This week, I've been testing out the new Powermat "wireless" charging device, which went on sale at Best Buy and Target on Sunday. I put wireless in quotes, because you have to plug the mat into an electrical socket, so there is technically a wire involved. But the good news is the mat charges up to three gadgets at once.
Here's how it works: As is with the case with the Wildcharge "wireless" charging mat, you can't simply plop your gadget on the mat and get a miraculous charge. Instead, you'll need to buy a receiver case or battery door receiver for your specific make of phone or use a small plastic universal receiver that comes with a variety of plugs and sits on the charger. When you put a device or a universal receiver on the mat, it makes a noise and a white light comes on to let you know your gadget is charging. There's also a slight gravitational pull that directs the devices to the right area on the mat, which is very helpful.
The Powermat comes in a desktop version and a handy portable version that folds up and fits in a small carrying case that you can toss in your bag when you're on the go. It's a bit heavy, so I wouldn't want to carry it around every day, but it would be fine for a business trip. I used both versions to charge my iPhone (using the special case) and a bluetooth headset (using the universal receiver). I definitely liked being able to simply place my phone on the mat and be done with it. Having to plug a device into the universal receiver is more of a hassle (more wires!). Also, the mat takes just as long to charge devices as a traditional charger, so there are no time savings involved.
The bottom line: The mat gave my phone and headset a good charge and kept things neat and tidy, but dealing with the universal receiver is a bit of a pain. The mat would be good for someone who uses multiple gadgets on a regular basis and likes to be organized.
Desktop Powermat: $99
Travel Powermat: $99
iPhone Receiver Cases: $39.99
Blackberry Battery Door Receivers: $29.99
Universal Receiver: $29.99
iPod Charging Dock: $39.99