True wireless charging comes to the Samsung S4 thanks to Promate’s VitaQi-S4 charging back or auraTag.S4 wireless charging tag. When combined with an industry standard Qi charging base the Samsung Galaxy S4 is transformed into a truly wireless device.
Why You Want Wireless Charging
The question almost seems silly to ask because it’s pretty obvious that there is a convenience benefit here. But adding wireless charging is going to cost a lot more in relative terms than wired charging would. So we need to be able to justify the additional cost. Given that adding this system is going to cost a total of at least $100, and probably closer to $160 (for two bases) – it had better really be worth it!
When I first popped the VitaQi back onto the S4 I was amused as I laid it on the AuraPad and saw a magical little message pop up to tell me the device was charging. It was really neat! But worth $100? Not at that moment. Especially since I only had a single AuraPad, which was on my desk at work.
I went home at night, plugged in my phone to charge, and then went to work the next day with a full battery and laid it on the AuraPad. Guess what? Yeah, it stayed fully charged all day! Nice. But $100? No.
A couple weeks later our friends at Tylt shipped over a few of their new VU charging stands, and to test them out I took one home and set it on my nightstand. I put the other on my desk at home. And all of a sudden it dawned on me! I could no longer live without wireless charging!
The real change in my attitude occurred in bed. Where I typically lay and play some sort of silly game on my phone until I’m tired enough to go to sleep. At which time I have to fumble for a damn micro-usb cable to plug in the phone. In the dark! The very first time I simply set the phone on a charger, I was sold.
Promate VitaQi-S4 Back with Built-in Wireless Charging
The VitaQi-S4 is a replacement back that simply snaps on where the original S4 back goes. Over the few weeks I’ve been using mine it seems to be working flawlessly. We’ll have to see how it holds up in the long run, but considering that its a fairly simple device I would expect it to basically last forever.
An alternative to the VitaQi-S4 is the auraTag.S4 which allows you to keep the back you are currently using and slip in the charging component. This would be useful if you had a custom case you really love, but bear in mind that it could cause fitment issues.
Promate auraPad Qi Wireless Charging Pad
The auraPad is Promate’s official matching charging pad for their charging backs. And it works perfectly.
One important thing to note is that the auraPad puts out a full 1 watt of charging current. Other charging pads may put out as little as half that. So at $59.99, this is a good product, and it sits discreetly wherever you want to put it.
The Tylt VU Qi Compatible Charging Dock
Standing in stark contrast to the auraPad is the Tylt Vu. These colorful charging stands hold your device up at a 45 degree angle so they are in view while charging on the base.
If you’re looking for something that can add a little color to your life, the VU will definitely do the trick. And they work beautifully with the Promate charging back, which tells me that the Qi standard is being properly implemented by both companies since their products are interoperating well.
There are other phones that can benefit from the auraPad or VU charging pads. In fact, any that implement the Qi standard should work including the Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Droid DNA.
One thing to keep in mind is that wireless charging is in a state of infancy, so not all phones can be converted, especially those that have massive batteries like tablets and big handsets like the Samsung Note series. The main reason is that these charging devices currently only put out about .5 watts of current, which would take about 8 hours to fully charge a 3,000mah battery.
As Qi devices ramp up their current delivery we’ll see their adoption become more widespread. But in the meantime if you can possibly get a phone that has it built in, or one that you can add it to, you deserve to have it! Just make sure you get at least two charging bases. Trust me, you’re gonna want them.