Fastest charging phone ever. I have a USB-C laptop. What charger and cable should I use?

Mobile Myth: Does Fast Charging Ruin Your Phone Battery?

Fast charging will power up your phone in a hurry, but is it safe to use?

(Credit: Cagkan Sayin / Shutterstock)

Smartphones are modern marvels, but battery life often leaves something to be desired. Enter fast charging, which gives compatible phones a jolt of juice when time is limited.

As phone makers experiment with super fast charging phones, though, you may be concerned about overheating and battery damage. Is that device in your one fast charge away from exploding on your nightstand or during your next flight? In short: probably not, and here’s why.

How Cell Phone Batteries Work

Phone batteries, like most other lithium-ion batteries, have two layers—lithium cobalt oxide and graphite. When lithium ions move from the graphite layer to the lithium cobalt layer through an electrolyte solution, electrons get released. When you charge the battery, the ions move back in the other direction and are stored to be released later, when you power on and use your device.

That release of energy creates the heat you may feel radiating from the back of your phone after a long charging session or heavy use. And that heat can damage the battery in the long term.

Over time, li-ion batteries have become more advanced, smaller, and more efficient. They can handle more charge cycles—going from depleted, to full, and back down again—before they begin to lose their charge capacity. For a visual breakdown, check out the above video from tech YouTube channel Branch Education.

Why Phone Batteries Lose Charge Capacity Over Time

As your smartphone goes through charge cycle after charge cycle, it degrades naturally. One reason is the electrolyte solution within the battery. Over time, the salts in the solution can crystalize, forming solids that block the transmission of ions through the solution. If fewer ions get through, fewer electrons are released, and the battery can’t provide as much power as it did when it was new.

This crystallization can happen more quickly if your phone is exposed to excessive heat, such as funneling a lot of power into the battery at once with a fast charger. However, the same thing can happen just by leaving it in a hot environment, such as a car dashboard on a summer day.

Overcharging can also cause batteries to degrade and become less effective. The inside of a li-ion cell is a delicate balance that can be disrupted if you put more power into the battery than it’s designed to accept, because it removes too many lithium ions from the internal structure of the battery, permanently altering it.

If you take care of the battery (and follow our advice), this degradation will happen more slowly. Still, it happens to all li-ion batteries eventually, no matter how you take care of your device. Modern phones often make information about battery health available in the settings menus.

The research

Our favorite phone chargers with USB-C ports will charge an iPhone at its maximum speed.

The Best USB Phone Charger

No matter what kinds of USB-powered devices you own, we have picks to power them at their fastest charging speeds.

Every iPhone released since 2017 (starting with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X) is capable of charging roughly three times faster than it does with the old 5-watt charger that used to be included in the box—it just needs the right charger and cable to go that fast. That’s because modern iPhones can take advantage of a charging technology called USB Power Delivery (PD), which is enabled by the USB-C standard (though not all USB-C accessories support PD).

Newer USB-C Power Delivery chargers fill up an iPhone battery nearly three times faster than the 5-watt USB-A charger that Apple includes with new iPhones.

Fast-charging an iPhone requires a USB-C PD charger that supports at least 18 watts (20-watt chargers are more common, and will provide similar speeds). Whereas Apple’s old 5 W charger could power an iPhone 13 to about 17% from empty in half an hour and 34% in an hour, a good USB-C PD charger will get the same battery to 52% and 83% over the same intervals. (And even if you have an older iPhone that doesn’t benefit from such speeds, our USB-C charger picks are inexpensive enough that you should choose one of them over a USB-A charger.)

To take advantage of PD charging rates with a compatible iPhone, you also need the right cable—namely, a USB-C–to–Lightning cable.

The Best Lightning Cable for iPhone and iPad

The best Lightning cable isn’t made by Apple. We tested dozens of options to find the best cable for charging an iPhone, iPad, Airpods, and Mac accessories.

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Apple no longer ships a charger with its iPhones, but it does include a USB-C–to–Lightning cable, which is necessary for fast charging. For a while, Apple was the only source for such cables, but the company has since allowed third-party manufacturers to make them, and they’ve come down in price.

I have an iPad Pro. What charger and cable should I use?

You can double your iPad Pro’s charging speeds with a charger capable of 45 watts or higher.

The Best USB-C Laptop and Tablet Chargers

The best replacement for your original charger is the Nekteck 60W USB-C GaN Charger. It’s cheaper and smaller but just as powerful and reliable.

Even though iPad Pros can fast-charge with 45 watt chargers, the USB-C charger that Apple puts in the box supports only 20-watt speeds. The higher wattage makes a huge difference: A 45-watt or faster charger will get the large iPad battery to 33% from empty in half an hour and to 65% in an hour—almost twice as quickly as the in-the-box charger.

The cable that comes with your iPad Pro will work with any fast charger, too.

The Best USB-C Cables and Adapters

While Cable Matters’s USB-C to USB-C Charging Cable is our favorite USB-C option, we also have recommendations for almost every need you could imagine.

