John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

iPhone 8 wireless charging

As I’ve mentioned a few times in previous posts I love the convenience of wireless charging. The market however is in a state of complete and utter chaos, and Apple has done nothing to make things better, and in ways made things worse. the iPhone 8 apparently supports 7.5W wireless charging. But what does that even mean? Is that input wattage to the coil, input wattage to the phone? Apple itself, today do not even offer an official charge pad, apparently one is coming in the new year. We are already 3 months past the release of the iPhone 8, come on Apple get your ducks in a row.

So I’ve been trying to sort that out. The plethora of options available on Amazon and other places is dizzying. A fact made worse by the fact that chargers attempt to be a broad product with support for multiple phones. Reading specs from the products, if they even bother giving them isn’t helpful either. Reading reviews from other people go into more detail about the nice light or the physicals of the charger Vs the details of it’s charge speed, or heaven forbid actual details. I really wish I could find a wireless charger for the iPhone 8, that included a power adapter, and came right out and said that it support the iPhone 8’s 7.5W.

As in the past be careful you get a multi coil charger or you have to get the phone on exactly the right place to get it to charge.

So let’s have a look at what I have been able to find … First off lets set a baseline, the iPhone’s default 5W charger. Below 60% the charger charges the phone at a rate of around 1%/min. So this gives a nice easy number to relate to. As the charge rises above 60% the phone slows down the charge rate, and slows down again at 80%. By 90% it’s down to .5%/min. This is important to note when trying to measure the charge rate of your phone on any charger.

What’s also important is to insure you are using the correct power adapter for your wireless charger. Sometimes they are quite clear on what you need to use … other times, not so much.

So on with what I have found … These results are with the iPhone 8, so your results on a different phone may have completely different results. Sorry … That’s the Qi industry right now. By the way, I have included links to Amazon where I can to help you out. But be aware, these do not pay me in any way.

One of the first multi coil chargers I bought is DoCooler 6300. It turned out to be not a bad charger being able to get an average charge rate of 0.57%/hr and a peak of around 0.63%/hr. So this is around 57% the speed of the wired charger. This seems to be hard to find these days.

Next up I tried one of my favorite chargers, an Itian. It has been beside my bed and I use it pretty much every night. A subtle light, a nice angle, and multi coil make it super easy to use. This one was only able to get 0.36%/hr average and a max of 0.45. So this was about 36% the speed of wired. Now since I use this one at night, I’m not bothered by it’s charge rate, but if your looking to put a quick boost into your iPhone 8, this is not the charger for you. Amazon Link. Interestingly enough when I was using my Getto iPhone 6 Qi wireless case this was one of the faster chargers. An example of what’s good for one phone, sucks for another.

Next up comes a new one, that claims to be a quick charger, a Seneo. In conversations with the company they encouraged the use of a QC 2.0 adapter (Qualcom Quick charge). QC can put out 9V 2A so 18 Watts of power. I tested this one on a 5V 2A as well as 9V 2A and got the exact same numbers 0.57%/hr average with a peak of 0.63. So to call this quick is rubbish. Further conversations led them to admit that it does not quick charge an iPhone 8. So, don’t rush out on this one, as you can see it’s no better than the rest, but I guess it does work, just not so fast. Amazon Link.

By the way I bought an Aukey 5 port USB adapter that includes a QC2 port and found it to be a very useful device to have around rather than multiple adapters. Amazon link.

Next up I looked at a charger that claimed it supported Apple’s 7.5W charge mode. A Qi 10W Fast Wireless Charging Pad from Kcpella. In fact their rep said in answer to the question: “Yep.This fast wireless charger output power is 10W. In our lab test yesterday, it supports iPhone 8/ iPhone 8 Plus / iPhone X for 7.5W charging if using QC2.0 / QC3.0 adapter.” So on with the results. I was able to get 0.8%/hr average and it was spot on consistent when plugged into a QC 2 charger. It dropped down to 0.6%/hr with a 5V 2A charger. So this would be about 80% the speed of wired. So this is definitely faster than most but not as good as I was hoping for. At it’s peak I was able to see 9V 0.7A or 6.3W being drawn from the adapter. So comparing this to 80% of a 5W wired charger the losses due to wireless drop down to 26% Vs what I have seen in the past of 50% losses. So a fairly efficient charger. So is this the face of a fast charger for Apple? Well without having a benchmark from Apple who friggin knows. And how we get from 7.5W advertised down to 5.4W measured I don’t really get either. Amazon link.

