What is Power Delivery, Fast Charge and Smart Charge
With so much information, fictitious myths and simply wrong advice out there, finding the information you need can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
There are many schools of thought when it comes to the most effective types of charging, but really, when it’s all stripped away, it’s about what works for you and what doesn’t.
Like many other things in life, you might be surprised to learn that speed isn’t always everything.
Feb 23 4 min read
What is the best and fastest charging for my mobile device?
Let’s get straight to the point, this is what everyone wants to know right?
It seems like every new phone promises faster charging, but what do the different standards mean, and are they all equally speedy?
Lets go through the through the different types of charging you need to know.
How much power does my device actually need?
We’ve all been here before, we want something super shiny and cool, but find ourselves wondering if it’s completely necessary.
USB Power Delivery, on a technical level, is an extremely detailed charging standard which is used by devices supporting USB Power Delivery. The intention is to reduce e-waste by taking away the need for chargers with different ratings for different products. The standard is now on its 3.0 revision, but is backwards compatible with 2.0 products.
Charging terms can be confusing
The majority of fast charging standards typically vary the current rather than boost the voltage. In contrast, USB Power Delivery is able to vary both the voltage and also the maximum allowable current. Depending on the connected device to be charged the voltage could be varied from about 3V to up to 21V and in some cases the maximum current can be as high as 5A. Power is Current multiplied by Voltage so you can see that at 20V with a current of 5Amps you get to 100W which is the USB Power Delivery maximum power…for now!
A USB Power Delivery charger communicates with the connected device, for instance an iPad, and tells it what voltages and current it can provide. The connected device will then choose a voltage and current and charging will start. This is a much simplified description of how USB Power Delivery works, in reality the charger and device talk between each other and also to the cable which may contain authentication e-marker chips inside. If you need some bedtime reading there is a 600+ page document on USB.org which describes how USB Power Delivery works on the technical level.
Power Delivery is capable of delivering up to 100 watts of power, which is far more than any smartphone actually requires. This could be considered overkill for simply charging smaller devices.
USB Power Delivery isn’t so much fast charging as it is a standard that determines if an adapter or portable power bank is capable of charging a laptop or other high-powered device.
For fast charging, you’re looking for a charger which bumps the voltage beyond 5V, or increases current to above 2.4Amps.
Keep in mind, your device will only take in as much power as its charging circuit is designed for and 2.1Amps or 2.4Amps at 5V (10W/12W respectively) is generally regarded as ‘quick enough’ in most cases and for most phones and tablets.
Smart charging is the term for smart charging technology. Here, the delivered charging current between 1 and 2.4A is optimally tuned depending on the connected device. This way you always have the most optimal charging current for a fast and safe charging process.
What difference does fast charge make to the speed my mobile charges?
Charging an iPhone11 from 10-100% makes the difference between 10w (5V/2.1A) and 27w (9V/3A) just 40mins..
Have a look at the helpful chart here ->
What difference does fast charge make to the speed my tablet charges?
Charging an iPad Pro from 10-100% makes the difference between 10w (5V/2.1A) and 27w (9V/3A) around 2hrs 30mins.
What Works For You
When looking at any new technology, it’s always prevalent to ask yourself: ‘Does this work for me?’
When is comes to power delivery, unless you are in desperate need to charge bigger devices, it may not make a great deal of difference to the productivity of your business.
So, what’s next?
If you’re interested in finding out more, then we advise speaking to one of our technical experts. You can also visit out help section to find out more about the art of charging devices.