Which is better, wireless charging or wired?

Wireless charging isn’t new… despite what Apple wants to tell you. If you’re an Android user you probably already have a phone that does it. If you’ve been to Starbucks, you may have already used it since many of their stores have wireless chargers built into the tables. In fact, wireless charging hit the streets back in 2010 (and take a look at the slightly embarrassing video we did back then!) but it took several years before it was actually built into the phones themselves. Now that it’s here… should you use it?

No matter what, wireless charging is slow.
Apple’s phones will charge really slowly because they use an older version of the Qi standard that passes only 7.5 watts to the phone. Samsung and others use the new standard that passes 15 watts, but Apple chose not to after Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 with the new standard was recalled due to fire danger. It doesn’t matter that the cause of those fires wasn’t wireless charging, but Apple did decide to be safe. (Next year they’ll announce new phones with the new standard and everyone will think Apple invented the new standard, of course.)

But the point is that even at the faster speed Androids use, it’s still slower than even the slowest form of wired charging. That’s not a big deal if you just keep your phone on a mat on your desk all day, but if you’re looking for a quick boost wireless charging isn’t for you. Get a charger that tops up your phone fast. Again, Androids are way ahead in fast charging, except for Apple’s own iPad Pro 10.5. That’s Apple’s only truly fast-charging device and only if you buy a $40 adapter.

Wireless charging is easy.
Yeah but maybe that says a lot about you if you think it’s too hard to plug a cable in. Especially if it’s a Lightning or USB-C cable that can go in upside down and still work. Think about your life choices.

Wireless charging is convenient.
OK there’s no fighting that statement. Especially in the car, wireless charging “just works.” Walk in, put your phone down and you’re done. Paired with CarPlay or Android Auto, this is a perfect way for you to use the phone safely. It’s not only hands-free, it’s wire-free and everyone loves that.

The best choice is to have both options available. Wireless charging is great for the car and the desk, but it’s not great for a fast charge or a place like a coffee house where it makes it easier for someone to steal your phone. Let’s hope now that Apple products finally support wireless charging, that they don’t get rid of the Lightning port. Because yeah, Apple’s never pulled that before <cough>headphone jack<cough>

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.