Wireless Charging 101 with Modern Dad

This is the first of a series of three videos sponsored by the Wireless Power Consortium (which really does have one of the coolest names in the business). First up, a high-level look at wireless charging. Coming up: a closer look at how my family's using wireless charging more these days.

I've used wireless charging off and on for years. I can't remember the first phone I used that had it baked in. (I'm pretty old, closing in on 40, and I've used a lot of phones.) Maybe it was this one. Maybe something else. But it's definitely grown in popularity because of a couple things.

First, I think, is the proliferation of the Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines. When the world's most popular Android smartphones added wireless charging, there was no going back. Second is that after years of dueling standards, we have a clear winner. That's now Qi charging, of course. (That's pronounced chee.) And that means you don't have to worry about which standard a device uses, and which standard a charging pad supports. (That the Samsung phones supported more than one standard was interesting, but I'm not surprised one finally won out over the other.)

Read more on Qi charging at the Wireless Power Consortium!

This year I've found myself using wireless charging a good bit more, though. And it's not actually about me. It's about my wife and kid. My eldest daughter has been spoiled with (read: allowed to try out) her "own" phone, and it's got Qi charging built in. My wife's iPhone 7 has a Mophie Case wrapped around it for extra battery life — and wireless charging.

I've had a Mophie case on my Pixel XL. And yes, for the past few weeks I've been using a new iPhone 8, which supports the Qi standard. (The new iPhone X will as well.)

So that's three people living under the same roof and three phones (or more) that all support wireless charging. And that means it's a perfect time to actually rig up the joint for wireless charging. And now that it's more ubiquitous, it's also easier (and less expensive) to do than it's ever been.

How's all this work? The short answer is magnets. (Because magnets are freaking awesome, right?) The slightly longer answer is this: You just need a Qi-compatible phone, and a Qi-compatible charger. That's it. Coils line up, electrons flow, and your phones charge. Maybe not as fast as if you plugged in, but then again you no longer have to do the plug-unplug dance dozens of times a day. It's maybe not perfect for every situation, but I've definitely found I'm using it more now that more in my home can use it.

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Phil Nickinson