Review: Duracell Powermat Wireless Recharging System and Case for iPhone 4S
December 6, 2012 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
The Powermat system sure has come a long way since its introduction a few years ago. The idea is that you recharge the battery of your iPhone or other device not by plugging it in but by keeping it in a special capacitive case and simply setting it down on a charging pad. The original incarnation included bulky and oddly shaped cases and oversized charging pads, but the 2012 Duracell-branded iteration has evolved nicely: the capacitive case looks no different than any other hard shell plastic case, and the charging pad is a sleek little rounded rectangular tile just large enough for two devices to sit on top of it.
The catch of course is that you have to the included case pretty much all the time; if you were to only involve the included case when recharging your device, that would be more cumbersome than simply plugging your device in. So the case itself is the key to whether you’re going to like the Powermat system. As it happens, the acrylic plastic case is a single piece with a clever flip-top head, so to speak, flipping back to allow you to slide your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S into place (cases alternately available for some Android devices). The charging point on the back looks like it’s simply a “P” logo and doesn’t add any bulk to the case at all.
For a product which includes something as sci-fi sounding as “wireless recharging,” the Powermat is a remarkably straightforward system. Don’t expect to have to so much as read the directions before you’re up and running, because there’s nothing to it. The only thing not to like is that the case still has to be set in a precise position on the charging pad. The magnets do help guide it into to place to an extent, but it’ll take a bit of practice before you’re able to set the case down precisely where it needs to be and get it right on the first try.
As a throw-in, the Powermat comes with a pocket sized backup battery which cleverly embeds an iPhone/iPad charging cable on one side and a micro USB cable on the other. As if the emphasize the idea that the included case never needs to be removed, it has a pass through micro USB charging port on the bottom. Duracell would have done better to simply make the recharging case into a battery case itself, as such products are becoming increasingly popular, and perhaps it will consider the idea for a future Powermat iteration.
But as it stands, the 2012 version of the Powermat has come a long way is a much more practical product than it once was. If you like the idea of being able to charge your iPhone by simply setting it down on a tile on your desk, and you were planning on keeping it in a plastic case all day anyway, this is almost too good to be true.
The $99 kit reviewed here includes the charging pad for two devices, the iPhone 4S case, and the battery pack. You can also buy components separately, including extra cases or pads that fit one, two, or three devices. The entire setup comes in a choice of white or black.
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 • Price: $99 • duracellpowermat.com