By Steve Van Dinter Special To Channel 3000
Powermat Rating: 4 out of 5 Price: $99.99 www.powermat.com
Think of how many things have gone wireless in the past few years the Internet, telephones and most recently USB. But what?s the one thing that?s always causing problems and getting tangled? Those power cords!
Wouldn?t it be nice if power could be wireless? Today that dream is a reality.
Let me introduce to you, the Powermat. This thin little mat promises to revolutionize the way you charge your portable devices.
So how does it work? You plug the mat into a traditional wall outlet. Then you simply set your phone, DS Lite, mp3 player, iPod, etc., onto the mat. You?ll hear a futuristic whirring noise, an LED illuminates and you know your device is charging.
Now you can?t just plop any old device onto it and have the process start. Instead you need a special receiver that?s added to your device. In many cases, it simply replaces the battery door to your phone or other portable device.
In the case of this Blackberry, you just pop off the original door, slide on the new one and set it down on the Powermat for charging to begin. It?s that simple.
For devices that do not have a back cover, there?s a Powercube that comes with each mat. It includes eight different tips that should be able to handle anything from a digital camera to a USB powered gadget.
You may be wondering how much of a difference this makes, but imagine not having to fumble around for the right cord when you get home from work, or looking for the adapter for your camera or mp3 player while the kids are trying to get your attention.
Simply set your device down,wait for the noise and light and you know your device is charging up.
If you travel a lot, there?s even a portable mat that folds up for taking on the go.
So how does the charging time compare?
The Powermat is as fast or in some cases -- as I discovered with my Blackberry -- faster than the original charger. That?s pretty good considering this same technology is built into those rechargeable toothbrushes and they do not charge quite as quickly.
So how does it work?
It uses magnetic induction to wirelessly beam power from the mat to the device safely and efficiently.
Once your device is charged, power shuts off and the system continues to monitor the power levels. If needed your device is topped off.
For some people it may not seem like a big deal, but for anyone with a lot of portable devices and cords, it?s a huge stress reliever and time-saver.
The Upsides: I really like how simple this is to use. Set your device down, wait for the sound and it?s charging. No more looking for the right charge cord and you can charge up to three devices simultaneously at or even slightly faster than the power cord that came with it.
The Downsides: Included with the device is a Powercube with eight different tips which works great for universal charging, but it would?ve been nice to have a voucher or something for one special charger ? like a Blackberry door ? as each of those costs between $30 and $40 and that can add up fast. And the selection right now is pretty limited to just a handful of Blackberries, the iPhone and Nintendo?s DS.
The Bottom Line: Overall, if you are looking to clean up your desk, kitchen or bedroom, or just staying on the cutting edge, the Powermat should be near the top of your wish list this holiday season.
The mat and travel mat cost $100 each and come with one Powercube. Additional backs for your phone or iPod for instance cost between $30 and $40.
More information is available at www.powermat.com
In the future we may see device manufacturers bundle these receivers into their products which would definitely be a huge selling point. And there are prototypes online of this technology being placed into countertops and tables which would mean your desk or kitchen of the future would be completely cordless!
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