How Charging is Changing for the Future
As we move forward, our portable devices keep becoming more powerful. A lot more powerful. The smartphone is a great example of that, and that’s because in recent years smartphones have changed a lot. They’re now using far more powerful processors, and every year there’s always a new, faster processor. The camera quality on phones is getting absurdly good, and it’s gotten to the point where smartphones are using three to even four cameras.
In addition to the new processors, and high-quality cameras, the display for phones are getting more standardized. By “standardized” we mean that most of them are changing over to using OLED screens, while in the past, most displays used LCDs. Then there’s the transition to 5G from 4G. In the MKBHD’s newest video at the time of writing this article, he mentioned how fast 5G is. However, the one drawback is that it’s quite hard on the battery.
With all these more powerful specs that our portable devices are using, the battery power for them is taking a lot of the heat and are burning out faster. New battery tech is a great solution, but the use of new battery such as graphene batteries is a long way off. The reason for that is because it has to be tested for a long time to ensure that this new type of battery is stable to use for the public. Two main solutions are moving forward that brands that are implementing in their products.
The first new thing that is progressively being used is the use of larger batteries. A few years back, most phones had either 1,000mAh or 2,000mAh batteries. Now some phones have 3,000mAh or even up to 5,000mAh batteries. The use of larger batteries does cause a slight inconvenience though and that would be the fact that it takes longer to charge them.
One of the most used fast charging technologies is known as Quick Charge. A fast charging technology that is known to be used with most Android smartphones. As useful as Quick Charge is, as it’s also used with many third-party chargers on the market, such as power banks, car chargers, and wall chargers, it’s not a universal type of charging tech. Meaning that you can’t use Quick Charge to fast charge an iPhones as the iPhone does not use a Qualcomm processor, the same is true for laptops, too.
That is why USB-C Power Delivery charging is changing the way that we charge or will charge our devices in the future. The first thing to know is that USB-C is where all this universal charging starts, as it’s a new standard port that is being used with not only Android smartphones, but it’s also used with tablets and laptops. The new iPad that was released in 2018 went from using a Lightning port to using USB-C port. Apple let go of their own port to use a standard port that nearly everyone has access to. The same goes for their use of a USB-C port for the MacBook.
The main reason that USB-C ports can be used on these types of larger devices is because of Power Delivery, which is the fast charging tech that is compatible with the USB-C standard. The fast charging tech can supply a power amount of 18W to 100W of charging power.
For smartphones that are Power Delivery compatible, 18W of PD charging is the fast charging range. Also, if you didn’t know, the current iPhone models are PD compatible and can be fast-charged with a PD charger when you use a Lightning to Type-C cable. The only shameful thing about Apple is that they don’t exactly make it known that it’s capable of fast charging, and the iPhone still comes with a slow charger.
The best part of USB-C PD charging is that you can use the same charger to charge a different line of devices. For example, if you have a USB-C compatible tablet and laptop, and you also have a Power Delivery compatible smartphone, then you can potentially use the same PD charger to charge all of them. Potentially, meaning that you should use a sufficiently powerful enough charger to charge your laptop, as an 18W PD charger likely won’t charge a PD compatible laptop or at least not very fast.
Instead, you would want to opt for a 45W to 60W PD charger that would be able to charge your laptop down to your smartphone.
Another one of the reasons that PD can be so helpful is because of the use of GaN chips and Dynamic charging.
GaN is just short for Gallium Nitride. The use of a Gallium Nitride chip can shrink the form factor of a charger and that’s because the chip can replace silicone components that would normally take up a lot of space in a regular charger. With the use of GaN, it enables just as much power of regular PD chargers but the form factor of the charger will be small enough to fit into your pocket.
A great example of the use of GaN is the above RAVPower charger. The above RAVPower wall charger uses a single USB-C Power Delivery port with a 61W charging speed. That’s a lot of power that blankets over plenty of devices. Yet, this charger has dimensions of 1.2 x 1.9 inches.
One other factor to take into account is the use of Dynamic charging. Dynamic charging enables a port to deliver more power if only one device is charging. While two devices are charging, the two USB-C Power Delivery ports can split the full charging power of the charger.