With the Powermat 2X Portable Mat and Powercube, you don't have to plug in your phone (or other device) to charge it. You just place it on the Powermat -- there's space for two devices -- and power flows into your gadget wirelessly, via induction. But to make it work, you have to buy a special case or battery door for your device from Powermat, at about $30 apiece. These are available only for certain devices; you can plug other devices into the included universal Powercube to charge them, but some users say that defeats the wireless purpose of a charging mat. Experts say the Powermat Portable Mat does work well, fully charging drained smartphones substantially faster than regular AC and USB chargers and another brand of charging mat in two separate tests. The Powermat Portable has a built-in battery that charges via AC power, and it folds up for portability, but critics say it's a little heavy and bulky even when folded (about 3 inches square and almost 2 inches thick).
Laptop Magazine, CNET and BigBruin.com all test, rate and fully review the Powermat 2X Portable Mat; Laptop also compares it directly with a rival USB charging mat from Duracell, and CNET posts 14 user reviews. The British CNET site compares the Powermat with wireless chargers from WildCharge, Gear4 and Idapt. TrustedReviews.com does a great job of explaining the pros and cons of the Powermat system in general.
1. Laptop Magazine
The Powermat 2X Portable Mat charges devices much faster than the Duracell myGrid charging pad and "is definitely worth the splurge," Brian Oliver Bennett concludes after testing both charging mats.
Review: Powermat 2X Portable Mat and Powercube Review, Brian Oliver Bennett, April 4, 2011
CNET gives the Powermat Portable Mat a lukewarm review. On one hand, it will charge your gadgets (after you buy each one a case or battery door with a Powermat receiver). "On the other hand," Kent German says, "we don't see it fulfilling a need." Fourteen user reviews give the Powermat Portable a low overall rating, largely because it requires additional cases or battery doors.
Review: Powermat Portable Mat, Kent German, Updated April 2, 2010
3. CNET (U.K.)
All four of the wireless chargers in this test work as advertised. But Flora Graham likes Powermat's "slick, well-designed products" a little better than some of the others -- despite Powermat's steep price.
Review: Wireless Charger Group Test: Gadget Power Unplugged, Flora Graham, March 31, 2010
The Powermat Portable Mat has its drawbacks: It's expensive, and you have to make sure you center your device exactly on the charging pad. Still, it cuts a lot of cord clutter and charges a BlackBerry faster than an AC or USB charger in this test. It wins BigBruin.com's Great Idea and Recommended awards.
Review: Powermat Portable Wireless Charging Mat, Steven Kean, Jan. 26, 2010
"If you own a phone with a removable battery cover you'll wonder how you ever lived without induction charging," Gordon Kelly says in this Powermat review. But iPhone users won't like it so well, as they have to use a special phone case (instead of a special battery cover) to make the Powermat charge their phone. The mat's great, but Kelly says the quality of the cases is "hit or miss."
Review: Powermat Wireless Charging System Review, Gordon Kelly, Dec. 18, 2010