Mophie 30-day wireless challenge: Staying powered up without a cable connection

Mophie makes a number of products to keep your device charged up and available for use all the time. It has a few options to provide wireless charging and for the last couple of months I've tried to only use wireless to keep my smartphones powered up.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

Samsung has been making Android phones with wireless charging capability for years and Apple added it last year while Google and others have yet to fully embrace it as a standard feature. Enough devices I have and am testing have it that I attempted to only use wireless charging for my phones since late July.

Some smartwatches I have also have wireless charging, but so far these watches are not capable of using standard Qi charging accessories so I still needed to have cables around for the watches. For smartphones, I used the LG G7, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Apple iPhone X. Since I evaluate phones as part of my role here at ZDNet, I had to use cables to charge up the OnePlus 6, HTC U12 Plus, and Huawei P20 Pro.

Also: 17 ways to recycle or sell your smartphone TechRepublic

While I prefer to use wireless charging all of the time so I can simply set my phone down on a stand without having to mess with cables, there is also some kind of high capacity battery pack in my bag to provide power. I recently tested some Mophie battery packs and in order to try to stick to the 30-day wireless challenge, I plugged in a Mophie Charge Stream Pad Mini and then set my phones down on that so technically I was still charging wirelessly.

It would have been easier, and faster, to charge the phone via a direct cable connection, but I tried to stick to the challenge as much as possible. The battery pack was not plugged in at the time so the only wire in use was from the battery to the Charge Stream Pad Mini.

Regular wireless charging usually happens at the 5W level with Samsung's fast wireless charging at 9W. Apple's latest faster charging is at 7.5W (I guess Apple always has to be a bit different and can't standardize like the rest of the manufacturers). The products I tested supply power across this range.

In terms of performance, the RavPower Fast Charge outputs up to 10W of power - enough for regular speed charging (typically 5W), Samsung's 9W quick-charging, and Apple's own 7.5W iteration.

Let's take a closer look at the wireless charging gear I used over the last 30+ days of smartphone use.


Charge Stream Travel Kit

Over the past couple of months I have taken trips to Hawaii, Florida, and Las Vegas with local Pacific Northwest trips to Mt Rainier, fly fishing on some rivers, and other local parties and events. The Charge Stream Travel Kit has proven very useful with a handy carrying case designed to hold the Mophie Charge Stream Pad Mini, a 4.9 foot long USB-A to microUSB cable, a 2.4A wall adapter, and a 2.4A auto adapter.

Also: The first Android phone was an ugly thing, and I loved it CNET

The gear in this travel kit was my solution for charging in rental cars and on airplanes. There was a bit of a balancing act to perform in the car with the Charge Stream Pad Mini, but I will soon be testing out the Charge Stream Vent Mount that will solve that problem and make wireless charging in a vehicle much better.

The Charge Stream Travel Kit is available now for $49.95 and is a must have for business travelers. With this kit, you have one set of auto and wall chargers ready to go in a carrying case that buckles securely closed.

The only thing I would like to see is a Charge Stream Pad Mini with USB-C support so I could have a USB-C cable inside the kit instead of microUSB for those times when you just need a quicker direct cable top off rather than a wireless charge. Also, this Charge Stream Pad Mini provides 5W of charge power so it is not providing the fastest charging possible for Samsung and Apple devices.


Charge Stream Pad+

For office and home use, one Mophie option is the Charge Stream Pad+. It is available in black or white for $59.95 and also delivers up to 10W of power so fast charging is fully supported.

Compared to some older Samsung wireless charging pads I have, this Charge Stream Pad+ has a rather slim profile with a thickness of only 11.75 mm. It has a 97 mm diameter and the face is covered in soft touch material so your phone will not slide around when placed on the charging pad.

A microUSB cable is still used to power the Charge Stream Pad+ and again I would like to see all accessories move to the USB-C standard. A 1.5m (4.9 foot) USB cable is provided with a Quick Charge 2.0 wall adapter.

I have cases on my phones and had no problem keeping them charged up using this Qi-enabled charging pad. Mophie states that cases up to 3mm thick will work with this charger.

Also: 13 wacky phones unlike anything you've ever seen

We often see less expensive charges on Amazon, but I worry a bit about them too since I want my office and home to be safe from electrical failures. Mophie states that fail-safe circuitry prevents over-charging and controls temperature to prevent overheating. The low standby current ensures minimal power draw when the pad is idle. My Samsung fast wireless chargers have fans in them that annoy me as I try to sleep. This Mophie Charge Stream Pad+ is perfect for the nightstand and around the office.

Work by phone: 11 best smartphones for business users

Previous and related coverage:

Want a new iPhone or Android smartphone? Here's how to sell or trade

The new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was just announced and we expect three new iPhones and two Google Pixel phones to launch soon. Now is the time to consider selling your current one before market prices drop or plan to participate in a trade-in program.

10 best smartphones of 2018

he major smartphone launch season is upon us and one of the first out of the gates is the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, immediately taking over the top spot in our list of best smartphones.

Best Wearable Tech for 2018 CNET

Our editors hand-picked these products based on our tests and reviews. If you use our links to buy, we may get a commission.

The best tablets for 2018: Our top picks TechRepublic

Tablet sales may be declining, but there are still plenty of viable use cases and many models to choose from. Here's our pick of the best.

Related stories:

Editorial standards