Drivers of an older car do not have to do without wireless charging. We tried three wireless car chargers.
Charging induction dominate the top smartphones of the manufacturers. Recent representatives of this type are Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (review), Huawei P30 Pro (review) and Xiaomi Mi 9 (review). Instead of the cumbersome plugging of a charging cable is sufficient in these models, the simple placing on a matching charging cradle. This not only saves a handle, but fly on the bedside table and less cables around, which disturb especially when they are not needed for loading. If you do not want to give up this form of comfort in the car, you can now rely on numerous devices. We have tried three models of PNY, Terratec and Belkin from 20 to 50 euros and give tips to buy.
Smartphones allow wireless reception of energy primarily by means of the Qi standard, basic principle is the resonant inductive coupling, in short: induction. The transmitter sends data to the charging station to optimize the current flow, similar to an RFID chip, which then responds with the appropriate amount of electricity. The term qi comes from Chinese and means something like "life energy", the word "chi" is spoken. Because it's a fixed standard, users can easily use third-party chargers and are not limited to models from the smartphone provider. The simple handling without plug results in another advantage: Due to the omission of a cable connection eliminates the mechanical stress on the data and charging socket by constantly plugging and unplugging.
There are also disadvantages. The charger and the device to be charged must be close together during the process; the smartphone can not be used in the meantime, or only very cumbersome. In addition, the efficiency of the wireless charging is lower than when charging by cable. Therefore, the charging process takes longer and leads to more warming of the smartphone battery. This in turn has a detrimental effect on the service life, provided that the charging power is not lowered further.
In addition to the official Qi standard manufacturers are increasingly offering wireless charging up to 30 watts. While Qi allows maximum charging speeds of up to 15 watts in the Extended Power Profile, the 30-watt loaders usually use extended Qi standards. So if you want the higher speed of charging by induction, then you need to resort to manufacturer-specific chargers. These are usually more expensive than third-party models. Corresponding smartphones are usually also backwards compatible with "normal" Qi chargers, which operate at a speed of 5 to 15 watts.
PNY Wireless Car Charger
The cheapest model in our comparison is the Wireless Car Charger from PNY. The device is available in our price comparison from just over 20 euros. The scope of delivery is clear and self-explanatory, the instructions for use in paper form are therefore actually unnecessary. The scope of delivery includes a clamp lock with ball head, on which the actual mobile phone holder must be inserted. A charger for the cigarette lighter and a charging cable complete the otherwise wireless charger.
The clamp has a push button that opens the clamp. Then it should be plugged into a lamella of the vehicle ventilation, in fact it holds there reliably. The actual mobile phone holder can be easily aligned with the driver via a ball head. In order to maintain the alignment even in poor road conditions, the user may lock the ball head by screw thread. The power adapter for the cigarette lighter has two USB-A ports, so that even another device can be supplied with power. A small LED indicates the status: A green LED indicates ready to charge or a fully charged battery, green flash indicates a fault. Blue light indicates the charging process.
The clamp of the phone holder, the user must pull apart to pinch the smartphone manually, it will require two hands. The PNY model then keeps mobile phones up to 90 millimeters wide secure. The rubber-padded edition for the phone is very large because of its elongated circle shape. This ensures, together with the good clamping strength for secure hold of the smartphone.
Because of the long linkage, the distance from the bracket to the ventilation of the PNY Wireless Car Charger is quite large. As a result, the bracket moves with fast cornering and bad lane every now and then to the side, can not change. The charging rate is the manufacturer as in the other models in this comparison with 10 watts. Accordingly, a Huawei P30 Pro (test report) was loaded with 5 or 6 percent within 20 minutes (based on 80 percent) using two navigation apps and the corresponding display enabled.
Terratec Chargeair Car
The Chargeair Car by Terratec costs about 12 euros more than the model of PNY, but also offers more. The scope of delivery is largely consistent with that of the cheaper model. Again, there is a lamellar clamp with push button for attaching to the car ventilation, a lockable ball head for aligning the smartphone, a separate micro-USB cable and a power adapter for the cigarette lighter with two USB-A ports and LED.
