The Inductive Reason Google Pixel 3 Can Wirelessly Charge Inside Its Case

It's not the same for all cases.

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL were launched early in October, featuring a toolbox of A.I. features, a loathed notch, wireless charging capabilities, and its very own wireless charging stand, the $79 Google Pixel Stand.

All of these new features and facelift were accompanied by familiar, all-fabric phones cases for which the company has become known. They come in black, blue, gray, and pink, to stylishly provide protection to the Pixel’s OLED screen and all-glass back.

But, you may be wondering: How will the Google Pixel 3 case disrupt wireless charging when it’s on the Google Pixel Stand? After all, nobody wants to take their case off their phone to charge it.

Luckily, the short answer is no, you do not have to take off Google’s flashy cases before you dock it on the Pixel Stand. Luckily, the Qi wireless charging standard that Google and a majority of smartphones use does not require direct contact with a charging mat or pad. This means a thin buffer between the phone and charger — like a case — won’t prevent your phone from juicing back up.

Pixel Charging Stand: Science Behind Qi-Charging

Qi is a type of inductive charging that uses two of coils to transfer electric energy over small distances. A transmitter coil generates an electromagnetic field, and the receiver coil turns that into electrical current to power the device it is embedded in.

Overview of Qi wireless charging system.

Battery University

The Google Pixel Stand uses power from an outlet to create the field, which is then picked up by the Pixel 3 and converted into battery charge. This powering method has a maximum distance of 1.6 inches. The Pixel 3 cases are all 0.42 inches in height, so the electromagnetic field generated by the Stand can easily pass through it.

Pixel Charging Stand: Will Certain Cases Interrupt Charging?

Yes. If you attach a case that separates the back of your phone more than 1.6 inches from the stand, you will begin to experience spotty connection. But the material of the case also matters.

Metal cases are Qi charging’s natural enemy. Since metal is magnetic, it acts as a barrier to the transmitter’s magnetic field, which would keep your phone from charging. Electromagnetic shields — or materials meant to block or reflect magnetic fields — are commonly made out of sheet metal.


So if you’re rocking a metal case, make sure the back is made of another material or you’ll have to take it off everytime you want to use your Pixel Stand.

Pixel Charging Stand: Price, Specs, and Features

The wireless charging went on sale Thursday on the Google store.

It charges up to 10 watts with the Pixel 3 or any other Qi compatible device that supports fast charging, like a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or LG V40 ThinQ. But, there are some exclusive Google Assistant features that only Pixel 3 users have access to.

When you dock the 3 or 3 XL to the Pixel Stand, it turns the handsets into impromptu smart home devices. Users can ask Google to play music, cycle through photos like a picture frame, make video calls, and do most of the things a Google Home can. Best of all, you won’t have to take off your case.

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