Ultimate Guide to Wireless Charging Your Gadgets

wireless charging

Are you tired of getting tangled in charger cables and fumbling around with those micro-USB plugs and sockets on your cellphone or tablet? Well, here is an introduction to wireless charging -a new mobile device charging standard -that’s sure rid your life of several feet of cables. And, you will never again need to fear that you are sure to permanently damage your mobile device while trying for the umpteenth time to connect that truly micro micro-USB cord. All you have to do is use your Qi (pronounced ‘chee’). No martial arts skills required though!

Here is a review of the RAVPower wireless charger, complete with instructions on how to set up your phone for wireless charging, and a list of the pros and cons of opting for wireless charging.

What is Wireless Charging?

The Qi wireless charging system works on the principle of electromagnetic induction whereby two planar coils of wire are paired and linked by way of magnetism.  One coil is in the base unit or power transmission pad and the other in the device to be charged. The base unit is plugged into an electrical outlet, its coil becomes magnetized and this magnetic energy radiates a few centimeters above the unit.wireless charging

The unit is able to sense when a mobile device (such as a smartphone, tablet, Bluetooth® headset, camera, or portable power pack) which uses the Qi standard, and therefore has a compatible receiver, is placed on top of it. After a short check for compatibility, the device’s coil absorbs the magnetic energy from the base unit.

A microcircuit attached to the coil then converts this magnetic energy into electrical energy and the device’s battery recharges. The compatibility check involves ensuring that the correct value of current is drawn by the mobile device. The Qi charger will provide exactly the amount of energy the device would draw if it were plugged into a wall outlet.

The RAVPower wireless charger which will be reviewed here (and all similar chargers) uses the Qi wireless power interface which was developed and backed by the Wireless Power Consortium.  The Consortium which comprises Asian, European, and American companies in varied manufacturing industries, seeks to establish a global standard for the inductive charging technology used in the Qi wireless power interface.

More information on the Qi charging system can be found at Wikipedia entry for Qi – Inductive Power Standard. If you need anything from an introduction to wireless charging to more technical power schematic sheets explaining Qi charging, then visit Wireless Power Consortium.

Using Qi-based Charging

Qi based charging requires a Qi charger and a Qi-enabled device. Some newer devices known as “Qi Integrated” devices come Qi-enabled. That is, they have wireless charging built-in.  Some examples of devices that come Qi-enabled and hence require no modification are Google’s Nexus 4, 5 (phones), and 7 (tablet). You can easily check whether your device is Qi-enabled by doing a simple search engine query for your particular phone model and the term ‘Qi charging’.

Devices that are not Qi-enabled may in fact be Qi-ready. That is, they contain secondary battery contact points for the attachment of the Qi add-on or some other power source. This can be done at a cost of roughly $10-15. That’s the price of an add-on to upgrade them for Qi-charging. Since there are as yet many more Qi-ready than Qi-enabled phones, it’s quite likely that you will have to add a charging coil to your phone.

This review of the RAVPower charging unit paired it with the Samsung Galaxy SIII which is not Qi-enabled but is Qi-ready. So, first step was to purchased and attach an add-on module specifically designed for the device. The contact points in Qi-ready devices are not placed according to any standard, so you will have to ensure that you purchase one that is made to work with your particular device. Another search engine check for your phone model and the term ‘Qi charger’ should be sufficient to point you in the right direction.

Now allow us to show you just how simple the Qi upgrade process really is. The photograph shows the phone(at center) with its back covered (and placed at left) removed alongside the SainSonic brand Qi add-on (at right).  To attach the add-on module we simply lay it atop the SIII so that its gold contacts line up with the contact points of the phone.

