Powermat wireless Home & Office mat review

4 out of 5
£65

For

Allows you to ditch the wires, auto shuts off when fully charged

Against

Needs a case for your phone (at the moment), expensive

If you're like us, your nightstand or computer area at home or in the office is adorned with gadgets and their chargers. It's a pain plugging everything in, and it's a pain messing around with all those plugs and power sockets.

Hearing your pain, is Powermat, a company that makes a mat that, as the name suggests, is powered. What's so exciting is that to charge your favourite gadget all you need to do is put them in a specially designed jacket and dump them on said mat to start recharging them. 

Coming in an array of various sizes, we've tested the home and office mat that allows you to charge up to three devices at any one time without plugging anything in. 

We say without plugging anything in, but of course you do have to plug in the mat. It comes with a lengthy cord so you can bury the cable under a desk or behind your bed without too much problem.

Once powered the only way you can tell it's working is via a charging light on the charging space, and a noise that lets you know you've placed your phone, handheld console, satnav, etc, in the right place (both of which can be turned off).

While the company has announced that they are putting the charging technology into phone batteries that you'll be able to use to power most makes of handset, currently the Powermat system includes a dedicated case for the iPhone, the BlackBerry Bold, Curve and Pearl, and the Nintendo DS. There is a further "Powermat Powercube" device that comes with eight tips that you can then use to plug into a plethora of other gadgets.

Slipping on the iPhone case does frustratingly make the Apple phone considerably bigger and you will lose the dock connector at the bottom. It's not the end of the world, but then it's also not hard to charge your handset via a docking station or connection on your desk or nightstand.

For the BlackBerry Bold the solution is considerably neater as you can take off the backplate and replace it with the Powermat offering. In practice that means that you'll hardly notice the difference to the size of the handset when the new case is on.

Placing any of the above on the Powermat starts charging automatically, a small magnet keeps it in place, and it's really as simple as that. A nice touch is that once a full charge has been received it then shuts off the charging process so you aren't always in that charged state - something that isn't the case with most phone chargers.

Hidden out of the way is the ability to charge a further device via USB, but that's just not as cool now is it?

 

Verdict

It's a charging station that will cost you £69.95 in the UK and $91 in the US. After you've bought the mat you've then got to buy the jackets - a further £34.99 ($36) in the UK for the iPhone and BlackBerry offerings or £29.99 ($29) for the multi-tipped one. Those prices are real, not conversions.

The end result is that you've paid out over a £100 ($110) just so you can forget about having to plug in a wire.

For some the cool factor that you can just dump your phone on a mat and start charging will be "cool" enough to warrant the outlay. Damn cool, but not for those looking to scrimp and save.