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The fastest way to charge your phone without damaging the battery


– One thing I’ve noticed,
as a reviewer at the Verge, is the problem surrounding
smartphone batteries. Regardless of which NexGen
battery technology you’re using, lithium ion batteries tend to just die during the day anyway. If science can’t come up with
better battery technology, it can at least change how
quickly we charge our batteries. USB-C for Android phones, and the lightning cable for iPhones, are now capable of delivering
hours of battery life with minutes of charging. It makes life easier if
you’re running to meetings and don’t wanna carry
around battery packs. But, just how fast can
we charge our phones? Not just presently, but how
fast can fast charging get in the future? (jazzy music) So, before we get into fast charging, let’s take a refresher course. Volts, amps, and watts. Let’s look at it like this. Volts represent the amount
of electricity available in your wall outlet. The current, or amperage, is controlled using your charging brick, and is the rate at which
the electricity travels. And finally, the watts are
the total electrical power that gets into your phone. This means that watts are the
products of volts and amps. Volts times amps equals watts. In order to charge our battery, we can increase the volts,
and charge it faster. If we increase the amperage, we could also have charged
the battery faster. And if we increased both, we can drastically increase the power going into the battery. The thing you need to remember about any energy transfer, is resistance, the byproduct of which is heat. Excessive heat from batteries, as we know, is really, really bad. (gasping) Historically, most USB chargers
range from five to 12 watts. But they weren’t able to
charge fast, and stay cool. Today, USB-C has come a long way. It supports up to 100 watts, charging time set by the manufacturers, and supports a wide variety of devices. To make sure that the
battery doesn’t overheat, OEMs like Qualcomm and Apple, install devices called charge controllers. They regulate electricity
going into the device, and make sure that they don’t
over-volt or over-charge, and thus, keep the battery safe and cool. For example, if I use
a 100-watt power brick to charge my MacBook Pro, it’ll use the full 100 watts. That’s what it’s supposed to do. But then, if I plug that
same charger into my phone, the charge controller will transfer the most power it can use
before it damages the battery, around 29 watts, or so. All fast charging standards,
like One Plus’ Dash Charge, Apple’s Fast Charge, or
Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, basically do the same thing. They charge your battery, safely, quickly, and they make sure that
it doesn’t overheat while it’s doing so. Okay, so what’s fast charging
performance like nowadays? Well, the fastest way
to charge your phone is with the cables out of the box. Android phones like Galaxies,
Pixels, One Plus devices, or LG phones, should come
with fast charger setups. But with Apple, you’ll need to buy a USB power delivery brick, and USB-C to lightning cable. That will allow you to charge an iPhone X from zero to 50% in 30 minutes. That’s pretty good. But what sort of performance
improvement are we gonna see in the next couple of years? Unfortunately, not much. There is one concept that could allow us to charge our phones
in a matter of seconds. And it’s called a supercapacitor. Electrons make an electrical field, which allows them to travel much faster. The problem is though, again, overheating. But, that’s all theoretical,
back to reality. Qualcomm is working on the
next fast charging tech, called Quick Charge 4+. It’s actually available on
a couple phones right now, but not many. Quick Charge 4+ aims to not
only regulate heat better, from the conductors, but also
charge the phone even faster. In fact, Qualcomm designed
a reference smartphone, which can charge from zero
to 50% in just 15 minutes, which is pretty fast. Your next flagship smartphone
is probably gonna be using Quick Charge 4+, and get closer to those numbers. And while those numbers aren’t instant, well, at least your phone won’t blow up. Thanks for watching. And remember not to use
off-brand or cheap cables, for fast charging, because they can really mess
up your phone and your battery. And if you wanna hear
more about batteries, head on over to Verge Science.

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