Next up I looked at a Wofalodata car charger that explicitly says it supports the iPhone 8. Humorously though the arms push on the volume control of the iPhone 8. DOH. This was hands down the slowest coming in at an average of only 0.42%/hr with a max of 0.6%/hr or about 42% of wired. So while this held the charge of the phone even using an intensive app like Waze, it was just barely keeping up. Better than nothing I suppose. Amazon link although I DO NOT RECOMMEND this for the iPhone 8 due to the issue with the volume control. That goodness for the fantastic return policy of Amazon.

Here’s a table of the data:

And this graph shows you the difference in charge between wired, and the fastest Vs slowest wireless charge speeds over time

So for now, the Kcpella is the fastest kid on the block (if plugged into a QC 2 adapter) … BUT … always remember the iPhone 8 also supports wired Quick charge.

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December 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Apple iPhone 8

I’m on an iPhone 6 which is getting a little long in the tooth, and I was off contract so I decided to take the plunge. At almost 2 years this is pretty much the LONGEST I’ve kept any phone. A statement of how much I have enjoyed my iPhone. I left Samsung after the debacle that was the S5 and haven’t looked back. Honestly if I had bought an S6 instead of the S5 I may have never ventured back into the iPhone space.

I looked at the iPhone X but it was going to be another $320 so I passed on it. What was I looking for out of the new device? A number of things. Nothing spoils you when it comes to instantaneous quite like an iPhone. And my 6 was getting sluggish. I’ve been using a third party wireless charging case on my iPhone 6 and while it works, it’s clumsy. I also wanted to get hey siri working when not on power which the 6 can’t do. Lastly my battery isn’t exactly new so some improved battery life is always appreciated. So with that in mind on we go …

Physicals:
To say the iPhone 8 looks like every other iPhone is an understatement of epic proportions. Physically the differences are subtle. So if part of your reason to upgrade is status … don’t bother. Outside of the X no one will notice.

Upgrade/Restore Process:
I’ve used the Apple upgrade process in the past and it was painless. This time … not so much. It turns out that the Apple upgrade process requires the new phone to be at the same or newer level of iOS, and this I only figured out after numerous attempts at restores. And to say Apple don’t guide you through this, is being gentle. And I’m irritated so … Apple WTF. My new iPhone was at 11.02 which is over 2.5 months old at this point compared to current. And since the release of the iPhone X the rate of change appears to be more brisk. So here are the steps:
1) Activate new phone as a new device not from backup. I recommend highly that you use a SIM from a different provider than your current provider to insure that the phone is indeed unlocked. As of Dec 1 2017, by law all phones sold in Canada MUST be unlocked. Once activated you can now bring your phone up to date using either iTunes or on the phone itself. This is a long process taking a lot of bandwidth. Your looking easily at over an hour. And you want to do this on WIFI because the update can be as much as 1.5G or more.
2) Reset the new phone
3) Backup your old phone using iTunes. Be sure you know the backup password. And be sure to use an encrypted backup so passwords and Health data come across
4) Activate the new phone again, this time restoring from backup. Again this will take some time. Restoring Gs of music is a slow process. Again your looking at hours

Restore results:
Restore this time around came down into a number of areas. WIFI worked perfectly and all previous settings were kept. All previous apps were installed. Some apps worked straight away, others had to re-authenticate. Apple health worked perfectly. Account settings all came across as well. Apple Pay of course has to be re-setup. But the BIG miss this time around was bluetooth. For some reason each and every bluetooth device had to be re-setup. Sometimes this went well. Others not so much. On my Garmin Fenix I had to delete it from Garmin connect and re add it. Others just had to be re-paired. The Apple watch surprisingly was stubborn and took a long time (10 mins) for first sync once I got it to re-pair.

Overall I have to say, this took A LOT more time than I allocated. Probably close to 4 hours in all. Now the memory of this will soon fade, but geez Louise …

Specs:
Display size and resolution on the 8 is the exact same as the 6 at 750×1334 pixels, on a 4.7 inch screen. Processors get upgraded from the dual core A8 to the hex (six) core A11. According to Apple it’s got four efficiency cores that are up to 70 percent faster than A10 Fusion, and two performance cores that are up to 25 percent faster. The focus of this new hex core is similar to the octa cores you see on Android devices. Have high speed high power processors for when you need it, and low power low performance for standby. On Android it has made a significant difference, reducing standby power.

