June 23, 2024


Sapiens Digital

Weekly poll: does 100W+ charging matter?

2 min read

This week several companies announced 100+ watt fast charging solutions for future smartphones – iQOO’s 120W Super FlashCharge, Realme’s 125 W UltraDART, Xiaomi teased a 100W charger, Oppo announced not only 125 W wired charging but also 65W AirVOOC wireless charging. The Lenovo Legion will get close with 90W. How much is too much?

According to Oppo’s numbers, a 4,000 mAh battery will be fully charged in 20 minutes. iQOO promises to do it in 15 minutes. Xiaomi’s 100W charger is no slouch either, doing 0-100% in 17 minutes. In the case of Oppo’s wireless option, 100% charge is reached in about 30 minutes.

Partial charges are just insanely quick – 33% in 3 minutes says Realme, 41% in 5 minutes, claims Oppo. At this point you can get a day’s charge while looking for your wallet before heading out.

Weekly poll: does 100+ W charging matter?

What do you think – is this the fastest charge we’ll ever need or is there room to go faster still?

Keep in mind that this isn’t as simple case of “the more, the better”. Realme, for example, put 14 temperature sensors inside the battery to ensure it never overheats. Oppo used 10 sensors. iQOO says that additional cooling is needed to protect the motherboard.

All of these systems split the battery into two 2,000 mAh cells and use two or even three charging circuits, effectively doubling the charging speed of a single battery at the cost of doubling the system’s complexity. And the added cost that comes with that, of course.

The companies are advertising charging speeds using a 4,000 mAh battery, which is nice as it helps compare different technologies. It may be no coincidence, however, as they need only the best-quality battery cells and those are likely available only in select capacities. Wouldn’t you prefer a 5,000 or even 6,000 mAh battery, even if it needs – gasp! – an extra half hour to charge fully?

Faster charging brings added complexity and cost
Faster charging brings added complexity and cost

Faster charging brings added complexity and cost

Because there’s something else to consider – a full charge doesn’t mean much unless we compare battery life. A large battery at 80% may be worth more than a small battery at 100%. Plus, the last 10-20% are always the slowest to charge so getting a fixed amount of milliamp hours inside a larger battery is quicker than doing the same with a smaller battery.

This can be simplified into the following related question – charge quickly but more often or slower but rarely? Also, with wireless charging that’s faster than some wired solutions, do wires still make sense?

Looking at it from a different angle still, wouldn’t you rather have a slower USB Power Delivery charger that can be used across brands and all devices (e.g. charging your laptop or Nintendo Switch) instead of a bunch of superior but incompatible solutions? For what it’s worth, Oppo’s solution supports USB PD’s Programmable Power Supply standard at the full 125W, so perhaps both are an option.

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