The very first time I used a fast-charging phone, I was amazed. It packed a 4000mAh battery (which was huge in 2015), and could charge to 75% in one hour. It felt revolutionary especially since this was a KES 10,000 device.
At that time, most devices had 2,500mAh to 3,500mAh batteries. And most would take hours to charge. So having something with a bigger battery, but charging pretty fast was a game-changer, and I was all in for it.
Over the years, fast charging has really improved. This is especially so for Chinese smartphone makers. The pack is currently led by OPPO and Xiaomi who are shipping smartphones with crazy-fast fast-charging. Everyone else is years behind when you compare the numbers.
Up to a few days ago, the fastest smartphone charger in my house had been OPPO’s 65W charger for the Reno6. I have written a whole article on how fast charging changes everything. Turns out that wasn’t even fast enough.
The new Xiaomi 11T Pro, which is my current daily driver, is way faster. Like crazy fast.
Official numbers vs real life:
The official charge time numbers are as follows:
- 10 minutes charge – 0% to 72%
- 17 minutes charge – 0% to 100%
Are these numbers correct? I can say yes! And I can add this: you get even crazier charging times when you are charging before the phone hits zero percent. Like I’ve moved from 27% to 100% in the time this article has been typed. It’s that fast. And for me, that’s a huge leap everyone should have the privilege of testing out.
People have asked me if after fast charging the phone lasts a day of use. Yes. I am getting quite good screen-on time – between 5 and 7hrs depending on use. You can be sure of a day to two of use with this phone.
For everyone who knows something about batteries, you know that this level of fast-charging can negatively impact your battery. Your battery stands to degrade faster with faster charging.
Xiaomi is promising your battery will retain up to 80% capacity after 800 complete charge cycles. Which is roughly two years of use. This means you will be getting around 80% of the battery you’re getting when the phone is new after two years of use.
This is pretty good, especially given the speeds with which the phone is charging.
Xiaomi however has made it clear that using a slower charger will help retain more capacity especially when charging your phone overnight.
How does this compare to other makers:
On their website, Apple says your iPhone battery will degrade to 80% capacity after 500 complete charge cycles. That’s about a year of use. Which given their 18W chargers (now not even included in the box) is quite the thing to consider.
OPPO on their part say their 65W charger will degrade their phone’s battery to 80% capacity after 1500 complete charge cycles. That’s roughly 4 years of use. Which is good, given the 65W charge fills up a phone in 30mins
OPPO’s 125W charger on the other hand has the same sort of numbers as Xiaomi with 80% capacity remaining after 800 charge cycles.
Samsung in 2017 said their devices will retain up to 95% battery after two years of use. But this was when they used 15W chargers. They now have 25W and 45W chargers.
Is 120W worth it?
To be honest, while some may argue there’s a trade-off, I don’t see it. For me, especially compared to other brands with slower chargers, it makes more sense to have the 120W charger. It saves time, it is cool. It is crazy tech!
How long do we use our phones for? Around 3 years? At most 4?
If I can charge my phone to 100% in the time it takes to get ready, but still have 80% battery capacity after 2 years of use, isn’t that a good thing? The phone packs a 5000mAh battery mark you.
What Xiaomi could do better:
- Add an option to limit charging speeds – so I can choose the speed I want the phone to charge at.
- Have a smart system to know when not to charge even when plugged in – I’ve seen this on OPPO where the phone won’t charge when you plug it in because it knows you’re going to bed. But by the time you’re awake it will have charged.
Fast charging is great. You should get a phone with a fast charger. Companies claiming to be saving the environment by removing the charger make no sense. Instead, they could ask people to return chargers they don’t use for an incentive e.g. discounts, free earbuds etc. That’s a better way to approach the environment talk. Otherwise people will keep buying extra chargers when they get a phone with no charger.
So, go get a fast charging phone. And if you can, consider a flagship like the Xiaomi 11T Pro which has super flagship specs at mid-range prices. I mean can you compare the specs of this phone to the TECNO Phantom X or to the Galaxy A72? Yet they all cost KES 49,999!