We all learn at an early age to wash our hands regularly. You may have been taught to wash them before meals, after touching anything in a public place and hopefully after using the restroom. Despite this knowledge, I have still seen grown adults walk out of the bathroom without washing, which is absolutely disgusting. I wash my hands with soap and water every chance I get, and I use hand sanitizer hundreds of times a day. Unfortunately, we touch things/surfaces in between cleanings and then our phone becomes a repository of “grossness.” I have previously reviewed the PHONESOAP XL and used blood agar plates to demonstrate the effectiveness of UV light in killing bacterial colonies. Since that review, I have been using the device roughly three times weekly to clean my phone, my tablet and daily for my stethoscope. I could not argue with the results of the PHONESOAP XL, the stark contrast between the pre/post was breathtaking.
With the PHONESOAP XL cleaning bigger items (and smaller items like smartphones), I was curious how the PHONESOAP 3.0 would fare. The device arrived in a rather bland 9 3/4 inches long by 6 3/4 inches wide by 2 1/4 inches thick brown cardboard box. The packaging had no outer slipcover and other than a black “PHONESOAP” title along each of the sides and the black hexagon with lightning logo on the cover, was devoid of markings. The front flap did have a PHONESOAP silver/white sticker, which alerted the user to the color of the device. The packaging would definitely benefit from an upgrade and some excitement.
Within the packaging, you can expect to find an 8 1/2 inches long by 5 inches wide by 1 3/4 inches thick silver UV sanitizer, an AC adaptor with 39 1/2 inches long cable and an instruction manual. The AC adaptor, like the packaging, needs a little attention. The type A wall prongs stick directly outward from of the end of the 1 5/8 inches wide by 2 1/4 inches tall by 7/8 inches thick power supply. The prongs were not retractable and caused the power supply to jut out three inches from the wall. This charger would work perfectly if plugged into a surge protector but fails when plugged into the wall. Forget about hiding this behind a desk, nightstand or another piece of furniture, as the charger extends perpendicularly from the wall.
The setup proved to be uncomplicated. Plug the power adaptor into the wall, plug the AC adaptor into the PHONESOAP and then open the lid of the PHONESOAP to accommodate your phone. Both the top and bottom panels had a 6 13/16 inches tall by 3 11/16 inches wide by 3/8 inches tall rectangular cutout with a single centered UV LED light bar along the center. The right side of the PHONESOAP had a 1 1/8 inches wide by 1 1/8 inches tall cutout for a USB cable and a semicircular cable cutout. The base of the device had a layer of unremovable glass covering the lower half of the well. The lid closed securely and was held by a magnetic closure. Along the back side of the PHONESOAP, you will find USB-C and USB-A outputs. Plug in your USB C or USB A phone charging cable into the output ports and then into your phone. The included channel allowed the door to fully close and a small layer of rubber overlayed the cable channel, preventing the release of UV light.
When plugged in and ready to use, open the door, place your phone into the chamber face up or face down and then close the lid. Along the top of the cover, PHONESOAP included an illuminating lightning bolt. The lightning bolt will remain charged until the timer has expired (10 minutes). Without auditory cues, you will need to watch for the light to extinguish before opening the lid again. You can open the lid at any time, but you will not get the full benefit of the cleaning process. At the end of the cleaning cycle, you can use the included PHONESOAP microfiber pad to wipe away smudges. The device promises 99.9% germ elimination, but most users will have to accept the word of the company to know if it works. Instead of solely believing the promise, I turned to a local lab to test the claim.
To test the efficacy of the PHONESOAP 3.0, I purposely did not use the PHONESOAP XL for five days. I used my iPhone X as I would normally and on day 5 I sampled the front and back of the phone. I had the director of a local laboratory swab the screen of my iPhone XL and the back of my Speck Ultra Presidio case with sterile swabs. I then placed my iPhone X into the PHONESOAP 3.0 and patiently awaited the 10 minutes. At that point, the lid was opened, the front of the iPhone X was swabbed, and then the sides were gripped, and the back was swabbed. The pre-UV cleaned samples were not as spectacular as those seen before the PHONESOAP XL testing. However, neither of the post-UV cleaned specimens had any bacterial growth. Similar to the experiment with the PHONESOAP XL, the PHONESOAP 3.0 did not disappoint.
I did not specifically test the sides of the phone, which may have hidden a little from the UV light. The inside of the PHONESOAP XL had more UV lights and more reflective surfaces, which seemed to cover the entire surface of a tablet or phone. Despite this testing limitation, I felt that the claim of 99.9% germ reduction was accurate. The USB-C output was tested using a DROK USB-C LCD Multimeter. Using a USB-C to Lightning cable, I found that my phone charged at 5V/1.25–1.27A. The convenient aspect of the cleaner is that you can place your phone into the cleaner overnight and allow it to charge. After ten minutes, the UV lights will extinguish, and you can enjoy a fully charged device when you awake the following am. There is a place for both the PHONESOAP 3.0 and PHONESOAP XL in my life, but I preferred the XL. I did not like the charging plug of the PHONESOAP 3.0, and this may limit the ability for some people to use the device. The cleaning well will accommodate a Plus sized iPhone and my wife’s iPhone 7 with a Pop Socket. Similar to the XL review completed previously, the PHONESOAP 3.0 agar testing was amazing. I would rate this device at 4/5 stars and the PHONESOAP XL 5/5 stars.