Which Android phones charge the fastest?

by: Gary SimsDecember 14, 2015
1.1K

Update: After speaking directly with Oppo it seems that the USB dongle we were using to measure the current and voltage was interfering with the VOOC quick charger system, as it uses a special 7-pin cable and the charging will only work when using that cable directly connected to the charger. So we re-ran the tests and updated the article.

There is no getting away from it (not yet), every mobile device needs to be charged up. That is because they all have batteries, rechargeable batteries that give us a certain number of hours of use and then these useful battery cells needs to be replenished. It is something you probably do every day, almost unconsciously. You plug in your phone and let it charge, while you get on with other things. So since it is something that we all do daily, it would be good to know which phones charge the quickest!

The Tests

Before we dive into the results of our testing, let’s have a quick look a the charging cycle for Li-ion batteries and see how we tested the charging of each phone. The charging cycle for a smartphone battery is performed in two stages. This is true for standard wired charging, for quick charging and for wireless charging. During the first stage a constant current is applied to the battery. Then when the battery is around 70% to 80% full (depending on the exact battery design) the current will be lowered but the voltage will remain the same. This means that the phone will always charge faster from 0% to 80% and then slower for the last 20%.

Wireless-chargers-testingSee also: Best wireless chargers – how they work and perform15

As well as measuring the total charge time, I also measure the current and voltage levels drawn by the phone from the charger. To do this I used an inline USB  volt and amp meter (pictured below). At regular intervals I noted down the time, the battery level, the voltage reading and the current level.

wireless-chargers-usb-amp-volt-measurement

qualcomm-quick-chargeSee also: Quick Charge 3.0 explained: what you need to know (Update: video added)29

The Phones

For a our testing we picked a variety of phones with the aim of covering some of the top flagship devices of 2015, plus some which offer various quick charging technologies. The list in alphabetical order is:

And here is a graph of the battery sizes in mAh:

which-phone-charges-fastest-sizes-light-aa

The Oppo R5 has the smallest battery, while the Moto X Force has the largest. It is also worth noting that the median battery size is 3000 mAh as found in the Note 5, the LG G4 and the Moto X Style, to name a few.

Power Curves

So batteries provide electrical power to our smartphones and to replenish those batteries they need to be re-charged, power needs to be put back into storage. To do that you connect your phone to a charger, normally the one that came with the phone. The charger has two characteristics which define how much power it can provide to the battery, the output voltage and the output current. The level of electrical power being pushed into the battery is measured in watts, and watts is calculated by multiplying the volts and the current.

To charge the phone quicker you need more watts, more watts means either more voltage, more current, or more of both. A standard USB 2.0 port provides 5V at 0.5A, so that is 2.5 watts. A modern fast charger is rated at 5V and 2A, which is 10 watts. A quick charge system, like Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 (QC 2.0), is rated at 9V or 12V and at 2A or 3A. Typically a QC 2.0 phone will charge at 9V and 1.5A, which is 13.5 watts, but there are those which go as high as 9V at 2.2A, almost 20 watts. Qualcomm has also announced Quick Charge 3.0.

For those interested in the technical bits, it is interesting to see how the phone charge. Here is a graph of the watts and battery level over time for the Huawei Mate S:

which-phone-charges-fastest-huawei-mate-s-aa

As you can see the battery is charged at 7.5 watts (5.1V, 1.46A) for over 90 minutes, then when the battery gets to around 80% full the watts decrease slowly until the battery reaches 100%. What is also interesting is that the battery is charged to 80% in about 65% of the total charge time, but to bring the battery up from 80% to 100%, takes another 45 minutes. This is of course because the wattage is lessening over time as the battery reaches 100%.

For phones which support Quick Charge 2.0 (or a variation of it) the initial wattage being pumped into the battery is much higher as the voltage used is around 9V and not 5V. Here is the charging graph for the HTC One (M9):

which-phone-charges-fastest-htc-one-m9-aa

As you can see the initial power level is 12 watts, 4.5 watts more than the Mate S. This level is maintained for 40 minutes when it then drops slightly to 10 watts until the phone reaches 70%, then the power drops steadily as the battery level approaches 100%.

The phone with the most interesting charging cycle is the Moto X Force. It starts charging with 8.97V at 2.23A, which is 20 watts:

which-phone-charges-fastest-moto-x-force-aa

Once the battery reaches around 65% the current level starts to drop, however even at its lowest level, it is still consuming over 5 watts. The result, as we will see in a moment, is a very fast charge time.

