In Praise of Qi Wireless Charging

My first experience of wireless phone charging was over ten years ago in 2009 with the Palm Pre and its Touchstone charger, which doubled up as a desk stand, tilting the phone at just the right angle. After the annoyances of multiple charger connectors, the simplicity of wireless charging was a revelation, even though Palm’s implementation had a few quirks. Wireless charging and the Touchstones were a feature of the Palm line-up right up until HP threw it all in the bin in 2011.

Joining Google’s Nexus series, my next phone with wireless charging was the Nexus 4 in 2013, which really was a beautiful device with an amazing glass back that shimmered in the light…it was lovely. On the Nexus 4, the wireless charging conformed to the Qi standard which was already looking to be the frontrunner in the wireless charging wars. To keep the Nexus 4 charged, I bought a Zens wireless charger and was sent a Mugenizer N11 wireless charging battery pack to review. The old reviews are still up on GNC for your enjoyment. Both chargers supported the Qi standard by Wireless Power Consortium. Apparently Qi is pronounced “chee” and comes from the Chinese word that translates as “air” and figuratively as “material energy”, “life force”, or “energy flow” (Wikipedia).

Sadly, after three affordable Nexus devices, Google went all up market with the Nexus 5 and I jumped ship to OnePlus who had this strange invite-only sales strategy for their new One smartphone, but, hey, it worked.

I’ve been a OnePlus owner ever since then, but I’ve had to wait over five years for OnePlus to build wireless charging into the new 8 Pro. Being OnePlus, the 8 Pro has its own fast charging standard, but it still supports the underlying Qi standard. As a result, and somewhat amazingly, the Qi chargers from 2013 for the Nexus 4 still work.. Yes, their power output of 5 W is significantly less than the 30 W the OnePlus can take, but if I’m dropping the 8 Pro on the Zens pad for an overnight charge it doesn’t really matter.

Too often technology becomes obsolete in a few years so it’s encouraging to see that wireless chargers from six or seven years ago still work, and all credit should go to the Wireless Power Consortium and the Qi standard.