Here is a picture of this setup with module slightly askew so you can see how well everything lines up. ravpower-wirelessNext is a close up of the module’s underside, showing the pair of gold contacts. The gold contacts fit so neatly into these indentations on the phone that the two sided adhesive that it comes equipped with really isn’t even necessary. Replacing the back of case also adds pressure to the contacts, ensuring that they are firmly pressed together indeed.ravpower wireless charging

The add-on module is so slender that once the phone is reassembled, it is virtually impossible to detect its presence. The phone looks just the same with no visible humps or points where the back of the case is not firmly connected to the body of the phone. The only discernable difference is a very slight bulge you feel as you run your fingers down the back of the case. And make no mistakes, the SIII is quite a slender phone, so our concern about the add-on module distorting it shape was quite a legitimate one. Glad to say the module passed that test.

Our phone is now Qi-enabled (ready for wireless charging), so the next step is to examine the wireless charger itself.

The RAVPower Qi Travel Charger

The charger comes at a cost of $30 and is the perfect size to tuck away in your pocket or in an overnight bag. At a glance the unit may appear too small for the task at hand, since its width is the same as that of the SIII and it comes in at only half the phone’s length. Rest assured as we discovered there is no danger of the phone falling off the unit or not aligning properly for charging.

The unit’s design incorporates a grey ring of non-skid rubber around the power logo in the center of the charger to ensure that the phone sits securely when left to charge. For a bigger and roomier charging pad that completely supports the phone, you may opt for the RAVPower Qi Charging Pad at a cost of $36. It measures roughly 4×6 inches compared to the 3 inch circle of the RAVPower Qi Travel Charger.

A USB wall transformer comes with the charger, so you may plug it into the wall or you may choose to connect it to a suitably powered USB port on a computer. Next you sit the phone or other Qi enabled device on the charger and that’s that. The charger turns on and begins transmitting energy by induction to the device once Qi compatibility and the energy requisites have been calculated. The charger and phone remain in contact and automatically switch into standby mode the instant the battery is fully charged.

A Case for Case Thickness?

One of the main complaints lodged by consumers is that thick cases cause the induction coil in the device and the power coil in the base unit to be so far separated that the device fails to charge. We found this was not an issue, even with the thick Otterbox case made of plastic and silicone which we used on the SIII. The phone charged perfectly fine in its case, using both the both the RAVPower charger and the SainSonic brand battery module we were testing.

The Pros and Cons of Wireless Charging

You will admit that not much effort is required to upgrade your phone or to use the wireless charger but you may be wondering if it is worth setting up for long term use. Here’s how we see it:


Newer phones are manufactured to the current standard and hence are Qi-enabled; and you can upgrade an older phone for about $10.

Eliminates fumbling with the charging cord and it’s too tiny plug; no more constantly plugging in and out and worrying that you’ll damage the micro USB port.

As effective as a conventional wall charger, since we could measure no difference between the RAVPower charger and the wall charger in battery charging.

Incredibly easy to use. Just plug it in and place the Qi-enabled device on the base.

It’s super convenient since Qi chargers and Qi-enabled devices are entirely cross compatible. Good news – especially for those of us who can never seem to find the phone charger cable. Your Qi-enabled device will work on any of your friends’ charging base and vice versa, since a single charging base is able to recharge a wide range of mobile devices.

There is an increasing number of Qi hotspots being set up in airports, coffee shops, sports arenas, etc. or on one at any of

Apprehensions about the small size of the RAVPower travel charger’s base were baseless (no pun intended); despite its small size, it aptly held large phones.

It is energy saving, since the Qi charger base unit will only activate and transmit energy when a device that is both Qi-enabled and in need of charging is placed upon it.


Regardless of the convenience it provides, the $30-40 price tag on the charging base may seem a bit pricey to some people.

Heat production is an almost inevitable side effect of any energy transfer system, and so it is with the Qi charging base. Theoretically, this generated heat could reduce your phone’s battery life, but that effect is extremely minimal.

The convenience of the Qi charging base is also a possible issue in reducing your phone’s battery life. It is tempting to just rest it back on the base after each use but the life of the lithium-ion battery (found in most mobile devices) is reduced with frequent recharging when the battery has been barely depleted.

Our View

We think it’s great! Qi charging is extremely convenient and our doubts as to whether it would work with the phone case or work at all (since our phone was not originally Qi-enabled) have been erased.  The RAVPower unit that we reviewed gets high marks also as we found it worked just as well as the wall charger while being so much more user friendly.

