Qi Wireless Charging: What You Should Know December 27, 2017

Qi with iphone

Wireless charging is one of the hottest technology trends in 2017, which only promises to explode epidemically in 2018 with the advent of tons of new products featuring wireless capability. So, it probably bears some discussion as to what that all means, and does it have any influence on your future purchases.

If it isn’t already clear, wireless charging (or inductive charging) is a high-tech feature that allows your mobile device to charge without plugging in a cable. Or for the inner nerd, it’s when an alternating current in the charger’s transmitter coil generates a magnetic field which converts into electricity in the mobile device’s receiver coil when it rests upon the charger. This voltage can then be used to power the mobile device’s battery.

Although a number of different wireless charging technologies have jockeyed for top position, the Qi (pronounced “chee”– from the Chinese word meaning “vital energy”) format has become the accepted standard for wireless charging– especially since Apple opted to make their iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X all Qi-ready (after all, when Apple speaks…). This is great news, actually, because it means customers can purchase a third-party charger for their Qi-ready phone instead of a costly proprietary one, should they so choose.

An issue that can arise with other wireless charging systems is when a foreign metallic object is placed on or near the charger. If this occurs, the charger might generate currents that flow in the object, depending on its magnetic nature, and the object gets hot. To prevent this, the Qi system is engineered to sense the presence of metal objects and immediately cut the charge, ensuring that only proper Qi-ready mobile devices are coupled and receive energy. This is called Foreign Object Detection (FOD), a feature that all Qi-standard chargers have.

The benefits of Qi-ready, as opposed to the old-school wired format, are convincing enough to comfortably go that route when shopping for your next phone:

  1. Qi is already the most widely adopted global wireless standard and has been embraced by hundreds of leading manufacturers– and that number’s only growing.
  2. No plugging and unplugging power cords. The frustration of multiple, sometimes incompatible charging cables is now a non-issue. Qi has literally cut the cord for mobile devices.
  3. It’s a fully-matured, proven standard–not just a promise for the future or a test market.
  4. The Qi has a home where the buffalo roam: The technology’s widespread adoption includes many locations where charging is most needed, including airports, restaurants, gyms, hotels and offices. Wireless chargers are already at hundreds of Starbucks locations across the U.S
  5. Over 50 of the top-selling, new smartphones are Qi-ready, including Apple, Android, Blackberry devices, so chances are good the one you’re eyeing is ready to rock.


Caveat emptor, baby. Some manufacturers use misleading verbiage to hide the fact that their products are not Qi-certified. Beware of phrases like “Qi-compatible,” “Qi-compliant,” “Qi-approved,” “Qi-friendly” or “works with Qi.” It’s impossible to know how compatible those suckers really are on face value. Thankfully, the Wireless Power Consortium has assembled a Qi Certified Product Database that lists all officially tested and approved Qi-enabled products. Also, only Qi-certified products will have the official “QI” logo as seen below.

Qi logo 2

If you do finally get  locked and loaded with a Qi setup, then you should immediately download the Aircharge locator app, a wireless charging guide with over 4,800 Qi hotspots This app is available for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.

Amazing things are happening in mobile technology and Qi wireless charging is an exciting next step. It’s the perfect time to start researching for your next device and enjoying the freedom that only wireless gives.

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