If you ever want to get disgusted, read an article that talks about all of the bacteria and pathogens that can build up on your smartphone. This one from Time.com is one of my favorites: titled “Your Cell Phone Is 10 Times Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat”, this article talks about just how gross the average cell phone is when it has been handled, coughed on, and placed on dirty surfaces. PhoneSoap Wireless (US$99.95) is a device that not only wirelessly charges your iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS or iPhone XR, but sanitizes it with a strong blast of ultraviolet C (UV-C) light at the same time.
PhoneSoap Wireless is an attractive gunmetal gray box with a hinged lid. Opening the box, you see two ultraviolet (UV) light bulbs in the bottom of the unit with another one at the top. To charge and sanitize your iPhone, you just place it inside the PhoneSoap and wait for the blue light on top of the unit to go off. That indicates that 10 minutes of blasting the UV light at all around your phone is up. You can keep the phone inside of the PhoneSoap for additional charging after the sanitizing session is complete.
Should you decide you’d like to use a charging cable instead, there’s a small port that a cable fits through. While the PhoneSoap Wireless is plugged into a standard AC adapter for power, there is a single USB-A port on the back into which a USB to Lightning cable can be plugged in. That port is useful for both giving your iPhone a “wired” charge or charging a second device outside of the unit.
My only gripe? I travel a lot, and this thing takes up a lot of space. Making the device smaller and specifically for cell phones (you can use this for other devices) and adding a fan for cooling would address two issues.
PhoneSoap Wireless is a solid wireless charger, but it’s the sanitizing function that makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd. Now, I don’t have a biology lab here in my office,nor do I have a set of Petri dishes filled with agar to do my own microbiology cultures. However, the PhoneSoap folks test their product through a third-party lab and this image shows the results of swabbing a phone before cleaning, after swabbing with alcohol, and after a trip through the UV-C light.
Pretty gross there on the left, isn’t it? That culture was grown from a swab of a regular old smartphone. The middle one was taken from a smartphone that had been “cleaned” with an alcohol wipe, and the third one at right shows no growth at all — that’s from a phone that went through the 10-minute sanitizing in a PhoneSoap.
Think about it; the cold and flu season is just getting started, and hand — or smartphone — to mouth contact is the most common way that bacteria are spread. UV-C light like that used in PhoneSoap even kills antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” by breaking apart germ DNA.
There’s one other great feature of PhoneSoap Wireless: it works on anything that can be put into the “chamber”. That means you can sanitize jewelry, earbuds, remotes, and anything else that might pick up germs from your hands.
I did notice that the closed environment of PhoneSoap Wireless caused my iPhone XS Max to get warm, something that I haven’t noticed with other wireless chargers. That’s why I made the suggestion earlier in this post; leaving less inside room and adding a small, quiet fan could make the PhoneSoap Wireless smaller and keep the charging phone cooler.
There are a lot of ways you can be exposed to germs, but something that you’re constantly holding, touching, and perhaps even holding to your face has a chance to pick up a lot of junk and spread it around. I don’t want to gross you out, but how many times have you used the toilet while handling your phone? Think about it. PhoneSoap might very well keep you from getting sick this winter. Even with my comments about the size of the device and how warm my iPhone gets during charging inside PhoneSoap, I still think it’s an awesome product.
Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★