Unlike with the iPhone, you don’t need to buy a special cable for the iPad Pro since it uses USB-C input instead of the Lightning connector. But if you need a replacement, our USB-C cable guide has sturdier and cheaper options than the Apple-branded cable.

I have an Android phone with USB-C. What charger and cable should I use?

Most modern Android phones will charge quickly with a good USB-C charger.

The Best USB Phone Charger

No matter what kinds of USB-powered devices you own, we have picks to power them at their fastest charging speeds.

Most Android phones, especially flagship models from bigger companies like Google and Samsung, charge through USB-C ports. Even though Samsung brands its fast-charging capability as Samsung Adaptive Fast Charge, and other companies have promoted the declining Qualcomm Quick Charge standard, we’ve found that you can fast-charge a modern Android phone with any good USB-C Power Delivery charger. When we ran charging tests on the Samsung Galaxy S10, for example, we saw the same battery increase from the bundled charger, Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0 chargers, and an 18-watt USB-C charger: All of them yielded about 41% after half an hour and 80% after an hour.

And a simple USB-C cable is all you need for Rapid charging.

The Best USB-C Cables and Adapters

While Cable Matters’s USB-C to USB-C Charging Cable is our favorite USB-C option, we also have recommendations for almost every need you could imagine.

If you need a replacement USB-C–to–USB-C cable, our guide to cables outlines which one to get based on our research and testing. They’re all relatively inexpensive, and they’ll ensure the fastest charging speeds for your phone.

I have an accessory or an Android phone with Micro-USB. What charger should I use?

In addition to newer fast chargers, we have USB-A charger picks that will work great if your device has a Micro-USB connection.

The Best USB Phone Charger

No matter what kinds of USB-powered devices you own, we have picks to power them at their fastest charging speeds.

Android phones that use Micro-USB are becoming less common, though plenty of other accessories—from Kindle e-readers to wireless headphones—still rely on that connection. Micro-USB charging is generally limited to 12 watts, regardless of whether the other end of the cable is USB-A or USB-C.

Although a USB-C charger might be a more future-proof purchase in case you upgrade away from Micro-USB in the near future, it can’t give you any charging benefits right away. Any USB-A charger from a reputable brand will charge your Micro-USB devices as fast as possible, and we still recommend a few in each of our charging guides. Note that although some phones were using the Quick Charge standard to speed up USB-A–to–Micro-USB charging, that standard is quickly falling out of favor as manufacturers FOCUS on USB-C options.

The Fastest Charging Phones (Wired Charging)

How does 65W wired charging perform in the real-world? Very freaking fast. With 65W wired charging, you’d be able to charge a 4000mAh battery from dead to 100% in less than 30 minutes. With Apple’s 18W charging standard, the same process would take around two hours…

Why are these Chinese brands beating Apple and Samsung when it comes to charging speeds? Simple: they’re investing in it. BBK, the company that owns OnePlus, RealMe, and OPPO, has been drilling-down on charging speeds – both wired and wireless – for a good couple of years now.

During this time, the company has come up with a range of novel solutions. The most notable of which is its Super VOOC, SuperDart, and Warp Charge which is available on OPPO, RealMe, and OnePlus phones respectively.

With any of these phones, you’re looking at a minimum of 30W wired charging and a top end of 65W.

5W Wired Charging 65W Wireless Charging is COMING…

But it doesn’t stop there; OPPO has just unveiled its new charging tech that will bring 125W wired charging and 65W wireless charging.

To put that truly insane amount of power into context, with 125W wired charging you could charge a 4000mAh battery from zero to fifty percent inside five minutes.

“The accelerated 5G rollout worldwide, as well as the increasing diversification of high-power-consumption applications including gaming and video viewing, represent new challenges for the battery life of mobile phones and user charging experience,” said Jeff Zhang, Chief Charging Technology Scientist at OPPO.

He added: “OPPO has been leading the development of fast charging ever since VOOC flash charge was launched in 2014. Now, we are committed to continuing to build on our expertise and advantages in the field of high power, wireless and ultra-small charging technologies in order to provide users with a safe, efficient and convenient ultra-fast charging experience.”

When this standard is released, it will be the fastest charging solution on the planet. Bar none. With wireless charging, RealMe and OPPO are now offering faster wireless charging speeds than Apple and Samsung’s wired charging speeds.

Put in that context, it really does make you wonder how long before Apple and Samsung join the fray properly with solutions of their own…

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The Fastest Wireless Charging Phones

We’ve talked about wired charging, looked at the phones that offer the best speeds, now it’s time to look at wireless charging – AKA the future of how we’ll all one day charge our phones.

If Apple releases a portless iPhone in 2021, you can expect Android phone brands to follow suit and this could mean, by 2023, the charging port has gone the way of the headphone jack…

As you can see, once again, it’s a pretty similar story to the wired charging speeds. Apple and Samsung and Google’s speeds tend to suck, while brands like OnePlus, RealMe, and OPPO are killing it with respect to wireless charging speeds.

In fact, OnePlus, RealMe, and OPPO are so good at wireless charging, you could technically charge one of their phones faster than you could an iPhone on a wired charge.

