Wireless charging in the car offers a whole new level of convenience.

We’ve all been there. You jump in the car thinking you’ve got a healthy charge on your smartphone, only to see it sitting in the red at an uncomfortable 18 per cent. A morning of video conference calls and the kid’s marathon Bluey session has taken its toll. And what if you left the charging cable in the house? That’s where a wireless charger becomes a must-have accessory for your wheels.

Now, some higher-end new cars incorporate wireless charging as a built-in feature. However, if your car is a few years old, there’s a good chance you’ve just got a USB-A port or, at best, the old faithful 12V accessory socket.

Wireless car charging is the ultimate in convenience. Dropping a smartphone onto a wireless pad instead of fumbling with a cable every time you jump in the car is not only practical, but a great time saver. So, what exactly are they, and how do they work?

Will wireless charging work for me?
We’ve already spoken about the convenience of wireless charging, so that’s a no-brainer. But before you rush out and buy one for the car, there’s an essential factor to consider: compatibility. Most newer flagship phones will incorporate support for wireless charging. However, not all phones, especially older models, will. Chances are you will already know if this tech is available for your smartphones, but if you’re unsure, do your research first.

Scosche Power Socket Magic Mount

What is wireless charging?
In short, it means transferring power from an electricity outlet directly to your device without using a cable. It’s not totally wireless, though – the charging pad needs to be connected to a power source.

So how does it actually work?
Wireless charging, known as inductive charging, is when an electrical current passes through a ‘receiver’ coil inside your smartphone. There’s a similar ‘transmitting’ coil in a wireless charger, which generates an electromagnetic field. The ‘receiver’ coil then converts this to electricity, which is fed directly into the battery.

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What is ‘Qi’ wireless charging?
Pronounced as ‘chee’, which means ‘breath’ or ‘life force’ in Chinese, Qi is the wireless charging standard that has been adopted by the largest global tech firms, including Samsung and Apple.

Will a wireless car charger charge my phone faster than a conventional charger?
No, but the rate at which a battery is charged is dependent on several factors. These include the age of the battery, what battery level the phone is on when the phone starts charging, and even temperature can have an impact.

Does wireless charging work with phones in a case?
We tried charging phones adorned with thin (no more than 3mm thick) plastic, silicone and leather cases and had no issues with conducting a charge.

Aside from convenience, what are the other benefits of using a wireless charger in the car?
Straight off the bat, utilising a wireless charger means less wear and tear on charging cables and on the charging port of the phone itself. It’s easy, too, especially if you’re in a rush to get away and need your phone immediately for directions. And from not only an aesthetic point of view but a practical one too, trailing leads are obstructive in a car where space is limited.

TEST DRIVE

Are you looking for a wireless car charger? The following may well be the perfect fit for your four wheels.

Scosche MagicGrip Qi Wireless Auto-Sensing Charging Dash Mount
Straight out of the box, the MagiGrip mount feels like a well-built unit. It comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable, a 12V power adaptor, and two adhesive clips to keep the cable neat and tidy. Mounting is via a robust adhesive patch, and the unit can be affixed to the dash or the window, depending on your preference. Rotation can be made at two points – 360 degree movement where the charger mounts the dashboard, and multi-directional ball joint on the plate itself; this means you can pivot the device in just about any position you’d need. Qi-certified, the MagicGrip wireless charger offers compatibility across a broad range of manufacturers’ phones. The standout feature here, though, is the auto-sensing arms. Push the phone between the clamp and the arms will automatically close, holding it firmly in place on a non-slip pad. Releasing the phone is easy – it just pulls out. Once secured, up to 10W of charge is wirelessly transferred to the phone, and a cool, blue LED light illuminates around the plate to indicate it’s charging. It’s a great bit of tech and can be operated single-handedly. Every internal car layout and design is different, and Scosche has recognised this. A second more vertically-designed MagicGrip mount is available, and combined, these two units offer complete in-car mounting versatility.

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Power Socket Magic Mount Pro
While this isn’t a wireless charger, it is an excellent mount for your phone. Designed to insert into the 12V socket in your car, at the front of the power socket is a USB-C and USB-A port for attaching directly to a smartphone charging port. You can effectively charge two phones at once. A flexible neck approximately 12cm long between the mounting plate and the 12V socket configuration will enable users to shape the mount as needed. A gimbal connects the neck to the charging plate to allow full rotation. The smartphone attaches to the mount via a magnetic plate that can be applied directly to the phone, in conjunction with a protective film to protect the phone, or to the rear of a phone case, avoiding contact with the phone altogether. Once applied, your phone will form a strong magnetic bond, keeping it firmly in place.

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MagicMount 4-in-1 Car Mount Kit for MagSafe Charger
This mount is compatible with Apple’s proprietary MagSafe charger, which fits neatly into the plate. A detachable swing arm allows the mount to be multi-positioned and adjustable at the top of the mounting plate and the mounting bracket. The mount can be attached in one of four ways in the car: using an automotive-grade adhesive pad and placing the mount with or without the swing arm straight to the dashboard or swapping the bracket connection and fixing the mount directly to an air vent again with or without the swing arm. The kit comes with a 12V power adaptor with a USB-C port for connecting to an iPhone cable and two adhesive clips to keep said cables tidy. A second MagSafe Charger in the same range features a wider base mounting unit specifically designed for attaching to the dash or the windscreen. It also comes with a 12V power adaptor and two cable clips.

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

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