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The Pixel 8 Pro won't have the one upgrade I really want

A charging speed of 27W is a letdown, especially on busy days.

Published onAugust 12, 2023

It’s August, which means that the wild rumors of Google’s upcoming Pixel 8 series have settled down and we pretty much know everything there is to know about it. Of course, Google can still surprise us with a few cool features and software additions that were never leaked, but the rumor mill is rarely wrong about hard specs. And that’s where, I realized, my frustration with the upcoming Pixel 8 Pro lies.

One spec, specifically the 27W charging speed, is leaving me a little lukewarm. It’s the one area where my Pixel 7 Pro currently lets me down, repeatedly, and the one upgrade I had wished for with its successor.

Every Android flagship has faster charging than 27W. Google should do better.

When information leaked about faster charging with the Pixel 8 series, I was ecstatic. I expected to see the numbers jump from 23W on the Pixel 7 Pro to somewhere in the vicinity of 45W on the 8 Pro. That appears to be the sweet spot between faster charging and battery longevity, but alas, this doesn’t seem to be the case. A 4W increase is unlikely to result in any significant gains in charging speed or reduction in charging time.

And at this point in 2023, 27W feels like a relic from the Android flagships of yore. Spending nearly two hours tethered to a wall to get your phone fully charged, as our Pixel 7 Pro charging test revealed, isn’t practical. Almost everyone is doing better; Google should do better.

Why faster charging when most of us charge overnight?

Google Pixel 7a USB C charging
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

On any routine day, I don’t care about charging speed. I just plug my phone before going to bed and the battery is magically full by the time I’m awake. Who cares if it takes 120 minutes, 60 minutes, or even two minutes, as long as I’m sleeping through it all?

But life isn’t just routine. There are days when I have to use my phone a lot more, with Google Maps and photos and music streaming running for several hours. The Pixel series and its Tensor processors aren’t the best at battery management — that, we already know — so my phone’s battery is often depleted by early afternoon. Plugging for two hours mid-day, even on a portable battery — actually, especially on a portable battery — isn’t ideal. Not to mention the overheating from charging and using the phone at the same time.

Life isn't routine. The Pixel 7 Pro lets me down on the busiest days when I need it the most.

Those are the days when I yearn for a faster-charging Pixel. It’s just frustrating to think that my phone gets everything right, in my opinion, but lets me down on the days I need it most. I appreciate its camera, its exclusive Pixel features, and its balance of power versus price, but I am frequently annoyed by how fast its battery drain and how slow it charges.

Just make faster charging on the Pixel 8 optional, Google

Samsung Super Fast Charging text on screen
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

For those of you worried about battery longevity, other Android brands have solved that. Samsung and Xiaomi, for example, provide an on-demand toggle to turn on faster charging. And in an ideal world, Google would do the same and add that toggle to stock Android.

Faster charging shouldn’t be the default option on the Pixel 8 or any upcoming Pixels; just give me a toggle I can turn on to speed up charging when I know I need it. Busy days, when I’m in a rush, or when I’m back in Lebanon and I know the next power cut is happening in 20 minutes. I want the ease of mind that comes with having this as a backup option. And I’d definitely give up the mildly useful thermometer in exchange for that.

But it seems that I’ll have to spend another year with this limitation, worrying about using my phone too much on a busy day and how long it’d take to fill it up again. Maybe that’s Google’s way of forcing us all into digital well-being? Ha!

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