Is Samsung’s new Wireless Charging Pad worth the price?
Samsung's new Galaxy S6 phones have built-in support for wireless charging. To ensure the best possible experience, the company released its own branded charging pad, and the gadget delivers on its promise — with a few minor caveats.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
Cords. Who needs ’em?
Wireless power could prove to be the next significant charging advancement in mobile technology. Samsung’s on the forefront of that movement, thanks to its two new flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and GS6 edge, both of which have built in support for the Qi and PMA wireless power standards. In other words, the two GS6s charge wirelessly without any extra case or accessory.
To ensure new GS6 owners see the best possible wireless charging experience (for a price), Samsung released its own branded wireless charging pads. The round Samsung Wireless Charging Pad (EP-PG920I)[ Find it on Amazon–*What’s this?* ]is designed for use with the new Galaxy phones, but it also works with other Qi compatible devices and accessories, according to Samsung.
I’ve been using both GS6 devices along with the Samsung Wireless Charging Pad for more than a month, and that’s been more than enough time to suss out the gadget’s strengths and weakness. Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of the Samsung Wireless Charging Pad (EP-PG920I), followed by a short summary and conclusion.
What you’ll like about the Samsung Wireless Charging Pad (EP-PG920I)
Setup is simple. Remove the pad from its retail packaging, plug in the included 2A travel charger, pop your compatible device atop the pad, and you’re ready to ride the lightning.
It works as advertised. As soon as you plug in the Samsung Wireless Charging Pad and place a device on it, it immediately starts to power up your phone.
It has audio and visual status indicators. Depending on your device of choice, you get a number of audio and visual cues when a device starts to charge, when it’s powering up and when the battery is filled to capacity. For example, if you’re using a GS6 device (and your phone is not silenced) it beeps when you first place it on the charging pad and when it’s finished charging.
On-screen notifications display when the device is removed to let you know charging has stopped. And the phone’s LED indicator lights up orange while charging and green when it’s done, assuming you don’t have any new messages. A light surrounds the upper edge of the charging pad, as well, and it glows a purplish-blue while charging and yellow-green when a device is full, so you can see progress in dim or dark environments.
It stays in place during use. Thanks to textured rubber pads on the top and bottom of the Samsung Wireless Charging Pad, its stays in place and doesn’t shift easily when used on most surfaces.
It reduces wear and tear on charging ports. One of the most significant advantages of wireless charging is the capability to avoid excessive use of your phone’s charging and sync port, so you reduce the possibility of damage over time. The Samsung Wireless Charging Pad lets you avoid using your phone’s power port while charging.
Don’t need to remove your case. I use Samsung’s barebones “protective cover” on my GS6 edge, and it doesn’t affect wireless charging at all. Samsung also says its charging pad works with “most third-party covers” intact.
What you might not like about the Samsung Wireless Charging Pad (EP-PG920I)
It’s not completely wireless. Despite Samsung’s claim that the new charging pad lets you “say goodbye to tangled wires and lost charging cables,” the reality is that you still need a cord to connect the pad to a power source, and that cord is just as likely to get tangled as any other cord. So, the Samsung Wireless Charging Pad isn’t really wireless at all. It also does not have an internal battery, so it can’t be charged and then used without being connected to a power source.
It’s (mostly) wireless, but it ain’t fast. It takes just about two hours to fully charge my dead GS6 edge using the charger that ships with the device, which uses Samsung’s “Adaptive Fast Charging.” It takes just under three hours to fully charge the dead device using the wireless charging pad.
It can actually drain power if used improperly. If you don’t place your device firmly in the center of the round charging pad, it can get stuck in a loop of connects and disconnects, which rapidly drains your battery instead of charging it. This is easy to avoid — you just make sure your phone is properly placed on the pad. However, if you’re in a rush, drop your phone on the pad and then leave the room, you may be disappointed to find a dead device. (I know I was.)
Wireless charging equals warm phone. If you charge your device for any extended period of time, it’s going to get rather toasty atop the Samsung Wireless Charging Pad. It’s doesn’t get hot, but you’ll notice the heat when you first pick it up off the pad. It’s not uncommon for batteries to emit heat while charging, but the effect seems to be more noticeable when I charge wirelessly compared to a traditional, wired charge.
You need to use appropriate cable. Samsung says you can damage the charging pad if you don’t use the appropriate cable to charge, so don’t plan to use any spare cables you have around the office.
Is Samsung’s Wireless Charging Pad worth $50?
If you own a Galaxy S6 phone, and you happen to have a spare $50, you’ll find a friend in the company’s new wireless charging pad. It works as you’d expect, you don’t need to remove a case to use it, and it provides genuine value in the capability to reduce wear and tear on your phone’s charging port.
On the other hand, if you need to buy a separate case to use the Samsung’s Wireless Charging Pad, you can probably find cheaper options online. You may also be somewhat disillusioned by the fact that it’s not completely wireless, and it takes roughly 33 percent longer to charge your phone than traditional, wired charging.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.