Wired charging versus wireless charging

By Mark Mayne, Technology Writer

Wired charging vs wired charging? You should use both

Just a few years ago, the option to choose between wired and wireless charging was still rare. But today’s smartphones usually include the ability to charge by either method. In addition, smartwatches and many tablets are increasingly offering wireless charging as an option, as well as headphones and a widening array of wearable gadgets. 

However, wireless charging isn’t a direct ‘replacement’ for wired charging. Look closer and you’ll discover that there are pros and cons to the ‘wireless vs. wired’ charging question, especially for high-demand devices in the context of busy everyday life and travel.

Wired charging is faster (mostly)

Wired charging is a much faster way to charge up a flagging mobile battery, a vital tip when time is of the essence. After a long day’s work, a quick top-up in the hotel room before heading out for the evening’s events should always use a wired charger for maximum effectiveness. A cable can deliver a more efficient charge than wireless thanks to its direct connection. 


The speed of cable charging has been augmented recently by both Samsung’s Super Fast Charging and Apple’s Fast Charge standards. The former uses the USB Power Delivery 3.0 PPS (programmable power standard) to allow newer Samsung models to pull up to 45W to cram as much juice in as possible. Apple’s fast charge delivers a 50 percent battery in around 30 minutes, using either an official Apple adaptor, or any adaptor that supports USB Power Delivery (USB-PD).

But wireless charging is more convenient

Wireless charging is so easy to use it’s almost like magic, especially with Qi Wireless charging pads built to rigorous Wireless Power Consortium standards and thus delivering steady and regulated power to your device.

The Qi 1.2 standard supports mobile charging speeds of up to 15 watts. Samsung 10W (Fast Charge) and Apple 7.5W chargers are most common at the moment, with newer Samsung phones able to support the maximum 15W draw. Hotel alarm clocks such as the Brandstand CubieDuo support the Qi 1.2 standard, as well as offering USB-A ports for cabled charging.    

That wireless charging ease of use means that wireless chargers are great for desktop chargers, kitchens and other ‘grab and go’ type situations. Coffee shops and hotel receptions are also good examples of places where grabbing just a little charge boost while you’re waiting (or enjoying a coffee) is easy and hassle free.  

Yes, but wired charging is more widely supported

For travelers, you can’t beat a simple plug and charger combo. From planes to trains, taxis to hotel rooms, there are often USB charge ports to hand. Failing that, every mains outlet can be a potential charging point, just as long as you’ve got the right plug.

Wired charging or wireless charging? Brandstand gives you both with the CubieTrio.

Of course, heading abroad will require you to pack a travel adapter too, but chances are you’d take one anyway to plug in other gadgets - tablets, laptop computers, portable games consoles, cameras, hair straighteners… Wow, how much did you pack?

Wireless charging cuts down the clutter

Part of the appeal of wireless charging is that you can travel light. No need to worry about cables. Or plugs. Or travel adapters. And public wireless charging stations are becoming more widely available too.

Marriott has had wireless charging pads in some of its hotel lobbies since 2014 [1], while key Premier Inns have wireless charging technology integrated into the hotel bars, so customers can charge their phone as they have a drink. 

Wired charging still allows you to use your phone...

Once safely tethered to a charging cable, you’re still able to ‘fully’ use your device, whether to stream the latest box-set, catch up on social media or send a few work emails. An extra-long cable for such occasions is extremely useful, and a worthy travel inclusion for any trip. With wireless charging, your device needs to stay on the charging pad, limiting its use.

… But so does wireless charging

Charging a phone wirelessly doesn’t mean you can’t use it at all. You might not be able to browse the web or watch a video, but you can listen to podcasts, internet radio or stream your favorite tunes with ease - and all without fumbling around for a cable. 

Your battery might just last longer too. There’s the argument that wireless charging is better for longterm battery health. As Wired points out: “The chemical reactions inside lithium-ion batteries are more comfortable with shorter charges and discharges, rather than being drained all the way down and then topped all the way up.” [2] Maintaining a charge between 50 and 80 percent seems to be the best advice, with the potential to extend battery lifespan.

The winner is…?

Overall, the choice between wired and wireless charging ultimately comes down to convenience and accessibility. For maximum charging speed, wired is always the way to go. But wireless is arguably the future of device charging - simple, effective and ultimately, kinder to your battery.

Discover Brandstand’s versatile range of Qi Wireless charging products.  


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References:
[1] https://www.engadget.com/2014-10-07-marriott-hotels-wireless-charging.html
[2] https://www.wired.com/story/smartphone-battery-care-last-longer/