The cameras get upgraded to 12/7Mp Vs 8/1.2 on the 6. So this is a pretty significant bump, the front facing selfie camera now being almost as good as the main camera on the 6. Battery wise it’s the same at 1810 mAH. It’s always amusing to see how small the battery on an iPhone is compared to Android phones, yet the iPhones get as good or better battery life. Dimensions are 138.40 x 67.30 x 7.30 vs 138.10 x 67.00 x 6.90 for the 6. So the 8 is actually thicker. Weight is 148g Vs 129 for the 6. So the 8 is actually heavier.

The iPhone 8 continues to use the lightning cable, yay! They have however NOT upgraded it to USB 3. One of the reasons why it takes so long to load up your music, backup, and sync your device. Apple have removed the headphone jack, but included a lightning to normal 3.5mm headphone jack. This does limit you to using the headset or charge, not both. Personally I always use a bluetooth headset to listen to music so I don’t care. My two favorites are Jumbl and Sony MW600.

I’ve noticed the iPhone 8 turns on automatically when you lift the phone up to look at it without you having to press any buttons.

The iPhone 8 still ships with the anemic 5W (5V 1A) charger meaning default charge time is the same as the old iPhone 6, at under 2 hours. I’ve done a whole article on iPhone 8 quick charging which you can read … or to cut to the summary, buy yourself a 2A USB charger and use it instead of the 5W iPhone charger.

The iPhone 8 finally supports wireless charging. But as of now Apple do not include a wireless charging pad with the phone and Apple currently do not even offer one to buy. You can buy third party Qi chargers and they do work. I played with a Seneco and Itian both of which I bought from Amazon. The iPhone is said to support up to 7.5W Qi. I’m not sure if that means input to the coil or output to the phone. There are losses of roughly 50% that is normal in wireless charging. That said, with the two Qi chargers the best I could muster was about 0.6%/hr. This is roughly 60% of the speed of the Apple 5W charger. So it will definitely be a slow charge, taking charge times from under 2 hours to around 4.5 hours. This is best used, for example, when sleeping. Here you can see the speed of charge difference between the iPhones default charger and the wireless charging. By 50 mins the difference is over 15%. And this is without even considering a faster 2A charger.
I found this article on good wireless chargers.

I bought the silver, to me it looks a whole lot more like white. I’m underwhelmed by the color but given it will be under a case anyway not sure that I care.

I moved from Rogers to Bell and have seen a significant improvement in both speed and signal strength almost everywhere. I have seen speeds as high as 80Mb/s down and 30MB/s up. I use to see speeds like this from Rogers but have not seen them in quite a while as LTE has got busier. Of course because of changing carriers I can’t attribute that to the phone, it could just be the change in carriers.

Initial battery tests are showing very similar results to the iPhone 6, with some slight improvements on LTE battery life. I’ll update this once I get more data. I’m kinda surprised the new processors haven’t made much of a difference. In the Android world the Octa core was a profound shift in battery life.

So all in all, the 8 from the 6 is an entirely incremental step, evolutionary in nature. I got all the things I wanted from the upgrade and lost nothing. I had read issues with bluetooth incompatibilities but other than setup issues it has been a non-issue for the devices I use. So in the end, I’m happy, specifically with the speed of the device and the wireless charger. Am I thrilled and blown away? Nope …

December 14, 2017 Posted by | iPhone Stuff, iPhone/iPad | Leave a comment

iPhone 8 (and presumably X) quick charging

The iPhone 8 still ships with the ubiquitous 5W (5V 1A) charger. This results in an unimpressive charge from dead speed under 2 hours. Pretty much every other current phone has quick charge modes. Well Apple has them too, they just choose to not ship it with the phone so they can extract additional $$s from the consumer. Cause you certainly can’t say their phones are cheap. So let’s have a look at the new quick charge mode on the iPhone and see if it’s worth it … According to an Apple article what you need to experience quick charge are the following:
1) Apple USB-C to Lightning cable ($35CDN) and one of these adapters:
2 Apple 29W, 61W, or 87W USB-C Power Adapter, or a comparable third-party USB-C power adapter that supports USB Power Delivery (USB-PD). (The Apple 29W is $59CDN)

So the total price of this is $94CDN + taxes and shipping. Of course you can find other USBC-PD adapters on places like Amazon but be super careful and make sure they can put out at least the 29W Apple recommend or you might not get full speed.

