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Goodbye Lightning and USB-C: How I became a wireless charging convert overnight

Stepping into 2022 with a fully-charged phone and a healthier screen-life balance

Regifting isn’t something I do every year, but sometimes the opportunity presents itself. It’s seemingly a common practice within tech journalism, in fact, whereby many of us are lucky enough to receive freebies for simply attending an event; a wedding favour for people whom you wouldn’t normally invite to your nuptials. Only last month, I overheard another journalist bragging about their plans to present an unsuspecting family member with free headphones that weren’t to their liking.

As my flatmates can begrudgingly confirm, I have lovingly kept every single useless gift since the start of my journalistic career – from a bonsai tree growing kit to notepads. I never saw this as a hoarding problem until recently, when I was in the midst of moving and realised I’d amassed not one, not two, but three wireless chargers. That’s an abnormal number of wireless chargers for anyone, but for one person uninterested in such magic, it’s excessive.

I had a few excuses ready for why they’d remained unopened: “too bulky”, “longer charge time”, and even the good old conspiracy theory based on carcinogenic radiation. I’ve got a sweet spot for the last one, as it reminds me of when my mother refused to buy me a Nokia 6300 as a child because of fears that its radio frequency would send me to an early grave. This has since proven to be untrue, as are the fears around chargers. Nevertheless, I was much happier opting for a bog-standard charging cable; they’re reliable, don’t take up much space, and can be easily packed into your work bag.

What do you do with an abundance of wireless chargers in the run-up to Christmas, though? You regift them, of course. The victim of my generosity? My younger brother.

In my defence, I chose the best-looking one from the bunch; a simple, white platform from SleepHalo that promises to block your phone’s radiation (this won’t give you cancer, but might disrupt your sleep). With the gift wrapped, I set off to see my family for the holidays.

Sadly, I’d forgotten what it’s like to share a space with parents, two siblings, and a dog, with every single member of the household denying they’ve taken your one and only charging cable. Betrayed, and with little battery, I asked my brother to lend me his. He declined, offering the SleepHalo instead, adding: “I don’t even know who gave me this”.

The Nokia 6300 in a shop window

Getty Images

Contrary to the once widely-held conspiracy theory, the Nokia 6300 doesn't emit carcinogenic radiation

It was love at first charge. On Christmas morning, I awoke to a fully-charged iPhone 11, which I could absentmindedly pick up from my bedside table to check my notifications without the surprisingly disruptive constraints of disconnecting a cable. Whenever I had a few minutes to spare during the day, I would simply place my iPhone on the charging dock, meaning its charge never dipped below 70%. What’s more, I always knew where to find it, minimising the risk of losing it or my parents’ new puppy gnawing at it. Most importantly, keeping the phone in one designated spot meant it spent less time in my hands. This allowed me to cut down on my screen time by a fifth, with fewer hours spent on social media, and more time spent reading books and watching the Premier League with my dad.

After a week of using nothing but the wireless charger to keep my phone functioning, I had become so attached that I couldn’t remember life before it. I emerged in 2022 a brand new person, ready to preach the gospel of Qi standards and electromagnetic induction.

My heart broke, though, when I was forced to part with the SleepHalo, as it was, after all, my brother’s. This time, though, I felt more confident about my capacity to regift, and I was also soothed by the fact I had two more wireless chargers waiting for me at home, including a futuristic vase that also sanitises your phone with UV lights. 

A smartphone placed on a lamp with a wireless charging pad built-in

Getty Images

These days, wireless chargers can be disguised as vases or even desk lamps

In a world that’s changed so much in the last two years, my phone-charging habits have remained static since 2010. As somebody who’s worked from the office only three times since the start of the pandemic, I haven’t needed to worry about taking a charger back and forth. The wireless charger is perfect for those who work from home, with many remote workers even setting up multiple charging docks around their house. Even when offices fully reopen, I plan to have an extra wireless charger at my desk, meaning I won’t have to check my bag multiple times each morning to make sure I packed my Lightning cable, which is also much easier to steal, I’d hope. Speaking of which; has anyone seen my charger?

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