back to article SanDisk's iXpand Wireless Charger is the unholy lovechild of a Qi mat and a flash drive

If you spend more than £400 on a mobile phone, odds are high it will include wireless charging, which allows you to replenish your device's battery simply by placing it on a flat surface – no cables required. Predictably, the market is flush with charging pads, some costing as little as a tenner. But what happens if you spend a …

  1. joeW Silver badge

    Interesting little device

    Regarding this part though:

    > The SanDisk iXpand Wireless Charger allows you to set up password protections

    What are we talking here, actual encryption of the data or just password protection?

  2. oiseau Silver badge
    Stop

    Dead

    Both iOS and Android allow you to automatically back up your photos and contact information to the cloud.

    Wouldn't be caught dead backing up anything, important or not, to the cloud.

    Like someone wrote here at ElReg:

    "The cloud does not exist, it's just someone else's computer"

    O.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dead

      I trust you've got some other offsite backup regime sorted then? What are you doing, hosting a NAS at another person's house? Weekly backups to a hard disk that you swap out to your friend's house?

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Dead

      "The cloud does not exist, it's just someone else's computer"

      There's nothing wrong with renting someone else's computer. Let them worry about the power bills and the maintenance, while you just use it like an appliance. If it fits the task you're trying to do then it's a valid option.

      (Of course, if you're not paying for the product, then you are the product.)

      Or to put it another way, it's just the needle swinging back towards the "mainframe" side, in the endless oscillation of the IT industry between "do everything on the mainframe" and "do everything on the client".

    3. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Dead

      It's not someone else's computer. It's my computer. I just hope the cleaner* doesn't trip over the power cord.

      * I don't actually have a cleaner so this is unlikely.

      Obligatory XKCD xkcd.com/908/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: trip over the power cord

        I did EXACTLY that, to my new shiny 8Tb drive. Almost filled with data and ALMOST ready to be backed up to another new, shiny 8Tb drive

        (in other circumstances it could well have survived, but writing data... no). There's a slim chance the head might got stuck on a platter, or something.

        But backup, as a concept, ABSOLUTELY! ;)

  3. Neil 44

    More than one phone?

    Will it back up more than one phone?

    If you have more than one compatible phone in the house, can it back them up separately?

    1. TheProf
      Meh

      Re: More than one phone?

      "You can also share the storage with other members of your household. "

      Hmm. It's hard to tell from that sentence.

  4. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    look people this isnt the first device that has allowed you to transfer photos off your phone!

    Once you've transferred them into this pad thing what then? You've got the same problem except your photos are no longer in your pocket , they are wherever the pad is.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      "they are wherever the pad is"

      If the pad gets even slightly warm when turned on then you will find the pad underneath the cat.

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Coat

      Cheaper solutions?

      1) The mat needs a cord and wall wart or PSU on the mains of some kind.

      2) Transferring FROM the mat to other backups uses the WiFi. My LAN is 1000 Mbps.

      So a USB cable and charge from the power brick OR a laptop while transferring to the laptop using USB storage mode. Less flaky and more secure than wifi. Though does not work with expensive iThings.

      Technically a dock like security radios and DECT phones have makes more sense than a charging mat though a cable still works when you lift it from the table.

      Also travelling the mat is a bulkier solution than USB cable + charger as the mat needs a PSU with more than 10W to deliver 10W. Does the mat and its PSU fit in your coat pocket? What if you leave the mat in hotel, office visted etc and it's gone? A USB charger is easily replaced.

      Use a USB cable with no data wires for public charging points.

  5. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Gimmick!

    Wireless charging!

    The solution to a problem that didnt exist, at a cost of 20 to 50% efficiency.

    1. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Gimmick!

      For most people yes it is just a gimmick, there are however people with limited dexterity in their hands (arthritis) that whilst they can manage to use the phone have great difficulty plugging the charging cable into a phone.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: difficulty plugging the charging cable

        How does the mat connect to the mains for power, and how long is the cable?

        Hint put a line of luminous paint (or Halloween nail varnish) along the socket edge that faces top of cable. Even blob that side of cable (usually has USB logo) with black or white nail varnish.

        1. Persona Silver badge

          Re: difficulty plugging the charging cable

          The mat need plugging in ... once, when help is to hand, and is positioned somewhere convenient where the cable length permits. The person I had in mind has trouble gripping and manipulating things, not seeing them. As USB-C cables fit either way round why are you suggesting putting blobs of nail varnish on one side of them?

