Powermat review: Powermat

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Reviewed:
Updated:

The Good The Powermat successfully charges your phone without a wired connection.

The Bad The Powermat won't work with every handset, and you'll need to pay extra to charge more than one device simultaneously.

The Bottom Line The Powermat isn't entirely free of wires, but it succeeds at being different and at powering your phone. On the other hand, we don't see it fulfilling a need.

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Editors' note: Though we reviewed the Powermat Home and Office Mat, the Portable Mat serves the same purpose but with a compact, foldable design. We updated this review on April 2, 2010, to reflect further testing.

If you had told us five years ago that innovation was coming in cell phone chargers, we wouldn't have believed you. Our response would have been, "What's the point?" We're perfectly happy with the wall charger that came in the box."

As it turns out, we were wrong--but only partially. Both the Wildcharge Pad, which we reviewed last year, and the new Powermat Home and Office Mat can power your phone without a physical connection to a wall charger. However, it's not completely wireless--you have to plug in the phone somehow--but it is quite a change compared with how things are done normally.

The technology is innovative and both devices work just fine, but we're still not completely sold on them. As with the Wildcharge Pad, we still don't see the Powermat as really fulfilling a need. We're still happy with our charger that came in the box, and we're not eager to shell out $100 for a product that does what we can do already for free. Even though it can zap power to up to four devices at once, you're going to need to pay more for the privilege.

As you might expect, the Powermat's primary element is a thin, black mat shaped like a skateboard (though without the angled ends). At 12.25 inches long by 4.56 inches wide by 0.63 inch deep, it's not exactly portable (you'll have to use Powermat Portable to take it on the go), but it is lightweight (9.9 ounces). The mat is mostly plastic, but a rubber section on its bottom ensures it won't slip around on a table.

In the box you'll find a power cable for connecting the Powermat to an electrical outlet. The cable is adequately long (4.5 feet long) and you can wrap it around its base for storage. You'll also get a Powercube Universal receiver, which is required for powering a device that doesn't have a Powermat receiver case available for it. You also get a selection of adapter tips for connecting the Universal Receiver to your phone.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Powermat Portable Mat

Part Number: PMM-PT100
MSRP: $79.99 Low Price: $64.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Power Provided 15 Watt
  • Max Electric Current 0.83 A