I know I made this point earlier, but it deserves to be made again because Apple and Google, and Samsung to an extent, have really dropped the ball here.

Let’s hope the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 make amends for this. I’d also like to see Samsung at least matching OnePlus with respect to wireless charging speeds, especially as wireless charging is going to become way more prevalent in the next couple of years.

Moral of the story? If you want a phone that charges INSANELY fast, both wired and wirelessly, you should probably think about picking up the OPPO Find X2 Pro or the RealMe X50 Pro – you wouldn’t regret it either; these two phones match nearly all the top flagships from Samsung and Huawei with respect to design, specs, camera, and overall performance…

And be sure to check out our iPhone 11 Wireless Charging Tips and Tricks!

Xiaomi 13 Pro Has the Fastest Battery Charger I’ve Ever Used

Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade’s worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia’s financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.

Xiaomi has just launched the new Xiaomi 13 flagship lineup that’s poised to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy S23 series. The highest-end phone of the two-member series is the Xiaomi 13 Pro. It boasts headline features such as a sizeable 1-inch camera sensor and 120-watt fast charger, which genuinely stunned me by fully replenishing my dead battery within 20 minutes.

Apart from the headline features, there’s a 6.73-inch OLED display with a fast refresh rate, an ultracrisp screen, a solid camera module complete with a telephoto lens and a cutting-edge processor in the form of the Snapdragon 8 Gen Plus 2 chipset. There’s also a large battery backed up by fast charging options, including wireless, reverse and that clutch 120-watt wired charger.

I spent a day testing the Xiaomi 13 Pro, which delivers a solid Android experience packed in a sleek device with premium build quality. I’ve always been a fan of fast charging for practical reasons, and once again Xiaomi has delivered the goods with the 13 Pro. The display also stood out to me for its responsiveness and sheer clarity, and sharpness when I was reading. I’m nearsighted and viewing the screen felt easier on my often-strained eyes.

This isn’t a revolutionary upgrade from the Xiaomi 12 Pro, but more of a fine-tuning. And Xiaomi seems to have ticked all the key boxes. This year Xiaomi flagships finally secured an official IP rating, for example. The Xiaomi 13 Pro has an IP 68 rating, which means it’s essentially dust- and waterproof. This puts it on par with Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Plus.

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is slated for a global release. However, there’s no current plan for a US rollout. At the time of this writing, there was no pricing information available.

Xiaomi 13 Pro has a trio of 50-megapixel cameras

The Xiaomi 13 Pro has three 50-megapixel cameras on its rear, co-developed with Leica. This is the first time Xiaomi has partnered with Leica for an international flagship. The device also comes with two photographic styles called Leica Authentic and Leica Vibrant, though I gravitated towards the former since I wanted to see images in their rawest form.

The primary camera uses the same 1-inch-type Sony IMX989 sensor found in the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, which means it’s among the largest image sensors found on any phone. It’s also the same sensor found in Sony’s 450,200 point-and-shoot camera, the RX100 VII, and it means the Xiaomi 12S Ultra houses the largest image sensor on any phone.

However, a word of caution: The phone’s history-making camera hardware doesn’t guarantee best-in-class photos. As with any other phone, the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s software will play a crucial role in determining the image quality of the final photo, though Xiaomi has a solid track record.

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I was impressed with the crisp, detail-rich photos this camera took, especially in environments with ample light. The main sensor is accompanied by a 50-megapixel telephoto camera complete with an upgraded 3.2x optical zoom and a 50-megapixel ultra-wide with support for macro photography. Take a look at the images taken in all sorts of lighting environments below.

Xiaomi 13 Pro leads the charge

It’s clear from the specs sheet Xiaomi focused on giving customers options when it comes to charging. There’s a 120-watt charger in the box, which blew me away, even though Xiaomi has always been one of the industry leaders with its fast-charging technology. The charger lived up to the promises and charged the 4,820-mAh battery within just 20 minutes.

In addition to this spectacularly fast-charging brick, the 13 Pro offers 50-watt wireless charging support and 10 watts of reverse wireless charging. Xiaomi says not to worry about battery longevity, indicating that its Xiaomi Surge battery management and charging chipsets will offer protection in that area. The company didn’t provide details on how that technology works, however.

Xiaomi 13 Pro’s display and design

The Xiaomi 13 Pro has 3,200×1,440 resolution across a 6.73-inch screen, making for an impressive 522-ppi pixel density. It sounds good on paper, but I was genuinely impressed by how clearly the text and images were displayed. I often find my eyes strained due to using screens and reading a lot, but I somehow found it easier to read text on this display thanks to that flagship-worthy resolution, which put less strain on my eyes. The display also has a 120Hz refresh rate, making for smooth and seamless navigation between apps and when I scrolled my social media feeds.

For more details on the Xiaomi 13 Pro, take a look at the specs chart below. We’ve also compared its specs with perhaps its biggest Android rival, the Galaxy S23 Plus.

fastest, charging, phone, ever, usb-c, laptop

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