Content Nav Menu 

Powermat Wireless Charging Review

on December 22, 2009 11:54 am

Powermat-1
Like many gadget lovers, I personally own many gadgets, mp3 players, cell phones, etc.  One thing that all gadget lovers can agree on is that it is a nuisance to constantly charge all of these gadgets.  What’s worse is that all of these gadgets use different cables to charge.  Don’t you just wish you had one power cable that could charge everything and anything?  Powermat brings us a step closer to that reality.

I was sent both the home&office mat and portable mat.  For the receivers I was sent the Nintendo DSi, iPhone 3G, and the iPod & iPhone dock.

Powermat-2 Powermat-3

All of the Powermat’s products are nicely packaged and I would buy them just for the nice presentation of their product.

Powermat-4

For this review I will talk about the home & office mat since the portable mat is very similar to it.  Inside the box you’ll find the charging mat, owner’s manual, power adapter, and the Powercube.

Powermat-5 Powermat-6

Behind the Powermat are 2 buttons to control the status sound and status light. There is also a power jack, and an auxiliary USB port if you so wish to plug in a USB charging cord.  The power adapter for the Powermat seems overly large for something that feels very light.  The power cord came nicely wrapped around the power adapter.

Powermat-7 Powermat-8

The Powercube comes with 7 tips that work with the Powercube’s built-in mini-USB cord.  The tips that come with the Powermat are micro-USB , DS lite, DSi, Sony, Samsung, LG, and Apple.

Powermat-10 Powermat-11

The Powercube also comes with a storage box for the tips.  The funny thing is that the storage box doesn’t hold all 7 tips!!  And assuming you’re using a tip, the storage box still doesn’t hold 6 tips.

Powermat-12 Powermat-13

The storage box sits nicely on top of the Powercube and is held in place by a magnet.

Powermat-14 Powermat-15 Powermat-16 Powermat-17

The iPhone 3G receiver is a nice 2 piece slip-on sleeve.  It has a soft touch feel and you have easy access to all the buttons.  A nice addition to the sleeve is that it converts the dock connector into a micro-USB port.  Powermat was nice enough to provide a micro-USB cable along with this receiver.

Powermat-18 Powermat-19

The iPod & iPhone dock receiver charges your iPod and iPhone by sliding it in the dock and just placing the dock onto the Powermat.  The dock has a movable wedge at the back to accommodate the different thickness of the many variations of the iPod and iPhone.  Personally I have an iPod Touch with a clear plastic case to protect it.  It’s a tight fit even with the movable wedge set all the way back.  This dock was clearly made for iPod and iPhone without any protection cases.

Powermat-20 Powermat-21

The Nintendo DSi sleeve receiver works just the same way as the other receivers.  The design of this receiver gives the DSi a better grip when you hold it.

Powermat-22 Powermat-23

Here’s a picture of the 3 products that’s charging on the Powermat.  As you can see there’s 3 status lights at the bottom of the Powermat showing that it’s charging.  They will turn off when your device gets a full charge.  The Powermat also emits a status sound when you place and remove a device.

Powermat-24 Powermat-25 Powermat-26 Powermat-27

The portable Powermat works just the same as the home version.  The difference is that this one can be folded up and it comes with a nice carrying case.  It’s pretty useful for when you’re on the go.  But in my experience, I would rather just carry a micro-USB and iPod sync cable with me instead of carrying the that portable Powermat around.  I just set that portable Powermat up at the office while I use the home Powermat at home.

Both variations of the Powermat cost $99.99.  And the receivers range from $29.99 to $39.99.  Personally I like this type of “wireless charging” induction technology but it would be better if it was standardized and the induction receivers were actually built in to the devices.

 

Product Information

Price:$99.99 for either Powermat $29.99 - $39.99 for the receivers
Manufacturer:Powermat
Pros:
  • Wireless induction charging
  • Don't have to mess with cords again!
Cons:
  • Limited device specific receivers

Comments

  1. 1
    John Kes says:

    So what is the advantage of the PowerCube and Dock Receiver vs the adapters that came with your gadgets? Still have to plug them into something, right?

    iPhone sleeve is nice, though. Makes it work like my Palm Pre w/ Touchstone.

