Charge Your Phone In 15 Minutes? Maybe…

cell-phone-batteries_1Batteries, batteries, batteries. I don’t think people realize just how revolutionary the portable battery has been since its inception decades ago. I also don’t think people realize just how little advancement was made in the battery space up until the advent of the modern (post-2007) smartphone. Before then, most batteries all had a very similar charging cycle, and the all had a very similar capacity and ability based upon size.

While the capacity end of things still does rely much on size in what can be done, the charging cycle…ohhh-ho-ho the charging cycle…that is starting to see some serious advancement. Qualcomm has been releasing various “Quick Charge” technologies over the years, with Quick Charge 2.0 offering–generally–a 75% charge of a phone inside of 40 minutes. My own daily driver smartphone, the ASUS Zenfone 2, has Quick Charge 2.0, and it functions really well, giving me a charge that will easily last through the day in less than 45 minutes (provided I use the proper Quick Charge 2.0 charger).

Recently, Qualcomm has announced “Quick Charge 3.0“, and they are guaranteeing (depending on battery size) an 80% charge on your phone within 30 minutes. Basically, a 38% improvement over Quick Charge 2.0. This is impressive, and nothing to sneeze at. Granted, that performance increase in charging also relies on having a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor (at least) to take full advantage of it, so this is a technology that isn’t going to really be a part of every smartphone available. It doesn’t limit its viability, but it also doesn’t necessarily make it a thing for widespread excitement.

Enter…Oppo.

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Oppo is a smartphone manufacturer that has been around for a while, making fairly unique Android phones over the years (and I believe they made the first CyanogenMod-loaded at sale phone ever). And they’re now claiming that they’ve developed a technology, called SuperVOOC–that will charge your phone–ENTIRELY–in 15 minutes. That’s half the time of Quick Charge 3.0, and unlike Quick Charge 3.0’s 80% charge, this is a FULL charge. It’s quite the boast for a couple of reasons…

Oppo says that’s about how much time it’ll take to charge a dead 2,500mAh battery to 100%, and that the technology will work over traditional MicroUSB and USB Type-C cables… 

While Oppo has made it clear that only certain phones they offer will have this technology, the fact that it can work with a MicroUSB or USB-C port is interesting. A lot of smartphone abilities are beginning to open up due to the expansive potential of USB-C, but being able to pull SuperVOOC off with MicroUSB (the connection most smartphones still have today) surprises me. With USB-C so clearly being the coming standard, why even bother developing it for MicroUSB? I don’t have an answer to that, but I’m curious what the thinking is behind it at Oppo. Maybe it’s just to help clear out some of that MicroUSB inventory.

Which leads to the next question: Qualcomm makes Quick Charge technology available to nearly any mobile manufacturer. Will Oppo do the same with its “15-minute charge”? There are no answers on that either.

Another thing to point out is that there are practically no technical details shared about this…so there’s the chance that it’s all bullshit and just some marketing scheme by Oppo (who isn’t the most popular smartphone manufacturer in the world, admittedly). I’d like to think they wouldn’t do that, but it’s possible.

While I really appreciate these faster charge times, frankly though I just wish these companies would make their phones a couple of centimeters thicker. Make those smartphones just a little heavier. Allow smartphones to have massive batteries in them that way they can just run for a couple of days (or much more). I really can’t believe there are people that are complaining about the lack of thinness of their smartphones, even a couple of years ago when they were chunkier. I also can’t believe people are so concerned about the weight of their phones when they generally put a not-so-light case on them for protection (unless you’re going to make some wild claim that the smartphone manufacturers and the smartphone case companies have some kind of deal going on, in which case…pun intended).

I’ve covered all of this before. QHD screen are just stupid on a smartphone, regardless of their size. There’s no way pixels make a difference on one of those screens beyond 1080p. And everything beyond 1080p just makes for a terrible, unnecessary drain on your battery. And again, no one thought that the iPad was just too thick 3 years ago. That’s preposterous. And there’s a lot more nonsense that manufacturers put into mobile devices that serve little purpose other than to make you think there’s a performance enhancement–and thus getting you to buy a new phone when you don’t really need to–but this post has gone on long enough.

Again, I think being able to charge devices quicker is a fantastic and wonderful thing, but I also think it’s concentrating on the wrong prize. Consumers really want longer battery life first, not a faster charge.

I still hope Oppo isn’t bullshitting us, though.

Carpe lucem!

 

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