The Phenomena of ‘Fast Charging’

You may have seen Samsung‘s upcoming Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra receiving ‘fast charging’ certification from the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). A lot of smartphones claim they have ‘fast charging’ batteries. If the Galaxy S20 line is the first to get USB-IF certification, what does it mean for other devices?

While some phones use USBs for charging, only some chargers and cables – particularly USB-C with USB 3.1 support the USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) standard that is capable of delivering electricity at the speed and quantity needed to achieve ‘fast charging’. They can charge your devices up to 5A at 100W though some new smartphones don’t need that much.

Smartphones require far much less than 100W to charge; most ‘fast charging’ devices or cables top out at 20W or less. Too much can cause excessive heating and could damage your device.

The new USB-PD 3.0 and Programmable Power Supply (PPS) specifications allow devices to dynamically change the charging capacity. It increases the efficiency of the device and allows them to draw more power, thereby making the process ‘faster’.

Samsung’s Galaxy S20 line are the first smartphones to be USB-PD and PPS certified meaning they can handle up to 25MW (and S20 Ultra, 45W) power. Speaking technically, Galaxy Note 10+ was the first device to support 25W and 45W modes. Reportedly, Samsung has already submitted the phone to receive the additional USB-IF Fast Charging certification.

Non-Samsung devices and charging standard also use higher power levels such as QualComm’s ‘Quick Charge 4.0+’ which can pull up to 45W while Lenovo is preparing a super-powerful game phone which will reportedly have a 55W charger.

The majority of ‘fast charging’ phones, such as Pixel 3, can regain several hours of charging in only 30 minutes using the 18W USB-C charger and cable. Even the new iPhone 11 can reach about 50 percent battery life after 30 minutes.

USB-IF Charging certification might be a big deal but your phone can also charge faster without it, assuming you have a good charger and certified USB-C cable.

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