was delivering almost exactly twice the amount of energy to the phone. This isn't quite as fast as a rapid charger, which will take this same Galaxy S7 from 9% to 100% in 90 minutes, but it's still pretty great when compared to the alternative.
Should you upgrade?
Samsung's Fast Wireless Charger certainly delivers a much faster charge than the previous generation of Qi and Powermat chargers, but it's still an additional accessory you need to buy for your phone. That means shelling out around $50 for one of these accessories from Samsung, or keeping your eye out for a deal on third-part Fast Wireless Chargers. Now that Fast Wireless chargers exist for the house and car, it may be worth considering a full replacement to wireless charging. On the other hand, your included power cable still delivers the fastest overall charge.