The linkage between the vent and mount is shorter than the PNY model, so the Chargeair is more stable overall. A great advantage of the clamping device that receives the smartphone. The body housing the induction coil is round and much smaller than the Wireless Car Charger from PNY. As a result, even large smartphones are more flexible in placement. Add to this the clamping mechanism itself, which is much better solved. Small rollers are attached at its ends, and the spring-loaded ends of the protruding clamp can be easily bent outward as the smartphone clips. In this way, at least in theory, you only need one hand. In practice, it can sometimes happen that you push away the whole bracket, as it kinks either on the clamp or on the ball head.
The actual width of the bracket is regulated by a mechanism at the bottom to a maximum smartphone width of about 85 millimeters. If the user presses the grooved switch and then pushes it aside, both clamps open and can be adjusted perfectly to the actual dimensions of the smartphone to be recorded.
Belkin Boostup Wireless Charging Vent Mount
The most expensive representative in our comparison is the Belkin Boostup Wireless Charging Vent Mount for around 52 euros. Despite the highest price he surprises with the most limited scope of delivery: There is no separate charging cable, the smartphone holder is firmly connected to the power supply. A ball head for aligning the bracket is also missing. Also, the bracket is not attached via a clamp with spring force on the slats of the vehicle ventilation, but simply plugged over a rubberized clamp without opening mechanism. Although this holds basically good enough, the other brackets but provide better grip. A turn from portrait to landscape is also possible with the Belkin-Chager. In addition, the construction of the boostup in our comparison field is the most compact, the charger is therefore least of ventilation and thus dashboard off.
As with the low-priced PNY model, the driver needs both hands to insert a smartphone, because the first thing that has to be pulled apart is the spring-loaded clamping function. This mechanism looks significantly higher quality than PNY and the whole design is more massive and high quality.
PNY Wireless Car Charger
TerraTec ChargeAIR Car
Belkin BoostUp Wireless Universal Car Holder
Among the three models we have tried, there are now some alternatives in all possible price regions. Some of them hold the smartphone to be charged magnetically, others by terminal. Depending on your preference, the smartphone mounts can also be attached either to the ventilation louvers of the vehicle or to the windshield. Important is the secure hold of the phone and the bracket, and in the case of window brackets, there is also a possible vibration-free attachment. Otherwise, it may be difficult to see the content on the display at first glance.
A special mention is the Huawei SuperCharge Wireless Car Charger, which was shown on the launch of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. It works like the chargers presented here, but charges compatible models with up to 27 watts and opens the smartphone terminals automatically by motor, as the holder approaches the hand with the smartphone to be recorded. Huawei's Wireless Charger will hit the market in November and will cost € 69 in the manufacturer's UPV.
XLayer MagFix Wireless Charging Car Starter Kit
Trust Yudo Wireless Charging Car Phone Holder
Hyper HyperDrive Wireless Car Charger
Kenu Airframe Wireless Car Holder
Scosche magicMOUNT PRO Qi batch
THB Bury Power Kit Qi
A disadvantage of all retrofit solutions for wireless charging: There is always a power adapter in the cigarette lighter and a cable dangling from the phone holder down. At least for PNY and Terratec, the user can also power another USB device thanks to the second USB-A port on their power supplies. Schick does not look like that anyway. Otherwise, it is a matter of purse and taste: The cheapest model in this comparison, the PNY Wireless Car Charger, looks also the cheapest, stands far from the ventilation and therefore wobbles most. The loading works but similar to the more expensive chargers.
The model of Terratec, the Chargeair Car, does not cost much more, but looks much higher quality and has the best clamping mechanism in comparison – this applies to both the lamella clamp, as well as the smartphone holder. It is therefore our winner in this comparison. The most expensive model in comparison, the Belkin Boostup Wireless Charging Vent Mount, is the most compact, but disappointing with its fixed power supply and lack of alignment due to lack of ball joint. Faster loading does not exist despite higher price, all three models load with 10 watts and are similarly fast.