We could be picky and say it. The only downside we can relate is that Qi wireless charging could shorten battery life. But before placing too much emphasis on that we must bear in mind that a replacement battery for the typical phone is only about $10. Added to that is the fact that it would take several years for the heat and frequent recharging to actually have any discernible effect.

Music Is the Great Motivator

fitness music motivation

Music is, perhaps more than ever in history, an integral part of our lives. It is absolutely everywhere. Just by taking a casual glance around yourself, you will be able to see people walking around with headphones on their heads, or ear buds in their ears. It’s almost like we need a soundtrack for just about everything we do. And music is readily accessible, too.

YouTube, MySpace, Last.fm, iTunes and hundreds of other media outlets and websites are there to provide you with your favorite tunes, some for free, some for a fee. People also have a great deal of choice on how they are going to blast out their favorite music. Some prefer mp3 players, such as iPod and the likes of it. Some simply upload music on their cell phones. Others tune into radio stations while they’re at work, in their car, or at home. Records are making a comeback, as well, with each new release being issued on iTunes, CD, and vinyl simultaneously.fitness music motivationfitness music motivation

It may sound like a cliché, but music makes things better. Even the most boring, mundane chores are made more bearable once music is involved into the equation. Speaking of boring stuff people would like to avoid doing, exercising makes the top of the list for most. Many people don’t really like working out, not just because it requires a lot of effort, but because it’s so repetitive. Doing the same moves over and over again simply kills any kind of motivation, which is why most of us quit after a short while. Music might be one of the solutions!

Getting in Shape with Music

Take a look at the latest home fitness equipment – things like rowing machines, exercise bikes, treadmills and elliptical machines. The manufacturers have jumped on the fact that so many people use music to relieve boredom whilst working out. In fact it has been proven that people will exercise more vigorously and for longer periods of time if they are listening to music – this article explains it in detail. Elliptical machines nearly all have music “built in” – either by providing MP3 docks or including speaker systems. They were one of the first to embrace the technology but the others have followed.

Not convinced about the effects of music on your ability to workout longer and harder? If you don’t believe us, try working out while blasting Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”. Imagine Rocky running up that long flight of stairs. Whether you want to admit it or not, you will be provided with a small jolt of instant motivation, pumped to carry on a bit more. And if that particular tune doesn’t do it for you, find another one that will. Try putting together a playlist containing songs that will get you psyched. Also, the quality of the workout will be much better, because you will attempt to stick to the beat. If you don’t believe us, try it.

There you go, yet another area of life that has been improved with music. But, we would also like to point out one thing. While music can be used as pleasant distraction or a means of spicing things up, it should still be appreciated for what it is. That means finding the time every once in a while to relax, sit in your favorite chair and truly listen to music just for the sake of music, and not just consume it like some sort of product. It is so much more than that.

Understanding Phishing: Think Like A Scammer!

what is phishing 23

A lot of us love to fish – it’s entertaining, peaceful, relaxing and nothing beats the thrill you feel when you catch a big fish. Phishing is not much different from fishing in this sense. The same way the fishes are attracted to the bait, with just one email a criminal can lure a number of people into a trap and they enjoy it just as much as you enjoy fishing.

There are many different phishing techniques used today to trick people through social media. Learning what phishing is and understanding these techniques can help you to void it.

Phishing Explained

As stated by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT):

“Phishing is an attempt by an individual or group to solicit personal information from unsuspecting users by employing social engineering techniques…” To put it simpler phishing is a game of trickery designed to force you into volunteering your information online, from your bank account number to your employee ID.

Traditional Phishing

Phishing does not always involve identity theft. For example a lot of phishing emails today are meant to trick people into purchasing what is phishing 23products online but I’ll explain this more a bit later on. In the case of identity theft, traditional methods generally include sending links of fake websites prompting the receiver to enter their information.

These links are usually manipulated to appear real but will take you to a fake website. Once you insert your information on the website the scammer will have access to your account. Some phishers will even try to exploit you further by tricking you into giving up your home address, credit card number and social security number.

