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Messless Charging Unit vs. Powermat – gadget review

Submitted by on December 8, 2009 – 9:12 pm11 Comments

powermat-homemessless-charging-station-eThank you for checking out our of many , mobile and Smartphone reviews that ushers in a new dynamic tangent for 4 out of 10. Wow. That sounded pretentious!

First up is that of the battle of the charging units: Messless versus Powermat. Who will come out the victor? How will the “wired” Messless stand up to the “” Powermat? How floppy is an iPhone when docked into a Messless? Well these and many more questions will be answered…probably.

portable-powermateIf you don’t know what a Powermat is then I suggest you take a gander at this link. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? “Wireless” charging: fantastic…except for the fact that the cellular phone or gadget needs to be in physical contact with the device! In fact calling the Powermat wireless is much like me referring to a plug and socket’s relationship as wireless…It just isn’t! However don’t you your pretty little head about it, as we were also sold “mobile” phones and “portable” televisions in the 80’s which were utter fabrications as well!

Let’s ignore the science bit shall we? Assuming you know what a Powermat is (or have watched the very helpful YouTube link I provided) you don’t much care how it works. The facts are these: both the Messless and the Powermat are multi-charging devices. They are basically a cool alternative to one of those multi-plug dooberys that you buy from Argos. But instead of being £14.99 they are a cool £79.99 (for the Powermat) and 69 Euros /£62 (for the Messless). What is almost a brutally unfunny kick in the ghoulies is the fact that these companies expect you to pay for extras!

powermat-iphone-receiverIf you have an iPhone or Blackberry you would be an utter loon if you didn’t take up the wireless sleeve / jacket / case option (costing up to another £35). So for your £79.99 (for the Powermat) you can expect a useless bit of art to slap on your desk and pretend you meant for it just to sit there! All in all the Powermat would have cost you a couple of pence shy of £100. One hundred pounds for a charging unit? I know we love our but surely not enough to spend nearly one third of our hard earned out on them again (not after that cool D3O case that was on Dragon’s Den).

powermat-powercubeI wouldn’t mind this financial insult if the Powermat was actually wireless! Here I am in possession of a serious bit of kit (a HTC-HD2) and the best that can be offered is that of a “Powercube” that wirelessly connects my phone to the board – except for the fact that it is connected by A WIRE! Don’t get me wrong, I am just as excited by this technology as the next man but I refuse to be insulted by a company who is holding back the good stuff until they’ve managed to convince the world’s cellular manufacturers to include a receiver on each of their products.

messless-charging-station-0When all is said and done though, there is a satisfying magnetic force keeping the charging device in place and the power savings are obvious along with the fact that if you do have the right phone, you will feel so cool when you slap your device down on the unit and it charges (not a euphemism). Excellent stuff. It’s just a shame that it has to take up so much space on the desk!

I was advised a few days ago that I may not want to compare the Messless to the Powermat as the latter is an induction charging unit allowing it to be “wireless”. I love the way that everyone throws the “W” word around as if it means anything. The Powermat is wireless but still requires contact; in fact the only way that you can get away with no wires is when you have one of the correct phones! To an end user, the Messless and the Powermat are much of a muchness. In fact the messless-charging-stationMessless is so much more. Firstly it charges so many more items right out of the box. With 6 interchangeable adapters you can charge a hefty range of devices. Unfortunately, true to form my HD2 requires a micro-usb connector and that costs an extra £9. However ignoring the fact that you could lose money faster than HBOS by buying extra adapters, the Messless is almost a wonder to behold. A colleague of mine recently mentioned that she couldn’t see the purpose in the device as it simply charges… “and not even wirelessly, like the Powermat”. After a bit of a telling off I informed them that they were not only looking at a useful and necessary appliance but also art! This inverted hat sits on your desk and as the day progresses you add different shaped devices that sit in all manner of ways (thanks to the obscure location of connectors). If you don’t know what I mean, then I suggest you place a Blackberry, a PSP a HD2 and an iPod on it…and after then, if you don’t know what I mean then you really shouldn’t be watching that Saatchi programme on Beeb 1!

One of my biggest concerns with the Messless was that of wobbliness. I was convinced that mammoth phones (as they seem to be going that way) would feel a little unstable as they were fitted to the device. Surprisingly though, this was not the case as my HD2 in the unit with a comforting clunk! I’m not entirely sure of how long the connectors will last (all interchangeable with a push-down system) but after rigorous shaking and abuse the device still held all of my gadgets well (and that is not a euphemism).

messless-charging-station-eI can only truly think of two things that bother me about the Messless. Firstly the price of the unit: it is shame that it does not have a lower RRP. If this unit was at the £49.99 mark I’d be rushing to buy it. Unfortunately the fact that it sits nearly £20 more than that figure and a micro USB connector isn’t included by default, I am tempted to be a little more careful with my money.

So who won? Where should your money go for a charging device this Christmas? you are very sold on the idea of “wireless charging” and it is an upsetting fact that we are not quite there yet (largely due to the fact that the Powermat group wants us to buy their don’t-do-much-first-generation-products before their technology is integrated into handheld devices at the manufacturing level). I’ll admit to completely losing faith in an item that doesn’t support arguably one of the most popular phones on the market (HTC-HD2). The very fact that I had to borrow my friend’s iPhone to completely test out the “wirelessness” of the device angered me from the beginning.

For my money I’d grab hold of the Messless. The fact is, it is unlikely to be superseded three months from now and it can charge a huge range of devices straight out of the box. Hey, even if you have no need for a multi-charging station on your desk, then think of it as the cheapest artwork you’re ever likely to buy!

Messless Rating: 4 out of 5

Powermat Rating: 2 out of 5

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