Since the Coronavirus pandemic spread around the world, there has been an explosion of home and office devices with UV lights claiming to disinfect everything from your gadgets, to keys, wallets, and even groceries. That does sound better and more convenient than using sanitizers and alcohol sprays on everything you own. So, when Samsung sent over its own UV sterilizer that’s also a wireless charger, I was definitely intrigued.
Is this something that’s worth spending Rs. 3,599 of your money on? Does it work? Is it really something that you should consider buying for your smartphone? If these are the questions lingering in your mind as well, here’s my review of the Samsung wireless charger and UV sterilizer after using it for over a week.
What’s in the Box
First things first, let’s take a look at what you get inside the box.
–> Wireless charger and UV sterilizer
–> User Manual (read this, okay?)
–> USB Type-C cable
You don’t get a lot of stuff here, but Samsung has provided everything you need to actually start using it. Given you have a USB power adapter that you can use, and I’m presuming you do.
Design and Build
My first thought on looking at this device? Functional.
It doesn’t look remotely like something Samsung made. There’s no branding anywhere on this absolutely white box with an extremely functional design. Not to take anything away from it though, because there’s really no need for a UV sterilizer to have design flair.
However, seeing as this is something Samsung sees you using every day to charge your phone while sanitizing it, I would have liked it if it looked less like something you stole from a hospital near you. Like I said, it’s functional looking, and it’s not something I’d keep on my bedside table, partly due to the size, and mostly because that’s not the use-case intended for this device anyway.
To be fair though, this is a very well-built device. It feels sturdy to use, the lid closes shut magnetically for a firm hold, and there’s really nothing to fault as far as the build quality is concerned.
Also, I happen to be a sucker for devices without unnecessary branding, and this definitely checks that off the list.
Design-wise, there’s a single button in the front to activate the UV lights, an LED indicator to let you know when the device is done sterilizing your smartphone, and a USB Type-C port on the back to power the charger and the lights.
When you open this thing up, it looks even more like hospital equipment. The creamy-gray sort of color inside looks really meek, and the design elements used on the charging pad itself are quite uninspiring.
While I really want to dock a lot of points for the design here, I really can’t. There’s not much of a reason for your UV sterilizer to have flashy design. In fact, the hospital-like feel in the design here may even be intentional. After all, it does inspire slightly more confidence in the capability of this nifty little gadget to clean and sterilize your smartphone.
On the design front, Samsung hasn’t (and it didn’t need to) put too much of an effort here. The only issue with that decision is that the device looks less and less like something I want in my living room. And, sadly, that’s where you’ll probably be using it to keep it handy for cleaning your phone when you get back from the market, or work.
Since this is a UV sterilizer, I think it’s only fit that we discuss that particular aspect before we talk about anything else (read: wireless charging).
Inside the sterilizer are two UV lamps that emit UVC radiation (253.7nm) to kill 99% of bacteria. That’s an important wording, because if you’re wondering about COVID protection, that’s a virus. Based off some online reading, researchers have posited that Far-UVC radiation can kill airborne Coronavirus in about 25 minutes.
Far-UVC is in the range of 200nm to 222nm, which means this sterilizer isn’t emitting that particular radiation.
Moreover, even if it was, researchers estimate that it takes 25 minutes for Far-UVC radiation to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the Samsung UV Sterilizer only uses UV light for 10 minutes in one go. I’d recommend you go and read this research paper to learn more. You can also read the FDA FAQ page to learn more about UVC radiation and its effects on the Coronavirus and other viruses.
Still, it’s difficult to mention outright whether the Samsung UV sterilizer is a useful protection against COVID-19 because of the lack of research around UVC light of different wavelengths that can effectively kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
It can, at the very least, destroy 99% bacteria from the surface of your smartphone, or other objects that can be safely placed inside the box.
Obviously, without lab equipment, it’s impossible for me to objectively tell you how good the Samsung UV sterilizer is at doing its job. However, I am inclined to believe Samsung about the claim, since UVC light is known to disinfect viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.
Samsung has also taken plenty of care to prevent any damage to your eyes due to the UV light. The feature only works when the box is closed, and as soon as you open it, the lights will turn off. The LED light in front of the case glows green while UV sterilization is in progress, and turns off (along with two beeps) to indicate that sanitization has been completed.
Obviously, you can open the case while the sterilization is on-going, and it will automatically turn off the UV lights.
Also, since this is UV cleaning, only the surfaces exposed to the light will be sterilized. That means for the most part, the back of your phone will mostly not be sterilized. However, you can always flip your phone over and keep it back inside to sterilize the back as well.
As for the other application of this device, it has a wireless charger built in, which can charge Qi-compatible smartphones at up to 10W. That’s not the fastest wireless charging speeds, even for Samsung phones (the Note 20 Ultra, for example, supports 15W wireless charging).
Still, it’s a good inclusion. It keeps your phone juiced up while you sanitize it with UV light. Plus, in case you’re wondering, while the UV treatment automatically ends after 10 minutes, your phone will keep charging afterwards as well, so you can leave it inside until you need it again and it will be clean and charged.
I used the wireless charger with my iPhone (needless to say I’m used to slower wireless charging speeds) so it wasn’t an issue. That said, if you’re using a phone with faster wireless charging, you might wanna use its dedicated wireless charger to actually charge the phone. The UV sterilizer is great for disinfecting your phone while charging it, but not necessarily as a standalone wireless charger.
Then again, that’s not Samsung’s primary objective with this device, so 10W is definitely a decent charging speed for it.
That said, I did test the charging speeds with the new S21 Ultra 5G. I placed the phone on the wireless charger at 15% battery, and in 30 minutes the phone went up to just 24%.
Samsung UV Sterilizer and Wireless Charger: Should You Buy?
All things considered, the Samsung UV Sterilizer and wireless charger is definitely a handy device to keep your smartphone clean while also charging it. True, there are doubts in my mind about the efficacy of the UV light in killing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, at the very least, it will rid your smartphone of bacteria like E. Coli and others.
Whether that’s worth Rs. 3,599 is highly subjective. If you’re someone who likes to ensure that their smartphones, keys, and other small objects are sanitized and clean at all times, this is definitely something worth getting. If you’re simply looking for a wireless charger, there are definitely other options out there.
Buy the Samsung UV Sterilizer and Wireless Charger (Rs. 3,599)