Charging Cell Phones Wirelessly

Belkin Qi Wireless Charging Pad
Belkin Qi Wireless Charging Pad.


Ever increasing numbers of new smartphones are including inductive or wireless charging capabilities as one of their key features. Recent handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 920, the Nexus 4 and the HTC Droid DNA can all be charged without a wire.

But what if you own a smartphone that doesn't have this feature? Are you destined to be tethered to the power supply until your next upgrade? Read on to find out the best way to use wireless charging pads, as well ways of making some phones ​qi-compatible even if they don't have the technology inside them. 

The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Qi-Compatible Cell Phones

Nokia Wireless Charging Pad
The official Nokia charging pad. Photo © Nokia

Many of the Qi-compatible handsets on the market will have official charging pads available for them. If you were lucky, one of these pads might even have been included free when you bought the phone. If not, you will be able to find the official product on the manufacturer websites, as well as on some of the big carrier websites (Verizon, Vodafone, etc.)

The official product for your handset is often the best bet, but there are numerous third-party Qi charging pads available if you are looking for a cheaper option. Some pads can even charge two devices at the same time. Energizer, amongst others, produce a dual-device charging pad. Whichever option you decide to go for, the way you use them with a compatible handset remains the same.

Using a Charging Pad

Nokia Wireless Charger
Photo © Russell Ware

The charging pad will usually be comprised of just two components: the pad itself and a separate power adaptor. Plug the adaptor into the socket on the charging pad, place the pad on a flat and stable surface and connect the adaptor to the power supply.

Depending on the charging pad you have, you may see a power light or you may not. Many wireless charging pads have a light which only turns on when a phone is being charged, whilst others have a light to indicate power and another to indicate charging.

Charging Your Phone

nokia on wireless charger
Photo © Russell Ware

Place your Qi-compatible phone onto the pad, with the screen facing up. If there is a Qi logo on the pad, try to make sure your phone is placed centrally over it. If the phone is correctly placed, the light on the pad will turn on or flash, showing you that the phone is being charged. Most handsets will also display a notification on screen to tell you that it is being charged wirelessly.

It is worth remembering that in most cases, charging on a wireless charging pad will be slower than if charging using a normal cable plugged into your phone. It is also normal for the pad and the phone to become slightly warm to the touch when charging.

Qi Adaptor Cases

Wireless Charging Case
Photo © qiwirelesscharging

If your phone does not have the Qi technology built in, you may be able to adapt it to work on a charging pad using a Qi adaptor case. Several phones, including the iPhone 4 and 4S, some BlackBerry handsets and some of the Samsung Galaxy range, can be fitted with a case which contains a Qi chip.

These cases will usually be slightly bulkier than normal phone cases as they have to include the chip and a method of connecting to the micro USB (or other connection type) port on the phone.

Galaxy S3 Adaptors

Photo © Russell Ware

If you own a Samsung Galaxy S3, there is a slightly more elegant solution to the problem of not having Qi built in. With this phone, it is possible to buy a replacement back cover which has the Qi chip built in. Again, this is slightly bulkier than the standard back cover, but not by much.

You can also buy a wireless charging card, containing the Qi chip, which can be slotted over the Galaxy battery. Metal contacts protruding from the card connect with a terminal next to the battery in the S3. Using this method means that you don't have to use a bulkier back cover.