Here are some graphs for a few of the other phones in our test group:

Update: New graphs added showing the real charging times of the Oppo R5 and Oppo R7 when using VOOC.

Fastest

So which phone charges the fastest? Is it a phone with a small battery like the Oppo R5 or the Huawei Mate S? Or is it a phone that pumps the most watts into the battery? Let’s see:

Update: New charging times for Oppo R5 and R7: The Oppo R5 charges in 75 minutes and the R7 in 77 minutes.

which-phone-charges-the-fastest-light-rev2a-aa

 

 

So, the top five fastest charging phones are the Moto X Force, the Oppo R5, the Oppo R7, the Moto X Style and the LG V10. The slowest three are the Huawei Mate S, the Sony Xperia Z5 and the BlackBerry Priv.

The Moto X Force is really a surprise winner in that it has the biggest battery, so you might have thought that it would take the longest to charge, but because it uses at to 20 watts of power during the initial stages of the charge cycle, it is able to beat all the other devices including those using QC 2.0 at 9V and 1.5A, and those with smaller batteries.

Since we know the battery sizes and we know how long it takes to charge it phone, we can also see which phone increases the battery level the most in one minute:

Update: New data for Oppo R5 and R7.

which-phone-charges-fastest-capacity-per-min-light-rev2-aa

The Moto X Force is again the winner, followed by the Moto X Style and the LG V10, however further down the list we can see some changes. For example, the BlackBerry Priv takes the longest to charge its battery, in actual minutes, however it is charging faster than the Sony Xperia Z5 and the Huawei Mate S.

As for the Oppo R5, Oppo has a quick charging system called VOOC which is meant to operate at 5V and 4A (i.e. 20 watts). However we couldn’t get the R5 to use those levels in our testing, even when using a VOOC charger. And that is a shame, as it would have been interesting to see the charge time of the 2000 mAh battery of the R5, if it was charged at 20 watts!

Wrap-up

So the clear winner of is the Moto X Force. It has a big battery and a powerful charging cycle. It really is ahead of the field. Oppo does well with its VOOC fast charging system, however the total charge times for the R5 and R7 are also lower because of the smaller battery sizes. In terms of charging rate the Moto X Style performs well and comes in second to the Moto X Force.

LG makes a good showing with all three of its phones in our group appearing in the top 8, including the LG G3. The Galaxy Note 5 also does well taking 4th place in terms of charging rate. Unfortunately the two Sony phones don’t do that well and neither does the BlackBerry.

Now we know how long these phones take to charge, but how long can the battery last? We have tested six of the best flagship devices for our Best of Android 2015 series, so why not head over to this post to see the results!

So, what do you think, does the charging time of a phone altering your buying decision? Is it an important factor for you? Please let me know in the comments below.

  • James A Parr

    “…battery that last the longest” short cut…error 404

  • Mad Llama

    I’m surprised the highest the Nexus 6P gets to is about 8 watts. That’s only 1.6 amps, far from the 3 the usb-c rapid charger is supposed to be capable of.

    • BillyTheRatKing

      I believe, due to the use of a USB meter that only has Type-A ports, that the Nexus 6P is limited to charging at 1.5A due to the USB Type-C specification. With a Type-C to Type-C cable and charger it should charge at ~3A.

      • PapaWago

        Agreed, I don’t have a 6P (yet), but reviews I’ve read suggest it charges to 100% in about 1hr 37mins which puts it somewhere between the V10 and the Note 5

        • Ryan Cavitt

          Mine charges from near dead (1-5%) to full in about 90 minutes.

        • Leo

          Yes, I can confirm it charges (using the provided USB-C charger) from 0 to 100 in 90-10 minutes. When I used any other fast chargers (using the USB-A to USB-C adapter cable), I did see charging times as reported in the article. I think the issue is that the device they use to measure voltage & current is not yet available with USB-C connections. Regardless, this puts to question the knowledge of the author of the article.

  • BillyTheRatKing

    I believe the use of the in-line USB meter (which only has Type-A ports) would cause the Nexus 6P to be capped at 1.5A (~7.5W) due to the official USB Type-A to Type-C cable specification. Whereas a Type-C to Type-C connection will allow 3A (~15W), which would put it close to the Moto phones.

    • Mike Dye

      Well you beat me to it as I was going to point out the exact same thing.

    • Leo

      Exactly!