The email will seem like its coming from a legit company, for instance a bank claiming that there is a problem with your account that needs to be rectified urgently. Phishing emails often also claim to be offering lower interest rates on your credit cards.

Visit the Microsoft Safety and Security Center for an example of what a phishing email may look like.

It’s also best to avoid clicking on suspicious links. It’s always safer to visit the company’s website directly from a new tab. Most financial entities today will not send links directly to your email because they are aware of the increase in phishing attacks. Internet Security Suite offers protection against virus and spyware, thus it will help you to combat phishing. This works by monitoring your web browser so that you will know if a website is fake.

Mobile Phishing

Criminals are enjoying mobile phishing just as much as email phishing today. Thousands of individuals lose money annually from telephone fraud – from a few pennies to their entire life savings. Phishers are experienced and know exactly what to say to get you to give up your money. They may seem very friendly and professional – addressing you by your name and making it seem like they are only interested in providing you with the best service.

They may call you or distribute ads for you to contact them directly claiming to be a legit company. One of the most common phishing calls today is from scammers claiming to be a part of the Federal Credit Union Administration. They usually ask you to verify your identity after noticing ‘suspicious activities’ on your account – SCAM. Once they get ahold of your information they will be able to make purchases online hence you should always be skeptical of these calls.

Social Media Phishing

The more popular social media has become the easier it is for phishers to catch “fishes.” People are less likely to be skeptical of links posted on social networks since sharing is the norm and phishers are taking advantage of this – that’s the scary part. The good thing is that scams carried out by phishers over social media are generally less extreme.

Most phishing on social media is meant to gather email addresses or refer users to affiliate links. Usually, the posts contain content to attract a large number of people. For instance it may have news about the death of a famous celebrity.

Of course there are a few cases in which phishing attacks on social media can be very costly. For instances phishers may create bank profiles and lure you to fake websites where you will be asked to enter personal information. You can approach social media phishing in the same manner as email phishing – use security software to avoid visiting harmful links.

The Bottom Line

Phishing is not going to die down anytime soon – technology has become a necessity in our lives. People who become victims of phishing are not necessarily unwise but rather they are uninformed. Once you have learnt about phishing and how to protect your computer you are less likely to be tricked. Be skeptical and use security tools when possible.

Interesting Facts about Wikipedia

wikipedia-facts 22

One of the most visited websites in the world, or the 6th most visited website to be exact, is Wikipedia. Just like Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, Wikipedia is one of those pages that people turn to every day. It is a goldmine of useful articles, which are written by thousands of contributors all across the globe. And the best part is: it’s completely free.

Wikipedia will not make your quest for knowledge miserable with wikipedia-facts 22countless ads and lengthy registration process (you still need to register if you are going to edit articles). Instead, it relies on donations of the people that read it and love it. In order to grasp how awesome Wikipedia really is, let’s take a look at some of the facts about it.

Wikipedia Has a Theme Song

Wikipedia has an official theme song, named “Hotel Wikipedia”, which is a cover of the famous “Hotel California” by The Eagles. Although Wikipedia states that the single was issued way back in 2004, the citation for that reference is curiously missing. For those who wish to challenge its accuracy, Wikipedia has issued a “warning”, claiming that “much bureaucracy will be involved” in order to achieve such a feat.

Wikipedia Numbers Are off the Charts

Don’t believe us? Let’s check out some of the numbers. Each day, 864,000 edits are done on Wikipedia, which is 36,000 edits each hours, or 600 minutes per minute. In case you were wondering about the article that has undergone the highest number of edits, that would be the article about George W. Bush, perhaps indicating its popularity, or notoriety, among the readers.

At the time of this writing, there are over 4.5 million English Wikipedia articles. German Wikipedia has over 1.5 million articles, and the French Wikipedia comes in third with over 1.3 million articles. Britannica, by comparison, has “just” 40,000 articles.

