Does wireless charging make sense for tablets?

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I’m a big fan of Qi wireless charging (just in case you didn’t know that already). I use an Anker charger on my desk at home. My Moto 360 smartwatch came with its own Qi wireless charging stand (but I can put it on any other charger just in case I need to top it off throughout the day). I have two chargers at work. I even have a wireless charger in my car and a Zens battery with Qi built right in. (And just in case your phone or tablet doesn’t come with Qi out of the box, you can add it quickly, easily, and very inexpensively!)

It sounds perfect, right? There is, however, a problem with wireless charging.

Location

qi-energizerLook on the back of any Qi-compatible device (smartphone, tablet, whatever). Where is the charging coil? You can’t see it, can you? If you’re looking at a smartphone, that’s probably not a big deal. Many Qi chargers have multiple coils to ensure your device is charging, regardless of where you set it.

I bought two CHOE-branded wireless chargers that I gave as gifts recently. This particular charger features three coils to help ensure one of them lines up with the coil in your phone or tablet. Even if your charger has only one coil inside it, most smartphones are small enough that getting the coils to line up is pretty easy (you probably haven’t even given it any thought – it just works).

That’s not the case when it comes to tablets, and even large phones like the Nexus 6. These devices have a lot of surface area, and it’s not easy to find the sweet-spot where wireless charging magically happens. Most chargers include an indicator light to tell you when charging is taking place, but when the entire charger is covered by the tablet itself, how is one expected to see the indicator light?

My son has an Energizer wireless charger that he uses to charge his Nexus 7. We have to lay the tablet sideways on the charger to see the light, which leaves half the tablet dangling over the edge of a comparatively wide charger. Small chargers (like the Anker I mentioned earlier), especially when combined with large tablets (like the Nexus 9 and Nexus 10), just don’t work well together.

That’s too bad

Some may jump to the conclusion that Qi wireless charging simply doesn’t make sense for tablets, and in its current form I’d be right there with you. However, the potential is there, especially with Bluetooth accessories, to make our tablets “desktop replacements” – just by dropping them on a Qi-enabled dock.

I use my Nexus 9 at work with a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard. It’s a great combination, but I hate plugging it in. The screen has to stay on most of the time to make it “glanceable” and able to be used the way I need it to be. This means I need to have a very long screen timeout, which results in drastically reduced battery life. What I really need is a Qi wireless charging solution that will hold my tablet at the proper viewing angle, allow me to keep the screen on (while charging), and keep the battery topped off.

aukey-luna-qi-wireless-charger

Michael Fisher showed us exactly how this can be done – and done in style – with the AUKEY Luna which we featured in our Nexus 6 review.

While many of the current Qi wireless chargers may technically work with today’s tablets, most of them don’t work well. Wireless charging is all about convenience so easy that you don’t even have to think about it.

For now, we’ll have to wait for more incredible chargers like the AUKEY Luna and others that are specially designed to work with our tablets. Once that day arrives, be ready for a huge jump in the usefulness and utility from your tablet!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.