  2. 2
    Jackie Cheng says:

    The PowerCube is just something extra they thrown in I guess. So that the Powermat is more “compatible” with other devices that doesn’t have a device specific sleeve.

    I personally like the sleeve idea. I purchased a back cover for my Blackberry Curve 8900. Loving it.

    Yes it works like the Touchstone.

  3. 3
    Mark says:

    The sleeve is nice but now its become a proprietary device. You either need to use THAT sleeve and no other iphone sleeves, cases, holders etc., or you need to slip that sleeve on only when charging.
    silly…
    and even more silly, the holder for all of the tips can’t even hold them….duh

  4. 4
    Jackie Cheng says:

    @Mark: I actually like the iphone sleeve. I does provide nice protection for the iphone. The Blackberry battery door charger does look nicer though.
    The tips holder is really dumb to not hold all their tips.

  5. 5
    Sandee Cohen says:

    Way back in the sixties the British TV show, “The Avengers” had an episode all about how terrific it would be if we had something they called “broadcast power.”

    With broadcast power we wouldn’t have to be constantly plugging and unplugging cords. (And if you’ve ever been to England you know that their electrical cords are humungous things with switches on the wall sockets.

    Later, the futuristic comedy “Brazil” from Monty Python alumni Terry Gilliam had a hilarious scene where the hero needed to plug and unplug all sorts of electric and connection cords to get some sort of machine to work. He failed.

    In all these years, with the advent of men on the moon, velcro, WiFi, freeze dried ice cream, and super glues, we only have this rather cumbersome device to charge portable devices!

    Hey, people, it’s almost TWENTY-TEN! We should be much better off than this pathetic power source.

  6. 6
    Xavier A says:

    I have been following chargers like the Powermat for a while, but it always put me back the lack of enough receivers for my gadgets. I think the Powercube is a good idea, as it will extend the Powermat to many other gadgets, so coming closer to the one-for-all idea. But, as I said before, I’ve been following this kind of chargers (not many) for a while, and what I came to is chargers that include a battery and can recharge several devices through different tips (like the ones that come with the Powercube, but witha different tipe in the cube side… but this is another problem). There are several of this chargers, and there is a recent review in The Gadgeteer of a model from Duracell, but other with higher capacity batteries exist, even solar-rechargeble. All in all, I ended with a device much smaller and lighter than the Powermat, more versatile (tips are cheaper to make and to buy, so they make many more and you can afford many more too)… but without the wireless capacity inthe mat end, and without the ability to charge multiple devices (three in Powermate, more in other mats). So, for me, this is the point to consider Powermate. Will the home& office mat add enough comfort to be worth the purchase? I can imagine the mat always connected on my desk and my just throwing my Treo on it when arriving home. Well, not my Treo: I would need the Powercube for that… But for anyone owing one of the devices that have a receiver, and needing to charge it offen (using it on a daily basis), this would be the situation. The Powercube, if not essencial like in make case, would at least extend the use of the Powermat to other devices not so essential. And even the portable Powermat might be useful, not to carry it all day (I would stick to my charger-with-a-battery solution for that), but for travel.
    So, as always with gadgets, it depends how do you intend to use it.

  7. 7
    wii zubehör says:

    Your device still has to be fixed on a location and there are actually more steps involved in charging the device. For example, with a cellphone you can leave the charger plugged in the wall and just bend down to pick the cable and plug it. Or, just get a USB cable and plug the end in the fron USB drive.

  8. 8
    Jackie Cheng says:

    @wii: All gadgets are like that. They do something different but doesn’t change much. Just like ebooks. You still have to turn the pages. You still have to pick it up. And you have to charge it for it to work. And yet people still buy it as a gadget.

  9. 9
    jay says:

    thanks for this Julie,

    I had assumed from all the ads that for Powermat that your gadget only had to be placed on to the mat to be wirelessly charged – i’m quite disappointed that this is not the case and feel that their original advertising is somewhat misleading.

