Wireless charging is here, if you have the right smartphone. These are the best smartphones that are compatible with the Qi standard for wireless charging.
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Samsung Galaxy S6
We named the new Samsung Galaxy S6 the Best Smartphone, making it more than just the king of Android phones. It also happens to be the leader in the wireless charging trend. The phone is compatible with both Qi and PMA wireless charging technology. With its elegant design, speedy performance and great 16-megapixel camera, this Android phone will eliminate your iPhone envy. The circular $37.46 Qi Wireless Charging Pad has a nice 5-foot charging cable. Its edge lights up with a light-blue hue while charging and turns green when fully charged. You can find the phone on Amazon for $199 with a Verizon Wireless contract.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge also includes Qi and PMA wireless charging capability, just as its noncurved sibling from the same company. A sexy curved design lets owners instantly access messages from their top five contacts or quickly rub to get a quick time and temperature check on the side. You can find the phone for $299 through Verizon on Amazon, while the Wireless Charging Pad is $37.46.
With an innovative, sexy curved display, the $299 Samsung Galaxy Note Edge offers really strong graphics performance on a sharp, bright display. We also love the available customization features. The side displays are larger than they are on the S6 Edge, and prompted Samsung to create its own app store for those special features you can access with a quick swipe. Although the wireless charging capability isn't integrated directly into the back of the phone, Samsung made a $24.99 Qi cover that replaces the phone's battery door so that the phone can charge wirelessly on a charging pad. The cover is available in charcoal black or frost white.
Samsung is all in when it comes to wireless charging support. We named the Qi-supported Samsung Galaxy Note 4 the Best Big-Screen Phone. On Amazon, this 5.7-inch phablet is $199, but the price is worth it because of the multitasking features, a fast and sharp camera, and a pen you will actually want to use. Like the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, the Note 4 needs a special cover in order for it to charge on a Qi wireless pad. You have to pay an additional $30.25 on Amazon for the cover, which comes in charcoal black or frost white.
Sony has also gotten into the wireless-charging trend with the Sony Xperia Z3. Despite its $390 price tag on Amazon when unlocked, the waterproof phone lasts more than 12 hours on a charge; offers great-sounding speakers; and sports a sharp, bright screen. You'll need the $114.99 Sony Wireless Charging Cover (WCR14) to charge on a plate, though.
With the Google Nexus 6, Qi wireless charging technology is supported on the phone, so there's no need to buy an extra cover. Unlocked, this phone is quite expensive, at $499. But Android fans will love the intuitive Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system, which offers a perfect Google experience and should stay up-to-date regardless of the carrier you choose. Although the Nexus-specific wireless charger is no longer available for purchase, you can use any Qi wireless charger to juice it up.
Motorola's new Droid Turbo, which offers built-in Qi wireless-charging support, is available only through Verizon Wireless, for $149 with a two-year contract. It offers more than 9 hours of battery time, is water-resistant and can cancel background noise when you're on the phone. We're big fans of the performance speed as well. Verizon even sells a $59.99 Qi wireless charger that stands upright, so you can still view content on your phone as it is charging.
Wireless charging is no longer the stuff of the future; it's a widely used method of juicing up your smartphone. All you need is a charging mat underneath your handset. Granted, it's not available for all smartphones; for instance, you won't find it on iPhones. However, there are some big names that are worth checking out. Here are a few of our top picks.
In the realm of wireless charging, there are two companies vying for supremacy.
Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) backs the Qi (pronounced "chee") standard, which is currently used in most Android devices that can wirelessly charge on the market. The technology works by taking advantage of magnetic induction, allowing power to be transferred from a mat to a phone's battery. Qi, which in Chinese means "air" or "spiritual energy flow," was established in 2008 and deals with 206 companies, including Microsoft, Samsung and Sony. All of the phones on this list use Qi technology, but that might change soon.
Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) just merged in January 2015 to compete against Qi directly. The PMA standard also works by magnetic induction. In June 2014, PMA partnered with Duracell to place charging pads in select Starbucks in San Francisco, with the idea to expand to other cities in 2015. With the addition of charging pads at popular destinations, it's possible that more phones will start to incorporate both technologies, just as Samsung did with the Galaxy S6.
If your smartphone Android phone doesn't have the ability to wirelessly charge yet, you can get the Universal Qi Wireless Charging Receiver Film (opens in new tab) from Amazon for $13.99. Although it's not very sexy-looking, this film attaches to the back of your Android device, which can then be placed on any Qi-enabled charging pad to power up. There is even a $29.99 receiver film (opens in new tab) available for the iPhone 6/5S/5 for Apple, which hasn't joined the wireless charging party yet.
Ilyse Liffreing is an intern at Tom’s Guide. She likes pina coladas and using virtual reality headsets to get caught in the rain. She will be receiving her MA from NYU. You can follow Ilyse on Twitter @IlyseLiffreing or on Facebook.