Bet on Wikipedia and Win

This is a bet you might not want to win. The bet involves guessing what the last ever article on Wikipedia is going to be. Although it’s hard to imagine a world without Wikipedia, the sad fact is, it cannot run on donations forever. And you can never discount the possibility of some natural or digital disaster that’s going to spell the end of internet. Perhaps Skynet will become self-aware… OK, some of us are “Terminator” fans, we admit. You can also bet on other milestones, but this one seems to be the most popular.

Wikipedia Has a Birthday Committee

If you bother to list your birthday on your talk page, Wikipedia has birthday committee which is there to wish you a happy birthday. One more reason for you to make a donation.

Determining if Your Micro USB Cable is Properly Charging Your Android

phone battery chargers 21

No charger is created equal. Depending on the brand or the condition its in, the rate your Android is charged will vary. If your charger is broken, it may not charge your device to its fullest potential. This article is for those people who think their phone is charging too slow, or if they’re just curious about the effectiveness of the off-brand charger they purchase. This will be an easy guide to determine how much juice your chargers are delivering. Let’s begin step one!

Step 1: Check Out Ampere

Head on over to the Play Store and download Ampere, an app that will measure your charging power. If you have a device that runs Android 4.0 or higher, it should work. However, some models may give you wonky results, including the HTC One M7/M8. The app is free, but there is a pro version that removes ads. However, the ads aren’t obnoxious, so it’s not worth the money. But it does give you battery info notifications. After turning on the app, you can get it to work.

Step 2: Test the Charger

Plug in your device via the charger. The power source doesn’t matter… too much. You can plug it into the wall, your computer, or to a portable battery. However, if you want extreme accuracy, plug the charger into its USB-to-wall-outlet adapter. The power source can cause variations, which we’ll discuss later.

With the app running and your phone charging, it should take about ten seconds for it to measure your charge. Also, the text in the app will change from orange to blue when you plug it in. When it’s not phone battery chargers 21plugged, it will display how much energy your phone uses. With this, you can see which programs are energy hogs, and how much difference changing settings will get you. You can view your battery’s stats by tapping the circle icon located on the left side. Negative numbers indicate how much charge your phone’s losing, while positive numbers do the opposite.

When measuring, you should also make sure that your phone isn’t using too much energy, or your results may be skewed. Turn off all energy hogs before doing a test.

Step 3: Look at Your Charger and Calculate

On the adapter, if you’re measuring via wall charger, look for a sticker/imprint that will tell the specifications of your adapter. Look at its output. For instance, if it says that the charge is 1,000mA, your charge should be close to that. If it’s using extra power, subtract the negative numbers by normal mA. Once you calculate everything, you can determine if your charger is in good standing. If not, there are adjustments you can make.

Step 4: Change Things

You can make your charging speed faster without having to buy a new charger, and the adjustments you make are simple. For instance, don’t mess with your phone while it’s charging. Instead, turn it on airplane mode, turn the display off, and let it be, and it will charge so much faster. If you don’t want to do that, there are more ways you can make changes, such as using less programs or lowering the brightness.

As we said before, you will get a better charge if you use a wall outlet. Why is that? Computers will not output the same amount of amperage that a wall socket can provide. So if you want maximum charging potential, stick with a wall outlet.

Also, you should use the official charger and try avoiding third-party chargers. The official charger has been tested to work the best with your device, and while third party can be cheaper, it’s not ideal for a healthy battery. And while wireless charging can be convenient, it will be slower.

Finally, if your phone is hot, cool it down when it charges. Heat can damage your battery and drain it, and it’s a sign that your phone is going beyond its limit. Make sure your phone is in a cool place and not trapped inside its shell. By cooling it down, it should charge it better.


It’s kind of a shame that you have to test your charging devices. Not all of them work the same way, and they can easily get broken, making you shell out money. But by taking care of it, testing your charge levels, and practicing good battery conservation, you can make your charger, and your device itself, last a good while.

Android Messaging Apps Worth Trying Out

apps for messaging 21

It is fair to say that text messaging is more popular than making actual phone calls on your smartphone. Needless to say, once something is popular, dozens of apps will be created for it, and text messaging is no exception. Seeing as you have to pay for each SMS message, the Android app market has seen an emergence of texting apps which allows you to text other people for free, or for a nominal fee that will set you back much less than sending actual SMS messages. WhatsApp and Viber lead the pack, but there are plenty of others, so we’ve decided to take a closer look and see what’s what.


