Review of Powermat iPhone 4 Wireless Charger and Powermat 2X


Any iPhone user knows that even the newest member of the family, the iPhone 4, can really chew through battery life - especially if you're on the Internet quite a bit (like me) and play games with it (also like me.)  I usually find myself, often, plugging in the phone whenever I get a chance, even in the car, to keep the battery "topped off."  

Of course, this involves actually plugging it in - which is so analog, isn't it?  The Powermat series of products aims to bring mobile phone charging into the next century, allowing you to juice up your mobiles by simply laying them down on a mat or cradle.

Is this technology effective?  Is it worth it? The folks at Powermat were kind enough to send me the iPhone 4 charging system and a Powermat 2X to test just that.

What is the Powermat System?

Essentially, the Powermat system - regardless of which product you use - utilizes "principles of magnetic induction along with proprietary technology" to deliver power to your device.  So it uses magnetism in some form - cool.  No further details are given away, however.

In addition, the Powermat devices are "smart" in the sense that they pair with individual devices to deliver the correct charge for each device as well as stop charging when a device is fully juiced - which is very cool.  I'm certain that there is some sort of identifier in each devices' Powermat case that enables this.

Setting up the Powermat System for iPhone 4

Setup is quite simple, and doesn't require any instruction reading.  It's truly intuitive - plug in cradle, stick phone in case, drop phone in cradle.  The product is nicely and securely packaged, and if you are curious, a user manual is included with more information.

The Powermat iPhone 4 Case

The case/receiver itself does exactly what it promises - it provides limited protection for the iPhone 4 while enabling Powermat wireless charging.  It's made of a thin-ish black plastic, with a hinged, snap-in top.  Pull the hinge back on the top and the phone slides easily into the case, which has an iPhone connector dock in the bottom.  Once the phone is fully docked, snap the top hinge of the case closed and you're all set.

What's great about the case is also what's bad about it - it's light and thin.  This is good in the sense that it makes the phone less bulky, but only provides limited protection for the iPrecious.  I am 100% certain that any drop worth its salt would easily shatter this case and most likely damage the phone as well.  While it doesn't promise to be built like a tank, I would have liked to see bulkier options.

Page 2: The Charging Mats >>[[page]]

The Powermat 1Xi iPhone 4 Charging Mat[[ad]]

I was impressed with the iPhone 4 charging mat, which is bundled with the case/receiver as a total solution.  It is made of solid, matte plastic and features rubber feet on the bottom to prevent the mat from slipping.  There's a light on the front that shows you the device is charging, and upon placing the phone in the mat you hear the cool "Powermat sound" indicating the device is charging properly.

My iPhone 4 docked properly every single time, and the mat provided equal charging power to being plugged directly in the wall.  

The Powermat 2X Charging Mat

I wanted to love the Powermat 2X, save for one issue - but I'll get to that in a minute.  The Powermat 2X is designed to work with any Powermat enabled product, as far as I know, and can charge two entirely different devices at once.  This is inexplicably awesome, although I didn't have a different Powermat enabled device with which to try tandem charging.

The Powermat 2X has two separate charging areas for pairing two separate devices, even if their charging needs are quite different.  It's thin, small, yet solidly built.

Unfortunately, I encountered one small yet extremely vexing issue - I had trouble getting my iPhone 4 to "dock" with the mat.  I'm not sure if this was something I was doing wrong.  I followed the directions of looking for the magnetic "pull" when my phone got close to the mat, then dropping it down - but this often resulted in the Powermat sound going on and off and the device not actually charging, which was funky.  Sliding the phone around on the mat usually didn't work.  I ended up just picking up and dropping the phone repeatedly until it stayed in a charging position.

Page 3: Conclusions >>[[page]]


Overall, I love the Powermat charging solution for the iPhone 4.  Besides the "neat" factor, I'm starting to take the charging dock for granted.  I haven't plugged my phone in for days, and it feels pretty great.  The slim case is a nice break from bulkier cases I've used, although I've consequently been a bit more careful with my phone as well.

At $59.99 USD, however, the Powermat solution for iPhone 4 is a bit expensive.  For sixty bucks, I'd probably just plug the phone in and call it a day - the "luxury" of drop-and-charge isn't worth it to me.

On the other hand, many cases for the iPhone 4 - especially the more protective, heavy-duty ones - can cost up to $40 or more just on their own, making the technology behind the Powermat seem like a great value.  Think about it - a lot of crappy thin plastic "phone rings" can cost upwards of $30.

So, the Powermat solution for iPhone is a great solution for those who hate cords, love the convenience of wireless charging, and haven't yet bought a case.

I'm torn on the Powermat 2X.


I want to love it so badly, yet the docking problems continue.  I will most likely try a Powermat case with a different device to see if it's related to only the iPhone 4 case or all of them.

However, let it be said that I don't think I'm really the target consumer for the Powermat 2X.  While I have lots of mobile gadgets, the only one I'd really need wireless charging for is my iPhone 4. The Powermat 2X and above are really extremely well suited to those who use multiple mobile phones or other portable devices - and Powermat even has options  that come with multiple charging tips for near-universal compatibility.

To wrap things up, the Powermat system for iPhone 4 works exactly as promised and is reasonably priced, and I would recommend it. The Powermat 2X, while not entirely reliable in terms of getting a proper dock with the case, worked as advertised also, and would be great for users with multiple mobile devices.

For more information on Powermat, and to see their full range of products, head to their official site.


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