Android fast charging is leaving iPhones in the dust

Upcoming phones like the OnePlus 10 Pro might come with 125W fast charging. The iPhone’s wimpy 27W fast charging is looking dated in comparison.

OnePlus 10 Pro leaked renders
Onleaks x ZoutonUS

Forget massive camera bumps with multi-lens camera arrays and high refresh-rate displays. The phone feature we should all be talking about is fast charging. Specifically, fast charging over 100W.

While Android phones have been pushing the limits of fast charging for years — 45W to 65W charging is commonplace — a recent tweet from a tech leaker, Mukul Sharma, suggests several phone makers are planning to release devices with blistering fast 125W charging.

The technology would make it possible to completely charge phones in under an hour. Last year, Oppo claimed it could fully charge a 4,000 mAh battery in 20 minutes with 125W fast-charging.

So, so fast — According to the leaker, the phones bringing 125W+ fast-charging to the masses are the OnePlus 10 Pro, Realme GT 2 Pro, Oppo N series, and Reno 8 Pro. Notice anything in common? They’re all brands under Chinese conglomerate BBK Electronics.

For now, this kind of ultra-fast charging will likely remain a feature for the very high-end Android phones such as the upcoming OnePlus 10 Pro. But, as always, it could end up trickling down to mid-tier handsets down the line.

The OnePlus 10 Pro is rumored to have 125W fast-charging, among other flagship features. Onleaks x ZoutonUS

125W fast charging isn’t even the fastest. A leak on Weibo suggests a phone with 150W fast charging is “coming soon.” And Xiaomi might actually bring 200W fast charging to a phone in the future.

The one-upmanship of Android phone makers is a good thing for Android users, but iPhone users are still stuck in the stone age with a meager 27W fast charging.

While it was recently found that the iPhone 13 Pro Max could reach fast charging speeds of 27W when using a 30W fast-charging adapter, the slight uptick still falls way short of comparable flagship Android phones.

Many Android phones that tout these ridiculously fast charging speeds also have one big advantage: the power adapter is included. If Apple were ever to make an iPhone with fast charging speeds that compete with these quick Android phones, you can be sure it’ll be an extra cost.

Battery health concerns — For comparison’s sake, the iPhone 13 Pro Max takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to fully charge, while the OnePlus 9 can go from 0 to 100 percent in about 29 minutes. The OnePlus 9 runs circles around Apple’s latest and greatest and it’s only charging at 65W. The iPhone just can’t stack up, and part of the reason is Apple’s overly cautious approach to charging, which is done in stages.

When using a fast charger, the iPhone fast charges up to a point before slowing down twice. It’s a move that protects the battery in the long term, with the trade-off being fast charging that’s only partly fast. With Xiaomi admitting that its 200W fast-charging technology would degrade the battery to 80 percent capacity after 800 charge cycles, it’s definitely a concern. Other phones with 125W fast-charging have about the same battery degradation, too. But 125W, 150W, and 200W fast-charging are envelope-pushing outliers. Not wanting to stress the battery to 125W fast charging or higher is understandable, but why not 40W or 60W? Or why not include a type of boost mode that lets the user bypass the charging stages to speed things along?

Of course, there are a million reasons why Apple doesn’t include features others have. One: it usually takes a wait-and-see approach. Two: pushing fast charging to the extreme limits on hundreds of millions of iPhones would be catastrophic if even a few of them exploded. It’d be Samsung Galaxy Note 7 bad. So, of course, Apple is playing it safe with battery charging speeds. And three: iPhones have enough differentiation (iOS and iMessage and FaceTime, etc.) that Apple doesn’t need to compete with faster charging even if people want it.

Fast-charging advantage — If you want the fastest battery charging technology in your phone, you’re gonna have to go with Android. The brands under BBK Electronics are really pushing the limits with charging speeds. iPhone eats dust here. How much does that matter to you, though?