Apple went this way to align with their Mac books, or so the argument could be had. Of course amusing is that the iPhone 8 continues with the lightning cable rather than USB C. For your troubles Apple claims “Your iPhone fast charges up to 50 percent in 30 minutes.

I happen to have an iPad 12W charger, which is capable of 2.4A at 5V using a standard USB to lightning cable, so I thought I’d see what it can do, and compare it to what Apple says the fast charge can do. I saw an Article about this but found it missing details.

Ok lets start with some things I have learned. First of all the charging rate slows down after 80%. This is quite common on most new phones. I also found using the 12W charger that the charge rate draws the most current (as measured by a USB amp meter) between 0 and 50%, exactly the range Apple refer to as their quick charge. A picture goes a long way, here is a graph of the current drawn from the 12W charger Vs the Phone’s battery percent.

Anytime the curve is above the 1A mark you have benefited from being on the 12W charger Vs the standard 5W, which as you can see is a good portion of time.

To look at this another way, here is a graph that shows %of phone charge per min vs the % of the phone is charged. Again you can see a couple things from this, first of all the highest rate of charge occurs when the phone is in the 0-50% range. Second you can see the drop off of the charge rate at around 80%. And lastly you can see the chasm difference between the 2A chargers and the stock iPhone 1A charger. The third charger is an Aukey multi port USB charger which also pumps out 2A.

One more view of the data compares the phone charge Vs time between the Apple 12W Vs the default 5W. As you can see in the graph in 30 mins the difference between the two is around 30% more charge into the phone! (And remembering other 5V 2A chargers will be similar).

And here is a pic of the Aukey I used.

Looking at the data I can see that the Apple 12W or a standard 2A USB charger is pretty much as good as the expensive Apple fast charge option for a whole lot less money! Being able to quick charge a device is as important IMHO as it’s battery life. And this is a HUGE step forward for the platform!

BTW I tried the iPhone 8 with a QC 2 adapter and confirm it does NOT support QC 2. And thus a 9V 2A charger is of no use with the iPhone 8.

December 14, 2017 Posted by | iPhone Stuff, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SHARK S3901C LIFT AWAY STEAM POCKET MOP

Ok to say this is a little off topic is an understatement. I’ve seen these advertised on factory direct and wondered how well they work. I spoke with two colleagues at work, one swore by it and the other said it was no more effective than a mop and pinesol. Not that I can stand the smell of pinesol but … So I decided to buy one. What it is, is a steaming floor mop. Now they claim it cleans deeper and sanitizes. Now I don’t much buy the sanitation part but wondered if it might clean better. For example according to the CDC to kill salmonella takes a rolling boil of 3-5 minutes so the chance of a passing of steam has little chance of killing it, as one example is NIL.

Putting it together was a bit of a brain test with little to no instructions, but then this is a refurb I bought. Once together it was time to take it for a spin.

So I set out a little test. I vacuumed my kitchen floor. Then mopped it with water and vinegar. As usual the water came up pretty dirty. Then I set out to use the shark. I put it on max steam level, scrub. It took about 2-3 minutes to get ready to start and ran for about 8 mins on max steam. Again I used water and vinegar. They recommend using distilled water for obvious reasons. Ever looked at the scale on your kettle? Here’s what the pad looked like when I was done, and this is on a small sized kitchen.

So what you can see is it definitely lifted more dirt off of what I would have considered a clean floor. The pad can be machine washed and you can get lots of extras on Amazon. Be sure that pads are still available if your going to buy an older model. The one thing that can be said about the pad, is they grab and hold onto dirt. And that is good and bad. Cleaning the pad afterwards is a pain.

The steaming unit can be removed from the floor unit and used to clean things like bathroom tiles/showers and the like, but be aware the unit itself is fairly heavy and it does not come with a hose to leave the unit on the floor while you were cleaning walls for example.

So overall, for $49 which is all I paid for the refurb, it seem like it’s doing something.

December 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment