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Our dependence on smartphones is growing all the time, with its significant by-product being the need for them to also work throughout the hours we need them. Out of this need many manufacturers are constantly working to put in bigger batteries, alongside implementing optimization in managing the battery life of the device to provide us with this product – but there is one more important component and that is the charging capabilities of the device.
If in the past we could stare at the device while the charger is slowly returning small drops of life in the form of a full pavement in a percentage or two more, since 2012 – with the introduction of the first fast charging standards – the situation has changed. But today, with quite a few quick claim standards, the situation has become a bit confusing – and we’re here to make it clearer.
Fast charging – how does it work?
At the base of our base is a the battery – made up of two electrodes (positive and negative) and the passage of ions through an electrolyte solution located between these two electrodes. When you use your smartphone and the battery discharges itself, the ions move from the anode (the negative electrode) to the cathode (the positive electrode) and when it is charged – the reverse process is done.
Charging our devices revolves around three different variables: current (measured in amps), power (measured in watts) and voltage (measured in volts) when of course we will only charge our devices using USB cables (yes, also in charging the iPhones).
Charging with a USB cable allows different carriers according to the USB standard, with this number increasing as it is a newer standard. For example, in USB 1.0 you can only charge up to 2.5 watts (which is the product of 0.5 amp current and 5 volts), while the newest device (USB 3.1) allows charging at up to 100 watts.
According to these standards, smartphone batteries have a charge controller that makes sure they get the right current so that they do not accidentally overheat, wear out faster and may even explode like some batteries (hey, note 7). This chip regulates the flow of electricity entering and leaving the battery, by determining the current in amperes after measuring its voltage and power. The physical chip does the actual job, but what usually determines the current that the controller regulates is the software of each manufacturer.
It is important to note that each manufacturer chooses how to play with its fast charging. While some manufacturers choose to increase the current transferred between the charger and the battery, there are those who generally choose to increase the voltage in an attempt to produce more potential energy.
USB-PD – the only one that will work with everyone, and Google’s favorite
The impressive power supplies that the standard 3.1 USB cables allow, come not only because of the device itself or its USB-C port, but also with the help of the USB Power Delivery standard (or USB-PD for short). This is an open standard of the connector, which allows fast charging (up to 100W) and is compatible with chargers and cables from external manufacturers.
The device, the first version of which was released in 2012, was created by the organization designed to promote the use of USB – the USB implementation forum (in English it sounds better). With the ability to reach a maximum power of 100 watts, the USB-PD is the most powerful device today, however quite a few manufacturers choose not to use it.
According to a 2019 report, Google has demanded that Android device manufacturers switch to using USB-PD in order to allow universal fast charging for all its users. It was also reported that alongside the demand, Google threatened sanctions on the manufacturers for not aligning – but they have not yet made the switch to charging with a USB-PD.
One of the most popular devices in the world for fast charging for smartphones is Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, which in the last summer received an update to version 5. The device’s popularity is of course a result of the fact that it exists in all Qualcomm processors from 2013. Snapdragon series. Although it is a proprietary standard for Qualcomm, it has eventually become almost a standard due to its presence on most Android devices around the world (except for those who have chosen to create their own claim standard).
The significant advantage of Quick Charge, especially in its newest version, is the ability to charge the device at 100 watts, without the need for manufacturers to adapt the device to USB-PD. Qualcomm has announced that the new version of their charging standard is “backwards compatible” and will also allow devices that supported previous versions to charge faster – in accordance with the manufacturers’ restrictions.
Apart from the USB-PD, which is universal and not proprietary, Qualcomm has the ability to reach the largest number of devices – and some manufacturers even use its standard, including Google, Samsung (in devices whose processors come with a Qualcomm chip, meaning not in Israel), LG and Shiomi (In some of its devices).
And what about the rest?
One Plus and Oppo, which are under the same family – hold, for example, a proprietary quick claim standard. One Plus has the Warp Charge (formerly known as the Dash Charge) and Oppo has the VOOC Charge. Although their devices come with a Qualcomm processor – and as a result can work with Quick Charge, the manufacturers of the BBK Electronics family prefer that their devices be charged to the standard they have created.
The advantage is the ability to boast faster charging achievements than the competition before everyone else, for example: the Oppo Find X2 Pro that is charged with no less than 65 watts – an achievement that has not yet been seen in the device in the wider market. The One Plus was not long in comparing the achievement, and in the company’s 8T model that came out last November, it also reached the respectable achievement – and the device was charged at 65 watts.
But there is a serious but. Without the Brick and the proprietary cable you get in the box (as long as they come in one) you will not get the charging speeds that the manufacturers promise, and probably much less. This is a significant drop in standards for those who may have lost the charger or found themselves without it and need a quick charge of the device.
Shiomi has previously used Qualcomm’s Quick Charge – when the company’s Mi Mix 3 was one of the first devices to work with the device. But today the company is working on a proprietary standard called TurboCharge – at least in its new flagship device, the Mi 11 – a device that allows it impressive charging capabilities at 55 watts.
A Chinese manufacturer that has unfortunately been less visible in our area since the boycott of it by former President Trump is Wawi – which uses a proprietary standard (SuperCharge) but this is a standard based on USB-PD, so any charger that uses the same standard can charge its devices quickly.
And what about Apple?
The American manufacturer’s closed garden is not something that can be written about much, simply because it has no competitors. It has only been said that Apple uses charging with a USB-PD standard which, as mentioned, can provide charging up to 100 watts. However, the giant from Cupertino sells chargers that reach a power of 30 watts for its smartphones, while non-genuine chargers will not necessarily provide you with the same power. Trust Apple that after it takes the charger out of the box, it will also make it difficult for you to charge your iPhone quickly if you do not pay for it.