TiPb Gear and Give-Away! PowerMat Home and Office, Portable, iPhone Case, and Receiver Cube

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Star Trek time -- today we're looking at the inductive future of charging via the PowerMat Home or office Mat [$97.95 - iMore Store link], PowerMat Portable Mat [$97.95 - iMore Store link], PowerMat Receiver Case for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS [$39.95 - iMore Store link], and PowerMat Universal Power Cube [$29.95 - iMore Store link] for all your other gadgets.

Follow on after the break for our review, photos, videos -- and did I mention we're giving away the full review package?!

I first saw PowerMat when I stopped off at their booth at CES with CrackBerry Kevin, and it was immediately apparent why Dieter and our PreCentral.net friends are such fans of their Touchstones. The idea of just putting a device down and it starting to charge is right out of our collective science-fiction consciousness.

We're not quite Sci-Fi yet, of course, especially since Apple -- unlike Palm -- hasn't built an inductive battery into the iPhone (cue 4th gen iPhone speculation!) but PowerMat brings us a very cool step closer.

PowerMat

The system starts off with the PowerMat proper, which is the base. I tested both the Home and Office and the Portable mats, and they both worked very well. They're almost identical in fact, with three magnetic charging points each, as well as USB, controls for brightness and volume (for the light and sound that indicates a connection for charging -- in case you want to mute them in the bedroom), and the AC connection that gets plugged in. The big difference is that the portable mat can be folded neatly in three, creating a smaller if thicker footprint which is easier to store in a bag for traveling (hence the name portable!).

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iPhone Case Receiver

To make it work with the iPhone you need a case that plugs into the iPhone's 30-pin dock connector and has an inductive receiver (big square of metal) on the back. Slide your iPhone, carry it around with you, protected by the hard case, and when you get back to your PowerMat just set it down and it will begin to recharge. It's really as simple as that (okay, you have to make sure you align the magnets but that's very easy to feel and is accompanied by a sound to alert you when it's just right).

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Power Cube

You can get cases for a variety of other devices, but if you're a real gadget-geek and have tons more you want to charge, each PowerMat comes with a Universal Power Cube that sits on the PowerMat and offers a Mini-USB tip for you to plug into. There're also adapters for Micro-USB, Sony, Samsung, Nintendo, and a bunch of others, including a standard iPhone and iPod (and eventually iPad?) dock connector. I used them to plug in an iPod touch and Motorola H17 BT headset, but you can really use them to plug in almost anything. It even comes with a matching, handy-dandy holder for all the adapters.

You can also get the Power Cube's separately, and those come with the Mini-USB tip and Micro-USB adapter.

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Conclusion

Again, at this point it's a work-around (thanks Apple!) and more of a cable-management system than real sci-fi solution, but frak if it isn't cool. Just one plug and the mat, and you can charge virtually any gadget you own and just smile doing it. If you're a geek, then seriously, this is the geekiest tech around and a must-have just to stick on your coffee table and show off when you drop your iPhone down in front of guests.

Give Away

So, the give-away! I have all this PowerMat gear sitting here, and while the boxes have been opened and the stuff tested for a few weeks, it's all still in perfect condition. So, TiPb's decided there'd be nothing better to do with it than give it away to a reader! That's right, courtesy of the iMore Store, here's what's included:

That's $265 worth of review gear, and all you have to do for your chance to get it is head on over to the TiPb iPhone Accessories Forum and let us know what you want to charge with it (in addition to your iPhone, of course!).

Give-away starts now and ends Thursday, Feb. 25 at 12pm PT. US or Canadian shipping address required.

Video and Galleries

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

TiPb Gear and Give-Away! PowerMat Home and Office, Portable, iPhone Case, and Receiver Cube

13 Comments

Unless Powermat just hasn't updated their website in a while, the receiver case works for the iPhone 3G only. For a 3Gs you still have to use the iPod adaptor. Has this changed?

Is it just me, or does this think kind of defeat the entire purpose of cordless charging?
Unless you are content to use their fugly fat case, you have to plug into one of their power cubes. And if you do use their case, forget docking.
Its bigger than the wall wort and cord, takes up more room.
A solution looking for a problem to solve.

While technically still not wireless, it's a step in the right direction and I'd love to have one. I'd plug both my and my wife's phones, bluetooth headsets, and my Garmin nuvi into it.
Thanks for the contest!

They actually presented batteries at some showcase for Blackberry and other companies. If the iPhone worked out a deal with them to include their batteries, or allow a removable battery that would be so cool.

Call me when the iPhone supports this without requiring some kind of adapter to make it work. Right now, it's actually easier (and way cheaper) to just plug the damn thing into the wall.

@icebike,
Powermat introduced some real slim charging cases for the 3g/s without that hideous hump in the back at MWC. They also showed a thicker (mophie type) case with an extended battery that can also be charged on the pad.

The case, mayyybe. But the "pucks"? Am I missing something? Why not connect a normal charging cable to the iPhone instead instead of a puck? :-)

I like the concept if for nothing else than having one place to charge all my "toys" iPhone 3G, BB9000, BB9700, BB9500

Damn. Missed the deadline for the giveaway. This looks like a pretty snazzy product though. Something to keep in mind, for sure!