MEGATech Reviews – Patriot FUEL iON Magnetic Charging System for iPhone Michael Kwan August 19, 2014 MEGATech Reviews As great as our smartphones have become over the years, they all suffer from the same fundamental flaw: they need to be charged, typically once a day if not even more frequently. This can cause a lot of undue stress on the charging port of your phone, not to mention the extra hassle of trying to line up that charging cable connector each time. Making your life just a little bit more convenient is the Patriot FUEL iON magnetic charging ecosystem. We’re taking a look at the kit for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S, but they’ve got a practically identical kit for the Samsung Galaxy S4 as well. The Wireless Magnetic Charging System from Patriot Originally announced in June, the Patriot FUEL iON system works in fundamentally the same way as other wireless charging standards like Qi and Powermat. It may feel strange to depart from the two biggest players in the space, but Patriot feels that it is bringing something even better to the market. First, the FUEL iON system uses far stronger magnets than what you find with competing standards. This means that you can line up your iPhone 5 (or Galaxy S4) to a charging pad far more easily and more quickly. Second, they say that the charging system is just as efficient as plugging your phone into the wall, which isn’t completely the case with other wireless chargers. They also say that you won’t suffer from overheating issues. FUEL iON Starter Kit for iPhone 5/5S Because you won’t be able to use the variety of Qi chargers from other manufacturers nor will you be able to take advantage of the Powermat charging pads at Starbucks, you will need to invest in a whole new family of products to work within the FUEL iON ecosystem. Thankfully, the starter kit has everything that you need to get started. The starter kit consists of the charging stand, a microUSB charging cable, a charging case for the iPhone 5/5S, an audio extension cable and supporting documentation. The charging case is very similar to some of the battery-touting cases you might find for the iPhone, adding about a centimeter to the base of your iPhone via the Lightning port. This is also why the audio extension cable is necessary, as you may not be able to plug your headphones into your iPhone’s headset jack without it. The FUEL iON charging case has noticeable weight to it, likely attributable to the charging connector and magnets. The charging stand is simple but effective, allowing you to charge your iPhone in either portrait or landscape orientation. While I am not a fan of the added bulk of the case, I found this combination to be very easy to use under real life circumstances. The magnets are surprisingly strong, lining up the connectors with no effort at all. Magnetic Charging Pad While you could use the charging case with the supplied charging stand, Patriot also offers a couple of accessories as part of the FUEL iON magnetic charging ecosystem. The first of these is called the Magnetic Charging Pad and it is a round disc with the FUEL iON connector in the middle. Because the connector on the back of the charging case is circular, you can place your phone down in any direction and it should work. Should work. In practice, I couldn’t quite get this 360 degrees of charging to operate properly. If I placed the iPhone down a certain way, sometimes nothing would happen at all. I give the iPhone a slight rotation, maybe 10 or 15 degrees, and it would suddenly come to life. If I removed the iPhone and placed it right back in the orientation where I had previously received a charge, it might not light up until I spin it a little more. The charging pad is a good idea in theory, but the execution isn’t perfect. Magnetic Charging Car Mount Perhaps one of the best applications of wireless charging technology is in the car. You don’t want to fumble with cables when you enter your vehicle, just like how so many cars have keyless push button start now. The suitably named Patriot FUEL iON Magnetic Charging Car Mount works as advertised. It consists of the mounting arm with a suction cup, the charging pad that clips into place, a microUSB charging cable, and the 12V USB adapter. It may be a little unsightly with the cable sticking out of the bottom of the charging pad like that; it may have been beneficial to have a cable management system such that it could thread down the arm of the mounting arm. MEGATechie Powerful Convenience or MEGATechie Needs Energy Boost? Wireless charging technology has been around for a few years now, but even the dominating standards of Qi and Powermat haven’t reached mainstream critical mass just yet. I understand that Patriot wanted to stand out from the crowd by developing its own FUEL iON family of products, saying that it is more efficient than competing technologies. In the case (no pun intended) of the iPhone ecosystem, however, I find that the charging case adds too much bulk and is too unsightly to be all that viable for many users. I imagine the Galaxy S4 version is a little more streamlined. The Patriot FUEL iON case and charging stand have an MSRP of $99.99 (presumably the same price as the Galaxy S4 version and higher than the previously announced $79.99 price point), while the FUEL iON Charge Pad and FUEL iON Car Charger are $29.99 and $49.99 respectively. Patriot says that they plan on having a version for the Galaxy S5 and possibly other phones in the near future. Share This With The World!