Charging Multiple Devices
Unless you are exceedingly lucky, each of your mobile devices will require its own recharging facilities in the form of a lead and a bulky power plug or plugs in the case of those whose travels take them to distant climes. The clutter this causes increases as you add more devices to the collection that you can not live without. Managing the logistics necessary to keep the appropriate power lead and plug with the correct device only adds to the problem. Fortunately this situation could be about to change. Agreements have been made with mobile handset manufacturers delivering their products with a standardised power connection so that one lead fits all. However this does not help with the myriad of current devices which is where Powermat enters the picture.
Powermat, the company, has come up with a solution for delivering real time charging of multiple electronic devices simultaneously. According to the company’s press release and the actual packaging for the product, this is a wireless solution. I have to disagree slightly by pointing out that you do need a wired connection to the mains in order to provide the necessary power for recharging purposes. Of course the reference to “wireless” is relevant when considering the connection between the device and the recharging unit.
The Powermat, that’s the product not the company, is available in two formats. There is the Powermat Home & Office and the Powermat Portable. Both products consist of a mat that can provide power to a variety of enabled devices by simply placing them on the mat. You will, no doubt, have noticed that I have referred to the various devices as “enabled” and this is because in their normal state our collection of devices are not “enabled”. To enable a device you will need the appropriate receiver which, in some cases, could be a replacement back cover that has the built-in technology to absorb power before directing it towards your device’s internal power pack or an iPod style docking station.
Specific receivers are available for a range of devices including iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry plus Nintendo DS Lite and DSi units. For other devices there is an option to use the Powermat Powercube which comes with eight tips giving you the means to link to Nokia, SE, Samsung, LG and Sony PSP products. You also get a microUSB tip that will allow many other devices to be recharged.
I have been looking at the Powermat Portable product which, like the Powermat Home & Office offering, lets you mount three different enabled devices simultaneously. In addition there is a USB port allowing you to connect a fourth device (but that is not really a wireless connection) for recharging. Where the Home & Office product is fairly rigid, the portable option has a Jacob’s ladder type facility in that it can be folded up to measure less than 10 x 10 x 3.5cm. Helping keep everything together when in transit, the portable product comes with a travel case, power lead and three detachable plug elements. There is no room in the travel case for any receivers you might require.
Rather surprisingly Powermat has opted not to use a retaining clip feature for keeping the plug element securely connected to the power lead. Unless care is taken you could find that your chosen plug could become detached from the lead when you try to disconnect the unit from the mains.
An audio signal is given when attaching the Powermat to the mains and also when adding an enabled device for recharging. You should also notice a slight magnetic attraction pulse as a device is draws near to the mat. Each of the three sections of the mat has its own power light to indicate when charging begins. Both the intensity of this light and the volume level of the audible signal can be adjusted by the user.
While this solution does work and can prove useful, the overall cost can add up for those who have a collection of different devices. The basic Powermat Home & Office product is priced at £69.99 with the portable version costing £10 extra. Depending upon the type of device, the various receivers are priced at either £34.99 (Apple devices) or £29.99 each for other devices.
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