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I spent $ 13 to charge my iPhone wirelessly

  iPhone 5s-in-Case Wireless Charging

I added a $ 13.57 Qi receiver to my iPhone. Can you recognize it? No, because it's in the case I already used.

Photo by Rick Broida / CNET

With the exception of the iPhone 7 ($ 549 at Apple) every phone in the current Apple family supports wireless charging. No more flashes with Lightning cables anymore (unless you want to), just put the phone on a charging bag and take a pinch: Magnetic Induction .

Crap for older models, right? Wrong: For about $ 13 you can add just about any iPhone with wireless charging ($ 1,000 on Amazon) . And you know what? It works out!

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This is what a typical Qi receiver looks like on the back of an iPhone 5S. It does not hang, but there is a glue strip if you want.

Photo by Rick Broida / CNET

How is that possible?

Before Apple added the technology to iPhones (starting with the iPhone 8 ($ 599 at Walmart) and X), users had to rely on bulky, expensive and uncomfortable things to pack backpacks from third-party companies.

Today, however, you can add wireless charging in the form of a sheer upholstery clinging to the back of your phone. Full-time access to the Lightning port is required, but not at the expense of your own case. And it is much easier to remove if necessary. Here is the result of my $ 13 experiment.

Is it really only $ 13?

When you discover Amazon on Qi Charging Receiver iPhone, you'll find several seemingly identical products from brands like Nillkin, SainSonic, and YKing. (Yes, I've never heard of them either.)

Most of them cost between $ 13 and $ 14, though some are available for $ 10. You can find them in the UK for £ 6 £ 11 and in Australia for AU $ 10 to AU $ 16.

I recommend this Qi receiver from Nillkin, if only because I tried both the iPhone and iPhone Android. Versions and found that they worked well. The latter has been connected to a replacement phone for about a year and so far so far.

See it on Amazon

You can use these receivers with just about any Qi charging cushion or stand, though I definitely recommend using one with at least two coils, just to make sure you do not accidentally use the " Sweet "miss spot" when you lay your phone down. (More spools mean more wireless cargo space.)

You can barely see the Lightning port, it does not even exist.

Rick Broida / CNET

How fast is the charge?

I absolutely expected inductive charging to last longer than cable charging. No wires should be just a drop of juice, right?

Incorrect. When I ran these tests for the first time (in September 2017), I played videos on an iPhone 5S ($ 89 at Walmart) until the battery ran out, and then with an Invitian charger and one Seneo charger charged. Total time to reach 100 percent: just under 2 hours. That's almost as long as a Lightning cable.

Your mileage can and can vary – depending on whether you use a case and how thick this case is.

My first test was without a case. Then I put it back on the phone (and on the receiver) and was glad to see it fit perfectly. The receiver itself is barely thicker than a sheet of paper and the band that connects the Lightning connector is slim and flexible.

The charge also seemed to work well, though I have to admit that I did not make it to see if the case slowed down the process.

I strongly recommend using a case, not only to protect against crashes, but also because only a small strip of tape holds the receiver to the back of the phone. There is nothing that keeps the edges down or the ribbon cable protected. I feel like a lot of slipping in and out of bags or purses will take a toll.

If you're using a case, you do not even have to use the glue: the receiver just stays pressed on the back of the phone where it needs to be. However, this makes it more difficult to remove the plug if necessary. There is simply no easy way to pack it.

If you want to charge wirelessly (on any phone), forget about using products like Ungrip.

Photo by Rick Broida / CNET

What is the disadvantage?

If you review the user ratings for some of these Qi receivers, you may find that some people have compatibility issues with the charging pads built into some vehicles.

Is this due to incompatible wireless charging standards? Could be. All of these iPhone receivers seem to support Qi technology. I am not sure if all cars are doing well.

Another topic: These are obviously pretty cheap, so the reliability may not be great.

Also, remember that you can not use certain phone grabber products, such as PopSocket or Spigen Style Ring, regardless of whether or not you use a suitcase: they prevent your phone from lying flat on the charging pad. what is necessary. (However, I did not have any issues with the Phone Strap, which remains one of my favorite grapples – partly because it's Qi-friendly!)

It's also worth noting that none of these recipients seem to be certified by Apple's "Made for iPhone." Program. This certification is not free, so bargain manufacturers often skip it. But that's another reason these accessories tend to work "behind the bar in the local bodega" rather than what you'll find in the Best Buy range.

Let me conclude by mentioning that testing is exactly why the phrase "your mileage can vary" was invented. Depending on the receiver you have purchased, the charging bag used, etc., different results can be achieved. This is still a relatively new technology, and there are several variables.

That said, there's an additional benefit to using an external receiver like this: It keeps your Lightning port free of dust and debris. I've recently learned from an Apple Store employee that such a gunk can interfere with successful wired charging – far more than most users know.

If you've already tested one of these third-party wireless charging solutions, click the comments and share your experience!

Originally posted on September 20, 2017.
Update dated January 7, 2019: New information added.

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