Review: PowerMat Home/Office & Travel Charging Mats

PowerMat
By St13fL3r on 8 Jan 2010 11:17 am EST
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[ Forums member Stiefler07 gave us a this great review of the PowerMat charging mats. This post comes from our Community Reviews forums. Post your review and if we promote it to the blogs you'll receive a coupon for free accessories or apps.]  

The Powermat design and build are stellar. Within the first moments of opening the box, the first thing that was noticed was it was solid. Not only is the build solid, the design is very appealing, one could set it anywhere and be happy with how it looks with the surroundings. The mat does not feel cheap nor does it look cheap. Around the outside of the mat, there is silver plastic to give a dull chrome look, and no this is not thin plastic, the build feels very solid. The mat itself feels great as well, it has a smooth texture and very durable feel.

PowerMat

Charging
A lot of mobile users are asking question on the charging the Powermat provides, as in how fast and whether or not it keeps its charge as it would from a wall charger. I tested both Powermats (travelers and home/office units) with three devices, my personal BlackBerry Tour 9630, BlackBerry Curve 8330, and my iPhone 3G. They were all on the mat at the same time. The home and office mat seemed like it charged all units a bit faster than the travelers pad. Times are listed below:

* Home/Office Pad:

Tour (no case): Charged completely from 10% of battery in about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Curve: Was dead when charged and fully charged within 2 hours.
iPhone: Seemed to charge the fastest as it had a 25% battery and was fully charged in just over an hour.

* Travelers Pad:

Tour (no case): Was tested at same battery level and for a complete charge took around 2 hours.
Curve: Was tested with 30% battery and this took an hour and half.
iPhone: the iPhone was tested with same battery and took about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

With all the devices tested, the battery life was the same as if it was charged from the wall. I noticed no drop in time of uses. This is great news as the life of the battery means a lot to users and they will be able to stress their phones the same as before. In addition, when the phones or devices are fully charged, the mat cuts off the power to that cell or multiple cells, thus drawing no more power.

PowerMat

Convenience:
Convenience is what the Powermat is all about. The home/office mat allows you to get rid of all the spaghetti wires for all the devices being charged. Just simply plug-in the one outlet and start placing your devices on the mat, this allows users to clean up quite a bit of wires and messes. Did I mention the travelers pad folds up? Sure does, perfect for many travelers alike and highly convenient for many users even at home as it is made for easy storage.

PowerMat

Features:
Powermat offers tons of features with the pad itself and also accessories received with the pad. The mat features a great black look and silver trim as discussed before. There are lights to alert you that device is being charged, the lights also have a button on the back of the mats for dimming the light, making the light brighter, and not showing any light at the users convenience. Along with the lights, the mat makes a "zwing" type sound when the device is placed on the mat and is charging. Just like the lights, the sound has options to turn up and down the loudness of the sound and also shutting the sound off. Both mats also come with a USB port on the back for devices that are charged specifically with a USB cable, whis is a great feature. When placing a device on the pad to charge, the case causes a "handshake" which makes the phone vibrate to alert the user the device is properly aligned and can create faster charging. With the travelers pad, users receive a small case that is magnetically pulled together for ease of traveling with the pad and charger. Each mat comes with a accessories kit with 8 universal tips for multiple devices. Tips are as follows, Nitendo DS and DSi, Samsung, Sony, Apple, Micro USB, LG, and also a mini USB that is used on the adaptor. With so many tips, one could charge a very wide range of devices if you do not have the charger cases. In addition to the tips, users receive a power box and also a tip storage box.

PowerMat

Cases:
If you are worried about using a case full time on your device for easier use of Powermat, do not worry as the cases do not add very much bulk at all. I have my iPhone case on full time and it actually feels better in my hands. BlackBerry devices receive a battery cover and not a case. The cases and covers feel very sturdy and durable as I dropped my iPhone and Curve to test how they would handle it. Without a hitch they passed with flying colors. Also, on the back of the case or cover is a magnetic square where the Powermat charges the device, unfortunately not all devices are supported yet.

Pricing:
The home/office and travelers mat both sell for $99 a piece which includes the case (traverlers mat only) and the accessories kit. Cases for select phones range and devices from $29.99-$39.99 which are sold separately from the mats. Great price for all the features offered and received.

Does it work as directed?
The Powermat fully works as directed and looks great while doing the work. Tons of features and great amount of accessories for the price.

