Powermat to charge Aussie phones

The wireless battery charger Powermat is coming to Australian retailers, trading out a clutter of wires for an attractive charging board, but at a price only some will pay.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
2 min read

(Credit: Powermat)

The US wireless battery charger Powermat is heading down under, and will soon be available in JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Myer and David Jones.

The Powermat charger refills the batteries of a variety of electronic devices wireless using an inductive energy transferral system. Portable electronics connect to a Powermat wireless receiver and then are placed onto the charging board until recharged. Powermat told us today that the charging process "should be as fast or faster than charging with the manufacturer's charger". A single Powermat can simultaneously charge three devices wirelessly, plus a fourth via a USB input in the back of the unit, but each device will need a separate wireless receiver.

Powermat has targeted a small range of popular devices to create specifically designed receiver units; the iPhone 3G and 3GS has its own plastic case with a built-in receiver, the BlackBerry Bold 9000 has a replacement battery cover with receiver, and owners of the Nintendo DS Lite and DSi can make use of grip cover that can be applied to the base of the gaming console. For other phone makes and models, a multi-purpose receiver is available and is sold with a variety of plug tips to fit most mobiles.

It also has a couple of noteworthy features, like its five-star energy rating, which it achieves with two power saving innovations. Firstly, the charging board drains absolutely no power when in standby mode, meaning you can leave it plugged in all the time without it slowly adding to you power bill. Secondly, the powermat will automatically enter standby mode when it detects your device is fully recharged.

The main hurdle for getting Powermats into the eager hands of tech punters will be pricing. A bundle pack featuring the three-port charging board and one wireless receiver (either the iPhone, iPod, Bold, DS or the multi-purpose charger) will retail for AU$199.95. But to take full advantage of multiple simultaneous device charging, you will need to fork out for one of two more wireless receivers, each for AU$49. That's AU$300 to replace the clutter of wires made by three AU$20 (and often free) chargers. That's quite a premium to pay to clean up the kitchen bench or bedside table.

Check back for a full review of the Powermat in the coming weeks.