  • Kalpesh Kulkarni

    the weirdest one is of LG G4

    • Mohd Danial

      the lg g3 charging graph is much more smoother the the g4. weird.

  • seems the Priv sucks…such a nice phone too, awkward that the battery management has been screwed up this bad

  • Pablo Pinazo

    If you used excel to do the graphics you must use the Dispersion type for them. I think you used Lines type because the Time axis is not well done. For example, you can see in the Zenfone 2 graphic there is the same space for 00:04-00:24 (20min) and for 01:09-01:16 (7min).

  • TJ

    “Which SELECT Android phones charge the fastest? Click bait bullshit.

    • lamenting

      You really thought you’d see a list of every Android phone in this comparison before you clicked?

      • TJ

        Obviously not every device. Just the ones that support quick charging.

        • momo

          which is literally every single new android phone dumbass

          • TJ

            Where does it say new, asshole? Think before you speak.

          • momo

            Fine, go back one year and still most phones have quick charge. Every phone that has a snapdragon 801 or higher supports quick charge 2.0. Snapdragon 801 devices appeared early 2014. So which phones do you want the authors to review. You want them to test phones from 2 or more years ago? I was actually very surprised that they included phones from last year for this test. They covered the known current android flagships and then some, so I really don’t understand what you’re trying to get at. So my dumbass remark still applies…dumbass

          • swtrainer

            Well, you’re certainly the expert that should be pointing out everyone else’s shortcomings. Let it be known that I value TJ’s input more than I value yours. Congratulations, you were the first to show your stupidity on these posts.

    • McDowski

      The selection is absolutely fine.

      The problem is with the use of the amp meter. In the case of the Nexus 6P, and probably the Oppo R5, it’s preventing the phones from utilizing the full charge speed of the adapter.

  • KWar

    I’m not surprised. My Moto X Style charges incredibly fast. I can plug it in just while I’m putting on my jacket and grabbing my keys and its jumped a few percent.

  • Where is OnePlus Two? You gave all away?

  • Robert Johnson

    I bought a moto x style and this is another reason I’m glad I did

  • Ryan Cavitt

    Yeah this is kinda botched in terms with the Nexus 6P. Unless a full USB-C to USB-C connection (Proper cable of course) is used, the Nexus 6P, nor any USB-C phone, will charge at full speed. Unless that charge meter has a USB Type-C connector you are not giving the 6P the full required current because the identifier resistor in a proper Type-A to Type-C cable tells the phone to draw a lesser current.
    Using the provided charger and cable my 6P charges from near dead to full in about 90 minutes.

  • Sorin Lavric

    @Gary Sims ( AndroidAuthority ) why is LG G3 from last year in this test and no Note 4 ???

    • Gigz XD

      this needs to go up~

  • oppo Beijing Style

    Perhaps the measurement tools you use made the oPPo VooC failed to perform, as oPPo use extra pin in USB for charging.

  • No samsung phones? Wtf

  • Allanitomwesh

    Yeah those OPPO numbers look totally wrong. VOOC is faster than Qualcomm

  • Stefan

    There seems to be something wrong with the battery indicator from the HTC one M9. At some point the power drops significantly, but the % battery keeps increasing at a steady rate. That doesn’t make sense if % battery is proportional to mAh available in the battery (which it should be), because the amount of mAh being pumped into the battery per minute (=power) is decreasing.

  • Stefan

    There seems to be something wrong with the battery indicator from the HTC one M9. At some point the power drops significantly, but the % battery keeps increasing at a steady rate. That doesn’t make sense if % battery is proportional to mAh available in the battery (which it should be), because the amount of mAh being pumped into the battery per minute (=power) is decreasing.

  • Eli W Seiei

    This compare is unfair, he should use dongle that has mah shown so to show how much energy did the phone received.

  • TheOracle

    My Zenfone 2 doesn’t take 115 minutes to charge. It’s more like 80 minutes. So your figures aren’t credible.

  • Total_telecom

    I believe my note 3 charges the fastest. I simply change the battery,, you can’t get any faster than that! It’s a shame they want us to PAY MORE FOR LESS now?

    PS I wonder how long it will be before those Motorola batteries swell out of control?

  • stanley

    This is wrong, my 6p doesn’t take 127 minutes to charge. From 0-100 it takes about 80 minutes!

  • Yussuf Sulaimanov

    My meizu mx5 charges fully in 70 minutes but it is not in the list so why?