How does it work?
Powermat uses magnetic induction. Instead of conductivity the mat uses inductive technology. This technology is also safer, more cost efficient, and also allows you to work with water so the Powermat is safe to get wet.

Pros: Tons of features, tons of options, no order in which to place devices on the mat, sleek looking, durable, small and lightweight, quality of product and accessories.

Cons: Not all devices are supported at the moment including the Storm and Tour, price may seem high but very reasonable.

Imagine the day that all mobile device makers incorporate this technology into their products (I.E. Research In Motion, Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Sony, etc.). The day of wall chargers will be over and we will welcome the days of Powermat. Powermat is convenience right in your kitchen, living room, and even bedrooms that will help prevent wire messes and welcome innovation.

37 comments

b0ricua

I sure love my Powermat! I use mine for my personal Tour 9630, work 8330, and my iPod Touch. The backing for the tour is very thin and slick!!! Great product!

DustoMan

Mine is arriving today from the Crackberry Store. I got a shipment in yesterday with three adapters (including the Tour battery door). I can't wait to charge up tonight!

Andrax

It's not using induction but a much better value from what I can tell would be Charge4All's system. Supports 4 devices and ranges in price from about $25-$50.

http://charge4all.net/cart/products_all.html

The powermat does look cool, but seems WAY overpriced for what it does.

disenhour#CB

I got the travel Power mat for christmas and absolutely love the thing.

ThePoisonDroid

The Price is not reasonable on this.

Even if the mat was $30 and each back-plate was $10 I would probably just try it out first and then realize that the added size and weight of the device greatly outweighs the marginal benefits of saving half of a second in not needing to plug in the charger.

ThePoisonDroid

Sorry, great idea, great innovation. But failed on the most fundamental aspect of providing VALUE.

eve6er69

i have also had mine since christmas.
value is a joke but convience is the key. i charge my work phone, my blackberry, ipod touch and my nintendo ds all at the same time with 1 wire.

this is one of the best christmas gifts i have ever recieved.

i would have never bought it for myself but it made for a great gift from multiple people. each person got me a different back to all my devices.

deaner1029#CB

my concern is that i like the hard case i got with my phone from verizon. it slides right into my hard back holster. i use it that way every day. will my hard cover slip over the back plate for the tour? i know i can plug it in to the adapter but to me thats not wireless i want to use it to the full potential.

stingzgrrl

I got the travel one as a gift from my mom and I LOVE IT! It's really easy to use and I liked the packaging and how they make it pretty impossible to lose all the adapters. I also like that the adapters are labeled both on the box they come in AND printed right on each piece so you know what matches up with what right away without having to try each one.

Agreed with others that I probably wouldn't have purchased this for myself, but it's definitely one of the best presents I got this year.

The only thing I don't like is that there's no battery door available yet for the Storm (or is there? the guy at the store told mom there wasn't).

meyerink

I love my powermat! However I can't use my Otter Box Defender case with it since the Powermat Tour back sticks out further than the Tour back. I simply use The standard silicone Blackberry case during the week. When I go into a harsh environment I simply Take the charger back off and put my Tour in the Otter Box in the morning.
Value no. But charging 3 devices with no cords/chargers priceless.

tony bag o donuts

Once the cool factor goes away to me it's a waste.
Wife wanted to get it for me for xmas.
I said nope.
I have on of those inexpensive powerstrip in a jewelery box type case and all wires are hidden.
Works like a champ.
Cost $30.00 total including the strip.
Wires are hidden except for 2" exposure.

318sugarhill

I don't know if anyone saw it, but there was an article by the associated press about new accessories coming for the powermat. I got one for my wife for christmas for her 8330 curve as she NEVER would bring her phone upstairs at night to charge. She was always running on low battery and dependent on the car charger. This thing is GREAT! She plops it down when she gets home and it's always charged. I like my case on my tour, so I'm using the powercube right now. It's kind of rediculous and no different than using a regular cord, and I don't want the extra bulk of the powermat battery door. It is great for my wife, but not worth it for me.

Well, my brother sent me an article the other day, and it appears starting in May that powermat will begin selling batteries for phones/electronic devices that replace your current battery, and will charge on the powermat. No extra battery door, no added bulk. Just drop your phone down and start charging. Not sure why they didn't do this from the start, but when they come out, I will definitely buy on for my tour, and this will be completely worth it.

