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One potential solution is Duracell’s myGrid, a wireless charging solution for mobile phones. But does this product really work, or is it not quite ready for prime time?
How It Works
The Duracell myGrid’s concept is simple. Rather than plugging in your mobile phone to charge it, the myGrid lets you charge the device by placing it on the pad’s surface. Your phone will then begin to charge automatically.
It’s like magic, right? Well, not quite. Although the convenience is the driving force behind this concept, you can’t just plop any old phone on the pad. That’s because you need to have a connection between the myGrid and your phone, and that can only be provided by an appropriate adapter.
These adapters plug in via the phone’s mini-USB port and extend around the rear of the phone. Alternatively, you can use what Duracell calls a “power sleeve”. This is simply a phone case with contacts on the rear side which negate the need for the adapter.
Does It Work?
Yes, usually. The technology here isn’t complex or unheard of. Some brands of electric toothbrushes, for example, have used it for some time in order to charge the built-in batteries via a stand.
However, you’ll may notice that your phone doesn’t charge as quickly with the myGrid as it does with a normal power adapter if you’re charging multiple phones at once. Some reviews also noted that bumping the pad or touching it with a metal object would interrupt charging, which could be a real problem if you wanted to put it on a busy desktop.
Far From Perfect
The Duracell myGrid can handle charging up to four phones at once, so it could ideally let you toss aside four separate power adapters. That’s an impressive reduction in clutter, but there’s a catch – several, actually.
Convenience is supposed to be the greatest advantage of this device, but the adapters themselves can be a pain. Since they take up the phone’s mini-USB port, which in most cases is also used to transfer data between PCs and the device, you’ll have to remove it frequently. In fact, its general bulk and unattractive appearance makes it unlikely you’ll want to leave the house with the adapter attached.
Some phones, like the iPhone, have the “power sleeve” case available – but it is also bulky and unattractive.
These problems are due to the fact that the myGrid uses conductive, rather than inductive, charging. With conductive charging, an actual connection between metal contacts is required to charge a device, which is why the adapters are required.
Oh, and about those four phones at once. While the technology may be capable of pushing power to all of those devices, the mat itself will have trouble fitting them if they’re large. The mat is about 9 inches by 9 inches, so you’ll realistically fit two or three smartphones on there depending on their sizes.
So does the Duracell myGrid charge as well as a power cord? Yes, it does. It will charge your phone just like a power cord. Only you don’t need the cord, which is nice.
But the problem is the price. Duracell’s myGrid costs around fifty dollars, which isn’t a huge sum, but still worth some thought before parting ways. And that’s just for the starter kit. If you want to use the pad with numerous phones you’ll need to buy more adapters or sleeves.
Is gaining the ability to place your phone on a charging pad rather than connecting it to a cord worth the price? Perhaps in a few limited cases, but for most people that’s a lot of money to spend for a different way to charge their phone.
What do you think? Worth the money or just a passing fad? Would you seriously consider buying one?