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Wireless charging my Nexus 4

26th Jan 2014

I bought a Qi wireless charger recently and wanted to find out how it compared to wired charging on my Nexus 4, so I ran a small experiment.

Equipment:

  • Nexus 4
  • Qi wireless charger (Amazon)
  • Nexus 7 (gen 1) charger (5V, 2A)
  • Ringke slim fusion case (Amazon)

The Qi charger I used does not come with the charging plug, you have to provide your own. The Qi charger is rated at an input of 5V 1.5A, and a claimed 72% efficiency. The wired charger that comes with the Nexus 4 is rated at 1.2A. So I decided to use the charger from my first gen Nexus 7, which can deliver 2A.

The Nexus 4 website actually notes that you should not use the Nexus 4 charger with a wireless charger, as it might not generate the required current.

The Ringke case protects the back as well as the sides of the Nexus 4, and therefore increases the space between the phone and the wireless charger by around 2mm.

Method

I started with the Nexus 4 charged at around 30%, I rebooted the phone, and then placed into Airplane mode to ensure the quickest charge rate possible. I ran the test 3 times, once for each of the following scenarios:

  1. Wired charge
  2. Wireless charge with no case
  3. Wireless charge with case

I placed the phone on charge for exactly 1 hour each time, and did not use the phone (or turn on the screen) while charging. When using the Qi charger I made sure that it was positioned at the optimum location. (The centre of the charging coil within the Nexus 4 seems to be around 5.5cm from the phone’s base, see this image)

Results

The increase in charge after 1 hour is given below for each scenario:

  1. Wired charge = (30-74%) 44%
  2. Wireless charge with no case = (30-72%) 42%
  3. Wireless charge with case = (30-66%) 36%

I must admit to being a little surprised at how close the wireless charging is to the wired charging. Even with the case on, the charge went from 30% to 66% in 1 hour.

I bought a wireless charger mostly due to frustration with having to use the awful Micro-USB connector each night (often trying to plug it in in the dark). If there’s one thing Apple has done right recently it’s introduce the Lightning Connector, it’s a far superior user experience when compared to Micro-USB. 

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