Wireless charging is quickly becoming a common feature in flagship and premium mid-range smartphones. Apple jumped on the wireless charging bandwagon with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in 2017 and has been including the feature in all its devices and accessories launched ever since. In fact, there are rumors of the company launching a completely port-less iPhone in 2021. However, wireless charging has one major issue, it is not as efficient as wired charging.
Even with wired charging, not all the energy that the chargers pull from the wall socket is passed onto the phone’s battery. Some energy is lost in the conversion process which comes out as heat. However, wired charging has become incredibly efficient and currently has an efficiency rate of >95%. With wireless charging though, the efficiency is notably worse and as low as 47 percent in some cases.
As tests conducted by Eric Ravenscraft of OneZero reveal, wireless charging a Pixel 4 consumed about 47 percent more power when charged wirelessly to go from 0-100 percent. When charged over a wired connection, Pixel 4 took an average of 14.26 watt-hours of power. This jumped to 21.01 Wh when using a wireless charger.
There are multiple factors that come into play when wireless charging a device, including its position on the wireless charger. If the wireless charging coils inside the device were not properly aligned with the coils inside the wireless charger, the power consumption would increase. Which wireless charger you use also makes a lot of difference. A Yootech pad charger used by Eric took 25.62 Wh or 80 percent more energy than a wired connection to charge. The Pixel stand fared far better and consumed 19.8 Wh or 39 percent more power to charge. Another important thing to note is that even when there was no device on the chargers, both wireless chargers consumed around 0.25 watts per hour. This might seem small but adds up over a day, week, or month.
The inefficiency of wireless charging at first might not seem like much at first glance but it adds up when one looks at a macro level. If billions of smartphone users across the world switched to using wireless charging entirely, the power consumption will jump by a noticeable margin. Eric used a Pixel 4 in his test and it is entirely possible that the iPhone has a higher efficiency rate while charging, but even then it is unlikely to be anywhere close to wired charging. As more and more devices adopt wireless charging, the technology behind it should also mature which should lead to the entire process becoming more efficient.
Do you use a wireless charger to charge your iPhone? Or do you prefer using a wired charger?
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