Skype had become a household term among desktop and laptop users a long time ago, and ever since Microsoft acquired it, it has been making some big strides on mobile devices, as well. Apart from being the best at video and voice calls, Skype also lets you send and receive instant text messages, emoticons, video messages and all sorts of files.

You can also have group chats with people that are in your contacts. This may very well be the best app of its kind out there, which is no surprise, since it has Microsoft behind it.


SnapChat became popular, and somewhat notorious, less because of apps for messaging 21its overall abilities, but more because it allows its users to send images and short videos that self-destruct after they have been viewed by the receiver. It is pretty much an unwritten rule that once something hits the internet, it stays there forever. SnapChat makes sure that those private photos you are sending to someone stay that way.

Sounds very “Mission Impossible”, although much less dramatic, since your phone won’t explode in ten seconds. Even though the images you send cannot be saved by the receiver, they can take a screenshot of it, but you will be notified of this. SnapChat also allows you to do some basic image-editing, such as adding text or drawing, but that’s pretty much it.

Facebook Messenger

Even though most devices come with this app pre-installed, in case yours doesn’t, do yourself a favor and download it. It is one of the best messaging apps on the market, and you can find it on the Google Play store. For those among you who are addicted to Facebook, and we imagine there would be quite a few, Facebook Messenger is a must-have, since it allows for instant access to your Facebook account and Chat Heads.

When it comes to messaging, you can send messages to your friends, family and colleagues directly from the app, as well as images and voice memos. As for Chat Heads, they will pop up on top of any app except for full-screen video. This feature is relatively new, so it’s nice to see it included in the app.

Best Music Players for Your Android Phone

top music players

Along with the changing music trends, the way we listen to and experience music has changed a lot over the years, as well. Listening to music on the go is not an exactly a new concept.

If you are old enough to remember seeing someone walking down the street with a boombox on their shoulder, you’d know what I’m on about. Then, as technology progressed, boomboxes were gradually replaced by the revolutionary Walkman, and its copies. Walkman was followed by portable CD players, but those were quickly replaced by mp3 players which ruled the sonic landscape for years.

But, with the emergence of smartphones and large-capacity SD cards, people have changed their listening habits yet again. Not only are you able to have access to all the latest music through services like iTunes, but you can also have greater control over the way your favorite music is played, with the help of different music apps. Let’s take a look at some the best music apps for your Android phone that can be found on the market.


For those of you who can’t live without iTunes, DoubleTwist is familiar name, since it’s probably the best top music playersway of syncing your music between your Android phone and iTunes. But, that’s not the only thing DoubleTwist is good at. Its capabilities as music player are nearly equally impressive, and best of all, you can get the basic version for free. In order to have access to all of its features, you still have to pay up, but it is well-worth the money. Apart from looking great, DoubleTwist comes equipped with an equalizer and provides you with hi-res artwork of your favorite albums, and a whole other bunch of cool features. It also supports just about any audio format out there.


Although with a completely different visual identity than that of DoubleTwist, Poweramp is equally awesome, and packed with goodies like an equalizer, crossfader and much more. Underneath the hood is more of the same, with a long list of supported audio formats. Aside from being able to play anything you throw at it, Poweramp is highly customizable, with a bunch of different themes available, as well as high-quality album artwork. You can try it out for free over a period of 15 days, but it’s highly unlikely you won’t want to keep on using it. One of the best music players for Android, no contest.


As you can tell by the name, Equalizer+ comes with an integrated equalizer, and numerous other features, which you have to pay for if you want more than basic functionality. What you get is a 5-band equalizer, and a bunch of presets, bass booster, and a visualizer. It’s not on the same level as Poweramp or DoubleTwist, but it still offers more than enough.

There are plenty of apps out there which can play your favorite tunes, and these three are pretty much your best option. Give them a shot and enjoy the music!