Google’s big reveal of the new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro during its “Made by Google” event certainly saw no shortage of big leaps in terms of AI-powered features, camera software, and Google’s announcement of up to seven years of software support. Of course, the company also announced some new hardware components in the form of the Tensor G3 SoC, new “Actua” displays, and slightly larger battery capacities.
However, it seems that a certain new feature was missing from the announcement – the Pixel 8 series surprisingly does not come with Qi 2 wireless charging either, as Google has instead opted to use older charging technology in its phones. This is a questionable decision of sorts, especially given that Qi 2 was announced earlier this year during CES 2023, with Qi 2-compatible accessories being unveiled during IFA Berlin.
Google advertises that the battery on the Pixel 8 series supports wireless charging much like its predecessor, with up to 18W on the regular Pixel 8 and up to 23W on the Pixel 8 Pro, as long as you use Google’s Pixel Stand wireless charger. If used with a Qi-certified EPP charger though, this slows down to a 12W charging speed, which for some users might be less than ideal.
Surprisingly, Apple somewhat has Google beat since the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro ship with Qi 2 hardware, although at the moment they aren’t “formally” certified for Qi 2 wireless charging. Aside from Apple, no other manufacturer at the moment has announced a flagship phone with support for Qi 2, which construes a missed opportunity for Google.
For those not familiar with the term, Qi2 charging essentially uses magnetic alignment and a certain frequency that allows compatible devices to achieve 15W wireless charging speeds. The magnets provide better alignment on a user’s phone, allowing for less charging time and better efficiency.
Given the growing popularity of wireless charging tech on smartphones, this decision to ditch a hardware feature with lots of potential does send a mixed message – why would Google entice users to keep their phones in the long run (promising several years’ worth of software support), but fail to future-proof its devices in terms of wireless charging?
…why would Google entice users to keep their phones in the long run, but fail to future-proof its devices in terms of wireless charging?
Perhaps one could argue that the lack of Qi 2-ready devices from Google and other Android manufacturers is an indicator that current smartphone hardware is simply not ready yet, although the abundance of Qi 2-compatible charging accessories begs to differ. Of course, you technically can use a Qi-compatible phone with a Qi 2 charger, but your phone won’t be able to fully harness the improved Qi 2 speeds.
Given Google’s tendency to play it safe when it comes to hardware though, you could say that the Pixel 8 series’ lack of Qi 2 capabilities somewhat makes sense – after all, this is the same company that still uses an optical fingerprint scanner for biometrics in its handsets. At the same time however, the company takes pride in introducing “firsts” to its smartphone line, and we just can’t help but feel a bit of “FOMO” with the missing Qi 2 feature.
How about you – do you think that the Pixel 8 series should have shipped with Qi 2 compatibility, or is it a feature that you can live without? Sound off in the comments below!