While a myriad of technological advancements has made our mobile phones more powerful, one element has remained fairly disappointing – battery life.
Many of the popular smartphones available today can barely make it through a day with moderate to high usage.
With smartphones becoming more capable devices for productivity and entertainment, however, consumers want longer-lasting power.
This has led to manufacturers squeezing as much battery into the package as possible.
Batteries have also had to increase in size to keep up with increased workload demands from faster processors, better GPUs, and innovations in AI.
As an example, Samsung’s popular Galaxy S4 from 2013 only had a 2,600mAh battery, while its first 2021 flagship – the Galaxy S21 – boasts a 4,000mAh pack.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with an even heftier 5,000mAh unit.
While the increased battery capacities may be good news for battery life, they introduce a new challenge – longer charging times.
Fortunately, charging technologies have also improved to keep up with growing battery sizes.
While the Galaxy S4’s 2,400mAh battery took around two hours to charge to full, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s battery can be filled up in just over an hour.
That is half the charging time on a battery that is more than twice as large.
So while battery sizes are certainly one attribute consumers will look at, those seeking a smartphone that can quickly charge up while they take a shower or have breakfast will have to consider charging speeds as well.
Although wireless charging is useful and has been improved in recent years, wired charging is still the fastest way to fill up your battery.
Dominated by China
Chinese manufacturers appear to have an advantage in this category, with companies like Xiaomi, Realme, Oppo, OnePlus and Huawei dominating.
The fastest wired charging standard for a smartphone that is available commercially is Xiaomi’s 120W fast charging.
To put this into perspective, Apple’s most recent flagship – the highly popular iPhone 12 – offers only 20W charging.
According to tests performed by Chinese tech news site Gizchina, 120W charging allows the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra’s 4,500mAh battery to go from zero to 100% in 21 minutes.
This makes it the only smartphone on the market that can fully charge in less than half an hour.
Another Chinese heavyweight – Huawei – currently offers up to 66W fast charging on its Mate 40 Pro smartphone, which can charge up in less than 50 minutes.
Oppo and OnePlus also boast up to 65W fast charging, while Realme has teased a 125W charger to be launched soon.
The best of the best
The table below shows a comparison of the time it takes to fill up the top 15 fastest-charging smartphones from 2020, according to Gizchina’s tests.
The smartphones shown in bold were available for purchase in South Africa by the time of publication – either through official retail channels or specialist importers.
|Model||Battery size||Wired charging speed||Time to full charge|
|Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra||4,500mAh||120W||21 minutes|
|Realme X50 Pro||4,200mAh||65W||33 minutes|
|Oppo Find X2 Pro||4,260mAh||65W||43 minutes|
|Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro||4,500mAh||50W||46 minutes|
|Huawei Mate 40 Pro||4,400mAh||66W||49 minutes|
|Realme X3 Superzoom||4,200mAh||30W||56 minutes|
|OnePlus Nord||4,115mAh||30W||57 minutes|
|OnePlus 8 Pro||4,300mAh||30W||60 minutes|
|OnePlus 8||4,300mAh||30W||63 minutes|
|Poco X NFC||5,160 mAh||33W||63 minutes|
|Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra||5,000 mAh||45W||64 minutes|
|Poco F2 Pro||4,700mAh||33W||64 minutes|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 20||4,300mAh||25W||70 minutes|
|Samsung Galaxy S20||4,000mAh||25W||71 minutes|
|Huawei P40 Pro||4,200mAh||40W||74 minutes|
Unfortunately, the majority of smartphones that support these fast-charging standards are not available in South Africa.
Below are images and pricing for each of the models available in South Africa.