Have you ever seen a Qi wireless charging coil? It's small. A few pieces of copper, a small circuit board, and that's about it. And without wishing to insinuate that little things are inherently cheap ̵
Talking Is cheap, and loads it too
Do you want proof? Apple added it to the second iteration of the $ 400 iPhone SE, despite being by far the cheapest phone in its lineup. Now the SE matches another feature of its more expensive devices. And, perhaps more importantly, its partners can sell wireless charging accessories to an even larger group of customers.
There are some scattered examples of cheaper phones with wireless charging. Blu, with its slightly more premium BOLD sub-brand, is bringing it under $ 300 on the N1. You can even add the feature yourself to almost any phone, in a less-than-elegant way, with a $ 15 USB to Qi adapter. When wireless charging appears on relatively inexpensive accessories like the Galaxy Buds, you know the mold is up.
Amazon also catches on: after experimenting with some wireless charging cases / standing for earlier versions of the Kindle Fire line, the new Fire HD 8 Plus includes standard Qi charging, the first tablet I've seen with that possibility since the beloved Nexus 7.
The Kindle Fire HD 8 Plus with wireless charging starts at $ 110. Maybe that's not a fair measure: Amazon uses the Kindle line as a lever to sell tons of digital books and video, not to mention tons of ads. But it illustrates the point I'm making: the now standard Qi wireless charging isn't a feature that should be limited to the higher end of smartphone hardware.
Someone please tell this to Google, Samsung, LG, OnePlus, Motorola and pretty much everyone. We will focus on the largest of these offenders.
Premium passengers only
After pioneering wireless charging in the Nexus series, the Pixel line waited until its third expensive iteration to support wireless charging. But when the cheaper and much more popular Pixel 3a hit the market, it was dropped despite a plastic case that supports the technology. Why? Presumably as one of the few points of distinction between that $ 400 phone and the upgraded versions. The Pixel 4 has wireless charging built in, but based on early leaks, Qi also appears to be MIA on the cheaper Pixel 4a.
Samsung pulls off the same stunt. All Galaxy S series phones have supported wireless charging for years, including some proprietary fast charging technology. But if you go down even one model, under $ 700 for the standard Galaxy S20, wireless charging disappears. In addition to something like the iPhone SE, the Galaxy A series seems more budget-friendly and less desirable.
But I'm going to scorn some special savings for OnePlus. In addition to the undeniable critical success of the OnePlus 8 Pro, the simple Jane OnePlus 8 seems quite overpriced, especially compared to the Pixel, Galaxy and iPhone models against which it competes directly. By introducing OnePlus & # 39; s first-ever wireless charging phone for $ 900, and leaving the feature at the $ 700 downgrade, it seems like a conscious exclusion rather than a design need. The 8 didn't even need the nice 30-watt wireless charging. OnePlus was so eager to demonstrate – it just needed the same feature that every other company offers.
I hate to say it, but thanks, Apple. Thanks, Amazon. Thank you for proving that wireless charging is not something that should be limited to the first-class portion of the smartphone plane. That we are farmers in Economy Class, with a budget that keeps our telephone purchases below four digits, can also have this convenience.
I bet, from the end of this year or early next, Qi wireless charging will join with features like USB-C ports, NFC, and edge-to-edge displays that are blessedly standard at almost any price point. I would hope that we see a return to tablets that support the function, their larger batteries are better used by chargers that can pump more watts without cables. Here's hoping.