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Just how fast is modern wireless charging?
Fast charging technology is a complicated business of proprietary standards and technologies. The wide range of standards and speeds isn’t limited to just traditional wired chargers. Wireless charging is on the march too, promising blazing-fast speeds that outstrip the capabilities of most phones’ wired charging capabilities. At least in the proprietary space.
To see just how fast cutting-edge wireless charging has become, we grabbed the OnePlus 9 Pro, a Warp Charge 50 wireless, older Warp Charge 30 wireless, Warp Charge 60 wired, and a USB Power Delivery charger to simulate the typical charging speeds for other phones. With these chargers in hand, we can see at a glance how proprietary standards continue to speed ahead of more universal standards.
See also: USB-C in 2021: Why it’s still a mess
Let’s cut right to the results.
60W wired charging is the fastest option but not by a huge margin. It took 31 minutes to fully charge the OnePlus 9 Pro, only mere minutes faster than the 39 minutes using the latest 50W wireless charging option. 20% more power only nets an 8-minute improvement to charge times, which doesn’t feel like a lot. Although interestingly enough, a 20% increase in charging power nets exactly a 20% reduction in charging times here.
Overall there’s only a small difference for total charge times between these two, which is a testament to just how powerful OnePlus’ wireless charging technology has become. Both also have you comfortably back on your feet with even just a 15-minute charge. Clocking in at 60% and 42% charge after just a quarter of an hour, respectively.
For comparison, I also grabbed OnePlus’ older 30W wireless charger to see how much faster the new version is. At just 48 minutes to full, it’s still very competitive if not faster than more universal wired charging standards used by a lot of smartphones. The move from 30W to 50W wireless charging only improves time to full another rather small sounding seven minutes. Although these minutes stack up, and 60W wired is a more noticeable 15 minutes faster than 30W wireless.
The OnePlus 9 Pro charged at 18W from our more universal USB Power Delivery plug. I’ve included this in the results as a wired charging benchmark against the speeds you’ll see from phones such as the Google Pixel 5, iPhone 12, etc. This technology took 69 minutes to fully charge the OnePlus 9 Pro. Not awful, but certainly not what we’d call fast.
Fast wireless charging now beats wired charging speeds from some high-end handsets
The OnePlus 9 Pro’s 50W wireless charging is a full 30 minutes faster to full charge than using the roughly 18W of power received by most USB Power Delivery smartphones. That’s not quite twice as fast, but not far off. The fastest wireless charging technologies on the market are now much faster than some of the wired options used in flagship-tier smartphones. Phone’s sporting USB Power Delivery need to up their game as they’re being left in the dust by proprietary fast wireless charging technologies.
Do you make use of proprietary fast wireless charging?
Of course, OnePlus isn’t the only company with very fast wireless charging capabilities. HUAWEI has its own 50W charging technology, Xiaomi boasts a 55W wireless dock, and OPPO’s AirVooc hits a colossal 65W. Of course, these are all proprietary and won’t work when you try to mix and match chargers and phones across brands. We’re back to the wild west of charging standards all over again.
Unfortunately proprietary is the only way to go for super-fast wireless charging at the moment. Outside of these Chinese brands, more universal standard implementations, such as Qi, are considerably slower and wired charging remains by far the faster option for charging. Apple and Samsung handsets, for example, are stuck with just 15W.