Mobile Phone Mat Chargers and Docks

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Everything You Need to Know about Mobile Phone Mat Chargers and Docks

The mobile phone mat charger is a type of charger which uses no wires or cords to charge phones. Simply place a phone on the mat, and it will charge over a period of time using a process known as inductive charging. Various brands have brought out their own types of mat, but they all work in roughly the same way. Here's a guide to everything about mat chargers and docks to help make an informed buying decision.

Overview of Mat Chargers and Docks

The mat charger is an alternative to the standard mobile phone wall charger. Rather than using a cable to plug the phone into the mains supply, the phone goes on a special mat. Here it charges itself in the same way as electric toothbrushes. The current filters through the mat and into the phone. The mats still need connecting to the mains, though. This must always have a connection to a plug socket. Nevertheless, it creates a permanent charging point for phones. They're more expensive than chargers with plugs and cables, but prices shall continue to fall as more advanced models hit the market.

How Does It Work?

Mat chargers use inductive charging, informally known as 'wireless charging'. To do this, it uses an electromagnetic field to transfer the current between mat and phone. Since the mat uses the main supply, it's already energised. Once the phone comes into contact with the mat, it creates another area where the current can flow to. When two objects come together like this, it's called inductive coupling. The energy can charge the batteries and run the device, so it's still possible to answer texts and take calls as long as it remains in contact with the mat. The mat uses something called an induction coil to create an electromagnetic field. A second coil in the phone takes the charge from the field and converts it into an electrical current. This electrical current recharges the battery. Essentially, the two coils have made an electrical transformer.

Types of Mobile Phone Mat Charger

There's more than one type of mobile phone mat charger. Browse through the three different types of charger to see which one seems the best. Each one suits a different type of lifestyle.

Standard Mat Charger

The standard mat charger uses a cable to connect to a plug socket. Usually, it comes with a special adapter which fits in the plug. The mains electricity energises the mat and provides the charge. Place the phone on the mat and it will steadily charge. The standard mat charger can work anywhere where there's mains electricity. It has the disadvantage of not being very portable, however, which can be a problem for people who are always on the go.

Hand Crank Charger

The hand crank charger is almost exactly the same as the mat charger. It still has a mat and the phone goes on the mat. It doesn't have a cable at the back or any need for mains electricity. It's powered by the kinetic energy of someone turning the hand crank. This kinetic energy turns into electronic energy, and this charges the phone. Studies have shown that the hand crank isn't very efficient. It relies almost entirely on the stamina of the person on the crank, and it takes longer to charge the phone. On the other hand, it helps the environment.

Green Chargers

There's also a selection of green mobile phone mat chargers and docks. Again, they have the same look to them. The difference comes in the way it's powered. Solar chargers use an adapter which harnesses bright sunlight to provide electricity. Solar chargers also come with a battery, so it can hold a charge throughout the day and be ready for charging a phone on later.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Different Mat Chargers

Here's a breakdown of what each charger has to offer as well as its main disadvantages. Look through the table to get an idea of the various merits of each mat charger.

Chargers

Efficiency

Environmental Impact

Reliability

Standard Mat Charger

Very efficient. As fast as any standard mobile phone charger.

Uses more electricity and increases the carbon footprint of a household.

Always reliable. It relies on mains electricity to power itself.

Hand Crank Charger

Very low efficiency. Charges slowly and will only last as long as the cranker's stamina.

No environmental impact. Works by using kinetic energy and turning it into electricity.

Completely reliable as long as someone continues to turn the crank and generate the electricity.

Green Charger

Efficient and charges just as fast as the standard mat charger.

No environmental impact. Harvests renewable energy like solar power.

Not reliable as it relies on the presence of renewable energy like sunlight.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The mat charger has a number of advantages and disadvantages associated with it. It's vital to take these into account before making a final decision on whether a mobile phone mat charger or dock is the right choice.

Advantages

There's a much lower risk of experiencing an electric shock when wet. There are also no visible conductors, so if it shorts out, there's no risk of suffering a potentially serious injury. No chance of the components becoming corroded. If it's exposed to water or any other corrosive material, the casing will protect it. This extends its lifespan and reduces the risk of having to replace it prematurely. It's much more convenient than a standard charger. Just connect the mat charger and leave the phone on top. It's easier than having to fumble around with a cable and outlet. It's also far more beneficial for disabled people, who may have issues with plugging in a cable. Charge multiple phones at the same time. Most mats are big enough to support at least two phones. Bigger mats can charge three, or even four, phones or mobile devices at the same time. In many cases, mats can charge more than just mobiles. They have been used to charge phones, iPads, and even MP3 players.

Disadvantages

It's less efficient than a mobile phone wall charger or portable charger. It wastes more electrical energy in heat. It increases the carbon footprint of the device. And this influences the speed at which the mobile charges. A lower efficiency can add hours onto the time it takes to charge the phone's battery. It's more expensive than a standard mobile phone charger. Inductive charging utilises additional electronics and coils. It increases the complexity of the device, and therefore the cost of manufacturing. No portability. The mat needs a mains supply of electricity to plug into. Its bulk prevents it from being installed in cars and other confined spaces, though. It's also more difficult to move the phone around while charging as it must remain in contact with the mat at all times. Some mats aren't compatible with certain phones. It's why there are so many phone brands offering mat chargers. And some mats which support specific models will only work when the phone has been placed inside a special sleeve. This sleeve guides the current into the phone's coil, which subsequently turns it into an electrical current.

Buying a Mobile Phone Mat Charger on eBay

eBay sells a wide range of different mobile phone mat chargers. To start searching for the ideal mat charger or dock, navigate to the eBay homepage. On the left-hand side of the screen, there's a main menu displaying all the major categories. Click on Electronics & Technology to bring up a long list of subcategories. Find the category which reads Mobile Phones & Communication and click on it. This opens up the eBay phone store and every product relating to phones on the website. Click on Chargers & Docks to bring up all the different types of mobile phone chargers and docks. Finally, select Charging Mats and this narrows the search down to just charging mats. To look for something specific, it's possible to select by brand, such as clicking on Samsung, on the left-hand side. Alternatively, search for charging mats by condition, colour, and price. There are two buying formats available on eBay. There's the classic auction format, where the mat goes to whoever wants to pay the highest price, and the Buy It Now sale, where it's available for a fixed price, but it has limited inventory.

Conclusion

Mobile phone charging mats are a convenient way to charge a phone. While it lacks in efficiency, its convenience and the ability to charge multiple devices at the same time make this a vital tool to have at home. eBay has the latest mobile phone charging mats available at affordable prices, so there's a charging mat to suit everybody.

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