The hidden truths of smartphone charging

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When it comes to powering up our beloved mobile devices, we’re being bamboozled more than we’d like to think. For those of us investing in high-end phones with fast charging capabilities, the quest for rapid power often turns into an unexpected expense and a frustrating journey.

The powerless plight of premium phone owners

Many tech enthusiasts have fallen prey to a peculiar paradox. We invest hundreds, sometimes even thousands, in premium phones from top brands like Apple, Samsung, and Google. Yet, when we eagerly unbox our new gadget, there’s no charger in sight. The audacity!

Despite the fact that these advanced phones are capable of lightning-fast charging, we’re left powerless – quite literally. To make matters worse, unlocking these fast charging capabilities requires shelling out additional cash for a special charger.

Here’s where a bit of research can go a long way. The fast charging capacity of your phone is determined by the wattage of the charger. For instance, the iPhone 13 Pro Max supports fast charging with up to 27W, whereas Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra can go up to a whopping 45W. Google’s Pixel 6 Pro, on the other hand, maxes out at 30W.

To match these needs, branded fast chargers don’t come cheap. Apple’s 30W USB-C Power Adapter will set you back $69, while Samsung’s Super Fast Charging 45W USB-C Wall Charger costs around $79. Google’s 30W USB-C Charger is comparatively less expensive, priced at $59.

Note: To ensure an optimal charging experience, it’s important to use genuine chargers from trusted brands.

A fast charger can power up your phone significantly faster than a regular charger. For instance, a compatible fast charger can take your iPhone 13 Pro Max from 0% to 50% in about 30 minutes, while a regular 5W charger might take 2-3 hours to achieve the same level.

So, the next time you’re buying a phone, remember to factor in the cost of a compatible fast charger if it’s not included in the box. It’s an extra cost, but one that will let you make the most of your phone’s capabilities.

Unravelling the charging cable conundrum

As we’re left to rely on the spare chargers around our homes, the issue often comes down to finding or replacing a USB-C cable. But take note: not all USB-C cables are created equal. Some, like Thunderbolt cables, are designed to carry high-speed video signals. They’re typically more expensive and, while they certainly can charge your device, their added video capabilities are unnecessary and pricey overkill for the average user just looking for a power boost.

A typical USB-C cable may cost you around $15 to $20, whereas a Thunderbolt-compatible USB-C cable might set you back by $50 or more.

Similarly, buying the cheapest no-name charger or cable you find on Amazon isn’t a smart move either. Not only are you risking the life of your pricey phone, but you’re also flirting with the possibility of fire or electric shock. Always look for certified and tested chargers, and remember: safety first!

Welcome to the future of smartphone charging

Fear not, tech enthusiasts, there’s good news on the horizon! The latest Gallium-based chargers are a game-changer. Not only are they compact and efficient, but they also produce less heat, protecting both your device and your charger. Trusted brands like Belkin, Cygnett, and Anker have jumped onto the Gallium charger wagon. 

For instance, Belkin’s BOOST↑CHARGE USB-C GaN charger offers fast-charging at 60W in a remarkably compact size, priced at $70. Cygnett’s 65W USB-C GaN Charger provides impressive wattage with dual ports, allowing you to charge more than one device at a time, and will cost you around $80. And Anker’s 30W PowerPort Atom III charger, utilising GaN tech, is an affordable powerhouse at just $49.

Also, for those of us living life on the go, Portable Power Stations have emerged as a boon. The Bluetti AC50S, retailing for around $500, offers a hefty 500Wh capacity and a wide range of output options. For those requiring even more power, the ECOFLOW River Pro, priced at $900, boasts a 720Wh capacity and multiple charging ports. And let’s not forget NRGVault’s versatile range of portable power stations, starting from $300 for the 240Wh model, providing an affordable option without skimping on performance.

In the end, the key to an optimal charging experience lies in being an informed consumer. It’s high time we put the power back in our own hands!

Smartphone charging troubleshooting tips

Is your phone refusing to juice up, or draining faster than Usain Bolt running the 100m? Here are some common culprits and their solutions:

  • Faulty Battery: Both iPhone and Android now provide battery health indicators. On iPhone, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health. You’ll see your maximum capacity and a note on performance capability. For Android, it varies by device, but generally, you can find it in Settings > Battery > Battery Health, or use an app like AccuBattery to get detailed information.
  • Fast Battery Drain: This could be a software issue. Check for updates or any apps that might be consuming more power than they should. On an iPhone, go to Settings > Battery and look under the ‘Battery Usage By App’ section. You can see the percentage of battery each app has used in the last 24 hours or the last 10 days. For Android, navigate to Settings > Battery > Battery Usage. Here, you’ll find a list of apps and the amount of battery each has used since your last full charge. If an app is using significantly more power than it should, especially if it’s not one you’ve been using, consider updating the app or uninstalling and reinstalling it. 
  • Wrong Charger: Using a charger with incorrect wattage can result in slow or no charging at all. The wattage rating of a charger can typically be found printed on the charger itself. Check this against the fast charging capacity of your phone.
  • Dirty Charge Slot: Regularly clean your charging port with a brush or canned air. Avoid metal objects, though, as they can cause damage.
  • Water Damage: Some phones will notify you if they’ve taken an unwanted dip. Dry them out thoroughly before attempting to charge.
  • Faulty or Wrong Cable: Try swapping out the cable to see if that’s the issue.

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