It’s not so much a mat as a pedestal, really. A pedestal with three induction loops and some hidden magnets. I was expecting some sort of magical contact-anywhere system, but the reality is each of your charging devices are centred on one of the three magic spots using the hidden magnets. It’s pretty, but ultimately no more revolutionary than my electric toothbrush charger.
There’s a few things that make the Powermat a sweet device. One is the incredible voiceover on this video. It makes me want to go out and film a montage. The others are:
- Each power “spot” has a corresponding charge light on the front of the mat. The light goes off when the device stops drawing power. This way you can glance at the powermat and see if anything is still charging.
- It charges devices quickly. I’ve heard reports that other “wireless” chargers are low-powered and take a long time to charge, but I noticed no difference between powermat and a standard charge cord.
- There’s an audible tone when you set a device down properly, so you don’t need to look and make sure things are plugged in properly or aligned correctly.
So it looks good and works well, but there are some downsides. The most obvious one: if you want truly “place and charge” compatibility for your iPhone, you need to have it in a bulky case. Powermat do have an iPhone/iPod stand-up charging option, but why bother with that when you could just get a cheaper iPod desktop stand to do the same thing?
At $250 for a kit that includes one device adapter, It’s not for everyone. You’ll need to spend more on adapters to make use of all three charging spots. It seems to me that Powermat’s target market is your Parnell homeowner who can’t stand having three cords sullying their immaculate counter-top, which is probably cleaned daily by a Swedish au pair. Called Helvetica.