    What’s the point in buying another device to plug my gadgets in to to charge when all my gadgets already come with their own charger?
    Most stuff like mp3 player, Blackberry etc can now be charged via usb from my laptop as well, so I certainly won’t be investing in a Powermat – shame as I was actually looking forward to this one…

  10. 10
    Chirs says:

    Got one for Christmas and its pretty decent. While currently i have to use the powercubes for most of my devices and “plug” them in I do find it more convenient then having a bunch of charges plugged in to the wall. In addition I do believe they will eventual expand their selection or doors or cases beyond blackberries, ipods, and DS’s so you can just toss them on the pad. This is mostly a problem because there are no standards for all of our wonderful gadgets, short of starting to use mini/micro usb for charging in newer cell phones and such. If devices uses standard sized and capacity batteries this technology could be build right in. Of course that would require device manufactures to actually have removable batteries unlike Ipods and many GPS’s. Yes not all of the tips fit in a tip holder, but I have found that there is very little need to have all the tips, as there are a few in there that I will never use. I do have two of the pods and I have found that all of the tips that I use will fit within the two cases. It also will save a ton of luggage space when I need to travel light.

    Just my thoughts

    CG

  11. 11
    Jackie Cheng says:

    @Chris: Glad you enjoyed the product. I use it daily. Makes it much easier then to fiddle around with cables. I guess it’s perfect for me since I use exactly the same products they support with the cases/sleeves/covers.

  12. 12
    Drew says:

    This things sucks… Someone tell me why I have to pay $140 in order to charge my iphone. I think I can plug it in. The best part is seeing my mother’s face on Christmas after I explained that the $100 she spent only got me a giant space filler that required me to still plug in, until of course I buy the $40 individual case. What a rip off. What VC firm funded this stupid idea. The whole wireless charging will be successful in the future, but consider this the 1.0 version that is just a waste of money. I’d rather wait 6 months for another intelligent company to create a partnership with device makers that will be built into future phones. Then the new mat will cost $40-50 tops. Congrats to Powermat for using the wireless charging idea to sell you a POS product. Here is some advice, save your money. As unbearable as it is, continue to plug in your cell phones to charge for 6 more months. The wireless charging revolution will come and you can spend your $140 dollars on something important than donating it to the crooks at powermat.

  13. 13
    sabesque says:

    Main annoyance – the mini usb in the iphone case wont work with any accessories you may have already bought. I have a dock speaker system to play music, which i can’t use unless i remove the case.

    It also makes it difficult to charge outside of the location where you keep the powermat. For example, i keep my powermat at home, i have to remove the case to charge my phone at work/in car or i’d have to carry around the min usb everywhere.

  14. 14
    M. Snelling says:

    I bought the portable PM thinking that was all I need to charge my devices. I think the slick advertising makes an average person believe all you need is to plug in the PM, and from that moment on, just sit your device on it and walk away. I didn’t know that you have to purchase other accessories to make it work until I got it home. Sure it comes with the powercube and associated tips to use with various devices; but this means without purchasing two more cubes or the specific accessories listed, you can only charge one device at a time. Very disappointed.

  15. 15
    Mark says:

    Well, I thought this was really cool until I realised that in order to sync my iPhone, I need to plug in the micro USB thing i anyway. If I am plugging that in, I may as well plug the one in that goes straight into the PC?! I thought the pass through USB it was talking about connected the Mat to the PC, so it would charge it through that – THAT would have been cool enough to spend £100 on – as it is, this one is going back to the shop and I’m going to buy something else instead! Such a shame.

  16. 16

    Definately a choice to make here:

    Plus: Great design, looks sexy, frees up plug sockets, your friends will like it

    Minuses: expensive and not exactly wire free

    If your superficial like me then get it if you want something that just does the job buy a USB charger and buy the different leads you need.

  17. 17
    Beka says:

    I have no idea how my freaking thing works. I thought all you have to do is set it on the placemat, but it’s not working. Can someone tell me how to work this thing?

  18. 18
    Jackie Cheng says:

    @Beka – You got BOTH the base and the sleeve/adapter for your phone?

Leave a Reply