I bought her the travel mat so we can pack it up with us when we travel, and charge both of our blackberries at the same time. It is expensive to buy for yourself, but it does become very convienent. You won't be dissappointed, especially if you get it as a gift and when the batteries come out.

dcmarch

Untill they make them cheaper and for more devices it's not worth it. If you have to plug your phone into a box then put it on the pad I will keep my $100.00 plus and just plug it into the wall

devGOD

i still think those charging maps are all hype and pointless. all the advertisments make it seem like you can just drop your device down and charge which is NOT true. you have to worry about buying secondary adapters and covers, which does not make it better than just getting a USB charge station.

it just seems as if people are buying it just because its the latest hyped gadget but its pointless even the travel version has more attachments and wires. people who travel usually have a laptop with them just carry a short USB/Mini cable and charge from your laptop

BrianFTC

The idea is great and it could be a hit but this currently doesn't work with Tour, correct (even if somebody above mentioned it worked?)? The photo above shows Tour (I think) with the power cube. Well, missing the whole purpose... the travel pad and the power cube... I charge both BB and iPod Touch through MusicPower Duet which is around $12 at Amazon or Walmart. Sure not as cool as the pad but small and light. I don't think the price is that bad as considering some don't mind to pay $20 - 30 for a piece of plastic case.

318sugarhill

There is a battery door cover for the Tour. It came out before Christmas. I had it, but returned it as I don't like the bulk it adds. Plus my case won't fit over it. Like I said above, batteries for specific devices will be out in may, making it truely drop and charge. They won't add any bulk, and will fit just like any normal battery. Plus a bunch of manufactures said they will start incorporating this into their devices. Seems like a lot of $ now, but sales were big over christmas, and cell phone companies did take notice.

St13fL3r

The Tour was not compatible, when I received the units there was no case for the Tour. Powermat is open to many more devices, check out the US website. http://www.powermat.com/us/home/

BrianFTC

EDIT: Their web site says now it is supported - the batter cover @$29.99. Hmmm.

joeyc42

So here goes my detailed experience with my Powermat.

I've had mine since Christmas. I will say it's probably something I'd never buy for myself, but since I'm impossible to shop for, I do love it as a gift. The idea of charging my devices wirelessly, I am sure, has been a dream for many, but in practice it definitely isn't ideal.

For my ipod, it's like charging it to the wall, ie, I have to go to where my powermat is, find the plug for it and then connect it to the powercube; so nothing gained, nothing lost.

I hoped it would work with my plantronic bluetooth, but it seems you have to use the little charging station that comes with mine.

As for my Blackberry, where I saw this being the best use for it, it's been more of a hassle than convenient. First I had to drop my Seido case for the battery cover. While it is cool that I can put my phone on the station to charge (although you sorta have to wiggle it around a bit before the magnetic connection is made), it is then stuck there; I can't move it without breaking the charge. With a wired connection, I can grab it, see if I got any calls and then place it back wherever at cord's length, but with the powermat, I have to place it in exactly the same spot as before, everytime.

I also have an office at home where I work from, with the adapter I can just bring it with me from my bedroom to the office; can't really do that with the powermat. So I still use my ac adapter in the office. I'm also on the phone a lot and have to charge my blackberry during calls, so I thought about putting the powermat in the office, but then a) it takes up space on my desk, and b) I can't really grab it nor do anything on it unless I break the connection.

As for portability, the case is pretty compact and packs very well (except for the annoying fact that not all the plugs fit into the little plug case), but it still takes up as much space as if I were to carry all my ac adapters for travel. If I was really tight on space, I can even just take the USB cords for my devices and charge them via my laptop.

I picture the powermat being real valuable in the future when batteries for devices have this capability built into it which then can be charged without worrying about looking for the ac adapters (cameras, portable gaming units, bluetooths, etc) but for a heavy blackberry user like myself, I'm not sure this is the best solution.

So for me, I see it as basically just being a very fancy ac adapter for my bedroom. But for some reason, I'm still not sick of hearing that little connection noise when I place my blackberry on its powermat =p

tobythetitan

I'd rather fuss with a 4" cord from this PowerCube than a 4' cord from the original charger. It is also extremely handy due to the fact that the wife and I leave it by the bed and charge both our phones and soon we will be purchasing the charger for her Nintendo DS. We have an 18 month old and the excess of cables around the house needed to be trimmed down...this is a great solution. People complain about the size of the adapters for their phones etc, However with this product, as soon as they release a case/adapter for the Storm 2 I'll be buying it (now I'm using the Cube with adapter). Even for the $100 price tag, it's worth it to replace the 3 power cords and the hassle. I think it's one of those things you're either going to love it or hate it. It fits our needs.

