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A Blaggers guide to Fast Charge in 2023

Your questions answered.

All iPhones, since iPhone 8, and most Samsung or Google phones, have the latest USB PD Fast Charge standard in their hardware. But what is Fast Charging, and why should you care?

What is Fast Charging?

The technical name is USB 3.1 Power Delivery. The people-friendly term is “Fast Charge”, meaning you can charge your device at speeds up to 100W. In short, you can receive up to 50% phone charge in just 30 minutes!

So, if you’re stuck at an airport and thinking, “Yikes! I’m going to run out of battery before retrieving my electronic boarding pass!” – you’d be in luck if you had Fast Charging nearby, as you could get a 10% battery charge in about 5 minutes!

BUT unfortunately, public spaces are still behind the times in providing Fast Charging and most are yet to offer a reliable charging solution at all.

Do I need any specific equipment for Fast Charge?

Fast charge requires three components – a compatible phone/tablet/laptop or other devices, a charger that supports USB Fast Charge, and a compatible cable. The cable will need to have USB-C at least on the charger end and USB-C or Apple Lightning at the device end. Your device will need a Fast Charge system or a USB-C socket branded as Fast Charge for you to use your own cable at public charging solutions.

Can devices with Micro-USB use Fast Charge?

No, only devices with USB-C or Apple devices since 2017 with Lightning can use Fast Charge. 

Isn’t wireless charging quick and better?

Wireless requires you to place your phone precisely on a wireless charging pad to get the best performance unless you use something like Apple’s MagSafe wireless charger. Fast Charge cabled charging is still 2-4 times faster and is more reliable. Wireless is better than nothing and fine for overnight charging, but not ideal for public charging when you want maximum charge in a short timeframe.

Is Fast Charge safe?

All modern devices control the power input to suit the devices’ battery characteristics. Manufacturer testing ensures the device takes the right amount of power at different battery charge levels to maximise the safe charge rate while maintaining long-term battery health. When phones go beyond 80-90% charge, they charge much more slowly, as this is when the phone will deliberately slow down the charge rate to protect battery longevity.

Can you only Fast Charge phones?

Many tablets (including all newer iPad models) support a higher level of fast charging. For example, iPads may use up to 30W, three times faster than the old base charger in the box or 1.5 times faster than the charger that ships with the iPad Pro. Of course, many laptops also support Fast Charging using USB-C cables.

I don’t have one of the big brand handsets, but I thought I already had Fast Charge.

You might do if it’s a less well-known Chinese brand, but it’s likely not using the international standard set by the USB Implementers Forum. Unfortunately, this means you will not benefit from public Fast Charging systems, and the technology’s proprietary nature might not hit all the safety standards.

So where could I charge my phone in a hurry when I’m out and about?

Look for USB-C plug points and charging stations with Fast Charge installed. Public spaces like shopping centres and airports have charging stations, but very few have adopted this technology. They will need to start investing in it soon because there will be demand from the public. If you find the charging facilities don’t cater for it, then ask for it. In the meantime, all new ChargeBox public charging solutions provide USB PD Fast Charge charging at up to 60W per cable, hugely outperforming any other public charging solutions we’ve encountered globally.

For more information on any of the Fast charge solutions we can offer your business, event or location – simply get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

The ChargeBox Team