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Duracell Powermat 24-Hour Power System review: Compact and sophisticated wireless charging

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MSRP: $99.00

The Good The Duracell Powermat 24-Hour Power System charges phones without messy wires. The light, compact kit includes a useful portable battery for power on the go.

The Bad Powermat technology is not currently built into any phones, and cases are available for only two handsets. The Power System only charges two devices at once.

The Bottom Line The Duracell Powermat 24-Hour Power System is great for keeping two gadgets powered all day, but is best suited for iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy S3 owners.

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7.7 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7

Powermat was the first company to popularize the idea of charging mobile devices through inductive, or wireless, charging. A new gadget, the $99.99 Powermat 24-Hour Power System, promises to provide just what its name suggests. The first Powermat product under the venerable Duracell brand, the 24-Hour Power System indeed serves up wireless charging plus a backup battery to keep phones from dying when you're out on the town. Still, though handsomely styled and compact, for now the Power System is most useful for iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy S3 owners.

If you're familiar with Powermat's past line of wireless charging devices, the Duracell Powermat 24-Hour Power System won't prove to be too much of a shocker. That's because it isn't a huge leap forward in terms of functionality or overall design. Just like the Powermat products before it, the 24-Hour Power System primarily consists of a flat and compact rectangular charging pad with smoothly curved corners. The mat itself is available for purchase separately for $49.99 and comes in a choice of white or black.

The charging pad is slim, small, and lightweight. Sarah Tew/CNET

While older Powermat products had a matte coating, I like the glossy surface this new Powermat series sports, and the metallic-silver accents that run along the mat's edges and bottom side. I'm sure this aesthetic choice wasn't an accident since it's strongly reminiscent of modern iPhones, BlackBerrys, and Android handsets. Two adhesive strips sit on back of the Powermat that help keep the charger secure when placed on tables or desktops. Thankfully these strips aren't permanent, so you can pick the mat up and repeatedly reposition or remove the strips if you choose.

A case for the Samsung Galaxy S3 (shown here) or fourth-generation iPhones enables wireless charging. Sarah Tew/CNET

Duracell also bundles with the Power System either a special case for the fourth-generation Apple iPhone (4 and 4S) or one that fits the Samsung Galaxy S3. Both cases enable these phones' batteries to be charged wirelessly via the Powermat. While the stock iPhone case comes in a range of seven colors, Duracell only ships the Galaxy S3 version in white. The company, however, just announced a new partnership with case customizer Coveroo that will allow people to stencil their own cases with personalized paint jobs.

The third piece of this Powermat's puzzle is the Portable Backup Battery. The battery, a square unit about the size of a small tape measure, is both compact and light (2.9 ounces). It also is clad in the same futuristic styling as the Powermat charger.

With the inclusion of the Backup Battery, it's clear that Duracell envisioned its product as offering users extra power on the go. Also, while the charging pad itself isn't precisely meant to pack up neatly for travel, it weighs just 6.4 ounces (9.28 ounces with battery) and is about a third of the size of competing products such as the Energizer Dual Inductive Charger. The Powermat's AC adapter is crafted with an eye toward mobility as well, featuring a wide channel where the cord can be wrapped and neatly stowed.

The battery charges through wireless or wired Micro-USB connection. It also has an Apple connector and Micro-USB cable. Sarah Tew/CNET

At its core the Duracell Powermat 24-Hour Power System is designed to be just what its name suggests, a charger built to cover mobile phone users around the clock. To this end the Powermat charger features two spots to accommodate two devices. Depending on which version of the Power System you buy, you'll be able to charge either a Samsung Galaxy S3 or fourth-generation iPhone wirelessly right out of the box using the bundled special case.

One nice flourish I've always liked on Powermat products is how certain it is when you're charging successfully. When you begin to place a Powermat-equipped phone on the mat you first feel a strong magnetic tug that's hard to ignore. This pull guides you down to connect the device with the mat with a solid thunk. If that wasn't enough of a clue, the mat chimes with an audible rising tone and illuminates a small LED when the connection is made. Pulling a device off of the mat causes a falling chime to play and switches off the light.

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