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Mushroom

    The problem with wireless charging

    In a word, it is inefficient.

    We are already burning way too much coal to power all our gizmos, gizmos which we are buying more of every year. Why have a regular toaster when you can have a "smart" one ? Why have a regular anything when you can have it use compute cycles all day long just so that you can, once a day or less, command it from you bloody smartphone ?

    So yeah, use even more energy, and recharge your gizmos with the most inefficient technology that some brilliant idiot thought up.

    We're going to burn our way back to Stone Age.

    1. sodium

      Re: The problem with wireless charging

      I agree. It's a miracle that no-one's talking about wirelessly charging cars yet...

      Oh, hang on. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48913028

    2. D@v3

      Re: The problem with wireless charging

      is that you have the same number of wires as you had before, just permanently attached to another gadget

    3. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: The problem with wireless charging

      To be fair, phones are way down the power consumption league, lower efficiency isn't great, but probably one of our lesser worries. (That said, wireless charging, while useful for a few, does seem more useful as a marketing gimmick than a practical feature. I especially like the adverts that suggest buddy charging as a major application.)

  7. michaelvirks

    Wait, what?

    "I was given the option to delete them from my phone, which would give me more space to play with."

    At that point, this is no longer a backup.

    1. Frank Bitterlich

      Re: Wait, what?

      Exactly. And, if asked whether I trust the storage in my phone or some fancy mouse mat more, the answer is pretty clear.

      Would be interesting to know whether you can back up the "backup".

    2. ab-gam

      Re: Wait, what?

      > At that point, this is no longer a backup.

      Correct - it has effectively changed from a backup to another point of failure.

      I wonder - do they allow you to access this storage from a computer so it can be replicated off the charger?

      1. hakuli

        Re: Wait, what?

        The article seems to imply that the wireless doo-dad is Wi-Fi enabled, so one presumes that it is discoverable that way?

        That being said, the article doesn't really (to my mind, at least) seem to offer much info about the damn thing except the obvious.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Costs

    "In comparison, the SanDisk iXpand Wireless Charger looks frightfully expensive"

    £130 as a one-off doesn't *seem* excessive compared to Google's £16 a month in perpetuity for cloud storage

    1. Mattjimf

      Re: Costs

      It's £16 a year for Google.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        £16 a year

        But do you get a £20 per year credit after Google sells your distilled data points to the highest bidder?

        1. Fink-Nottle
          Coat

          Re: £16 a year

          > Google sells your distilled data points

          Google One to rule them all,

          Google One to find them,

          And for sixteen pounds per annum,

          In the darkness bind them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Costs

        I stand corrected, but even then, it's not completely ridiculous.

        OK, a 500Gb SSD is what, £60? Add a wireless mat for £10, write some simple software, + testing + marketing + distribution. OK, they're making a profit, but that's still allowed, right?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It comes in 128GB and 256GB variants, costing £90 and £130 respectively

    idiot tax included (no model with a micro-sd card slot, for half that price :)

  10. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    Does the wireless charging work through a protective phone case?

    Back when I was using Samsungs, I noticed the wireless charging would not work (despite some initial flickers on the LEDs..) while the phone was in its case.

    Since the case was prolonging the life of a substantial investment, and the charger was a novelty gimmick, the charger found a new home in the bottom of a drawer.

    These days, I dont buy flagship phones, dont have to worry about wireless charging, but still make sure my phone has a case.

  11. LDS Silver badge

    When local copies/backups became a premium feature?

    My first smartphone in 2002 could backup to my PC easily. Where I have plenty of redundant storage. And with USB 3 data transfers are pretty fast.

    There is something very wrong when you have to pay more for simple, required functionalities.

  12. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    Yes but how efficient is the transer of power?

  13. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    Of course, you could make a privacy argument in favour of..

    .. running your own OwnCloud instance where you can insta-upload all your photos and videos once they are taken (you can also restrict it to just on wifi if you like). You can also back up your contacts - and any directory on your phone if you feel the need to..

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Of course, you could make a privacy argument in favour of..

      It's called renting hosting. I spend money on that, but I also have a dozen web sites. Dropbox? I've heard of it.

      I've no idea where it is really and it's not Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM etc, all of whom want to do more than sell you CPU, internet pipe and storage. No doubt some hosting companies are dubious on privacy or reliability, but mine has had better up time than some well known Cloud and Social Media sites.

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