Wireless charging technology has been featured in smartphones for nearly a decade now, allowing smartphone owners to charge their phones by placing them on a Qi wireless charging pad or stand without having to hassle with a charging cable. Wireless charging in smartphones is extremely cheap, adding less than $5 in hardware costs, but manufacturers still reserve the feature for their most expensive devices. In 2020, you’d be hard-pressed to find wireless charging listed as a feature on a smartphone that costs less than $700.
Google’s 2020 Pixel lineup is no exception. The top-of-the-line Pixel 5 comes with wireless charging, but the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 4a do not.
Fortunately, you can add wireless charging to the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G for roughly $10. If you do a quick Amazon search for “wireless charging adaptor” you’ll find a few dozen products that allow you to add Qi wireless charging to nearly any smartphone. Prices range from $8 to $20, but they all do the same things: plug into your smartphones charging port to transfer power from their Qi wireless charging coil to your phone. Some of the more expensive models may deliver faster wireless charging.
Does it really work?
I first started using wireless charging adapters in 2014 since the HTC smartphones I owned featured metal bodies which didn’t allow HTC to add wireless charging to them. Since then, I’ve used wireless charging adaptors with over a dozen smartphones since manufacturers still refuse to make wireless charging a standard feature.
Setting up a Pixel 4a 5G or Pixel 4a with a wireless charging adapter is simple:
- Remove the charging adapter from its packaging
- plug the wireless charging adaptor into your Pixel 4a’s USB charging port
- Wrap the wireless charging coil around the back of the phone
- Secure it in place with the included adhesive or your favorite Pixel 4a case
- Place the phone on a Qi wireless charger and your Pixel 4a will start charging
How fast is it?
Wireless charging has always been slower than wired charging and the same goes for wireless charging adapters for your smartphone. The majority of cheaper wireless charging adaptors allow for a maximum input of 5W, but a handful of the more expensive models promise to deliver 7.5W or even 10W charging.
In our testing with the Pixel 4a, a 5W wireless charging adaptor managed to deliver a 10% charge to the phone’s 3140mAh every 25 minutes, charging the phone from 20% to 100% in just under three and a half hours. Spending a few bucks more could reduce the charge times by 30-40%.
Adding a wireless charging adaptor to your Pixel 4a or Pixel 4a 5G isn’t the best option if you need to charge your phone fast, but if you’re at your desk all day or charge your phone overnight, it’s a great option to ensure your phone is always topped off. It also has the advantage of increasing the longevity of your phone’s battery life and fast charging lithium batteries contributes to reduced capacity over time.
Don’t forget the wireless charging stand/pad
Buying a wireless charging adaptor for your smartphone is cheap, but you’ll also need to invest in a wireless charging stand or pad if you don’t already have one. These days, wireless chargers come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for a few options, below we’ve put together an assortment of some of our favorite and most unique Qi wireless chargers we could find.
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