What: I have been testing Duracell’s PowerMat system for my iPhone 5 along with the company’s PowerSnap kit. This set of accessories amounts to a wireless charging system that allows a user to drop a compatible device on a small mat and allow for charging without the need to insert a cable into a device every time the user wants to charge. The PowerMat, itself, comes in versions that support either 1 device, 2 devices, or 3 devices. I tested the 2 device model…
Features/Performance: The PowerMat and PowerSnap kit work as advertised, and the PowerMat is easy to setup. The user simply needs to place the mat on a surface and plug it into an electrical outlet. The power adapter for the outlet is a bit large, so it takes up some space unlike the tiny power adapter included with the iPhone 5. The product needs to be plugged-in to a wall to be able to charge the iPhone (and other compatible) devices, so I do not think it adds so much convenience to be worth it for everyone.
However, it seems that if you are using a model that supports multiple devices, the product and kit can begin saving some space on your desk. The system is also a joy to use if you are a fan of wireless charging products and being able to simply drop your phone on a mat to charge when you get home. In order for the iPhone 5 to charge on a PowerMat, the phone needs to be in a special wireless charging case. The case, itself, which comes in the PowerSnap Kit (and sold separately for $49), hardly adds any bulk or weight to the iPhone 5′s design. The piece also acts as decent protector against nicks and scratches on the metal iPhone 5 band.
I believe that if you are looking for a case that offers said protection, the wireless charging aspect of the system is a nice addition. However, the downside is that the cap that connects the wireless charging receiver on the case into the iPhone 5′s Lightning port is a slightly a hassle when trying to use the iPhone 5 in one hand. The solution for this is to keep the cap by your PowerMat, instead of on the phone all day, and attach it when ready to charge. However, that somewhat defeats the purpose of having this system, so most PowerMat users will probably choose to just keep it on the phone during daily use.
A bonus in the PowerSnap Kit is an external battery pack that attaches to the iPhone 5 while the wireless charging receiver case is already on. This battery pack, which does add some bulk (almost in-line with that of some of the thicker Mophie cases), holds 1950 mAh worth of juice, so it can (approximately) double your iPhone 5′s battery life at a full charge. For those who are thinking of using an external battery case for the iPhone 5, I think the best way to think of the PowerSnap is as an iPhone 5 external battery case that can charge via a mat.
Duracell claims that charging speeds for the iPhone 5 via its system are comparable to the speeds found when charging via USB. Speaking of USB, the kit includes a USB cable for charging the external battery pack without the PowerMat.
Why: Because the PowerMat still needs to be plugged into a wall, and because the system requires a sometimes annoying case to function, the level of convenience that the system offers will likely not please everyone. However, for those who want to charge multiple devices or use an external battery case or simply want the newest iPhone charging technology, the PowerMat and PowerSnap kit are a solid duo.