WackBBerry

Though the PowerMat is great idea, it can become rather costly for cases for multiple device users . That really is the only reason I don't have one. $30 ++ per device adds up.

blacktoothberry

Love the concept hate the looks of the case

richy2010

i got my case for my powermat for free just by taking a survery from powermat.com!!
i <3 powermat!!

STR8WESTCOAST

What's the purpose if this mat when you still have to hook it up as if you were charging your phone with the regular charger. You guys see something new and flock to it like some idiots. Its a power mat no different than using your wall charger. Same thing. Save your money

STR8WESTCOAST

What's the purpose if this mat when you still have to hook it up as if you were charging your phone with the regular charger. You guys see something new and flock to it like sine idiots. Its a power mat no different than using your wall charger

davidsnoodles

My only issue with this is that if they don't make a specific case/adapter for your device, then you're stuck with using that cube thing which includes wires! I thought the whole point of having the Powermat was to eliminate the wires. Without an adapter for multiple devices, it's kind of pointless for someone like me (in which they don't have any adapters for the products I use) to use.

mbs

They make a clip-on half-case for the Nintendo DSi (a rather slick looking one, by the way) so you can drop a DSi on to the pad to charge.

Bought a PowerMat for the house along with a case for my wife's iPhone and 3 DSi cases (one for each of my kids). They can just drop their devices on the pad, then pick them up and go. Only occupies one outlet and 3 devices can charge simultaneously. It's quite nice, actually. No searching for misplaced AC adapters.

Here's hoping one comes out (either a case or an internal battery) for the BlackBerry Storm 2.

reyxlp

...is the Powermat really useless unless your device is supported for a battery door?

The whole point of the thing is to not have to plug anything so... ...what's with the PowerCube that you still have to plug into your phone, lol?

Ugh...

Sorry, rant over.

318sugarhill

As I have stated, but people don't read, only post, a LOT more devices will be supported coming this spring. Some with the battery door adapters, but most with a device specific battery. This will add no bulk, and charge the same. Just drop and charge. The guy who said he liked the noise when it starts charging.......I think that is the coolest part too! :P

npunk42

or is it a setting in the phone already

joburg200

Man these are way too expensive. Unfortunately I have to tell my customers their phone isn't really supported. The battery thing sounds good, but it needs to get cheap and cost-effective, because i don't want to spend 140 dollars to charge my phone.

Dr.Boost

This idea at first had the wow factor. However, the charge pod that BB sells is just as easy and it leaves your stock cover, it puts phone in a position it is easy to see the time or whatnot.

It only cost like 10 bucks on ebay. Drop it in and charge, when done pick it up and go.

Just as easy, just as convenient, way better value.

318sugarhill

Very true, but you still have to remove any case you have on your BB to charge it in the BB pod. I love mine as it charges 3 things at once, and I always have someone over who is low on battery, and the power cube can charge most other phones. As any new device, the price will probably come down, and I know they are coming out with a few more options in the coming year. Trust me, cell manufacturers did take notice of it's sales, and are working on agreements to add this to their phones so you don't have to buy any accessories to make it work with your phone. Give it 2 to 3 years and most phones will have it standard I believe. I don't mind shelling out the $100. Someone has to be first to get it started :)

Dr.Boost

The idea and theory of how to charge using the mat is sound. Once the manufactures embrace this technology and build factory equipment that is capable of using this style of charging right out the box, this is going to be huge no doubts. Just going to be some time, and I am hoping it gets embraced and implemented in design soon.

I do like the thought of coming through the door setting my keys, wallet, and phone on counter. With a power mat there and maybe a tray to retain other personal items, this will contain and all the while charge your phone. When you head out the door, phone is charged or charging, personal items next to it....no more chasing, no more chords, no more oh crap I need to charge.

Again respect the idea a lot.

Badi79

Got the travel pack and cover for my 8900 at christmas. Works like a charm and the extra white charger is great if you don't want to carry around and extra usb to charge other devices. One thing that would have been great is if the travel case had a spot for the extra adapter case and extra charger. Other than than I love it and take it with me whenever traveling.

318sugarhill

So much more to come from Powermat. Loving it, and the potential for better will be realized in the near term.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/upgrade/4341594.html?series=96

crownr0yal

I'm waiting for the new PowerPak batteries and the single pad charger to come out. The battery will be $39 and the single pad will be $39 also. $80 instead of $140? Sounds like a #win to me! Battery debuts in June and the Single pad in april!