PSA: Only the Pixel XL gets 18W charging, but it might not matter

PSA: Only the Pixel XL gets 18W charging, but it might not matter
It looks like there was a bit of a typo in the marketing materials for the Google Pixel in regards to the wattage of the charging adapter. The listings for the Google Pixel had been saying that the charger was 18 watts, but that appears to be wrong and that the phone actually ships with a 15 watt charger. The difference was noticed by mechanical engineer Nathan K., who tested the Pixel charger and found it never drew more than 15W of power.

Google has admitted that Nathan is correct. The Google Pixel XL does charge at 18W and Google has updated the spec sheet for the smaller Pixel, but hasn't commented on why there is a difference in chargers. And, the difference might not make much difference in terms of charging time. The 18W charger for the Pixel XL may charge the device about 20% faster if it were to be constantly charging at peak speeds (which is rare anyway), but because the battery is also 20% bigger than the Pixel, the difference washes away. 

The reigning theory is that Google had concerns about heat while the device was charging and so limits how much power it pulls. According to Nathan K, you should be okay even if you use a difference charger, because the software of the Pixel "prefers" 5 volt/15 watt, but can and will handle 9v/18W "when absolutely forced."

Related phones

Pixel XL
  • Display 5.5" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12.3 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3450 mAh(32h talk time)
Pixel
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12.3 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2770 mAh(26h talk time)

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8 Comments

1. Busyboy

Posts: 732; Member since: Jan 07, 2015

Better late than never?

2. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

The difference doesn't wash away if you were expecting it to charge 20% faster than it does.

3. bambamboogy02

Posts: 840; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Faster than what though? What would you be comparing it to? My XL charges at an acceptable rate. No where near as quick as my Moto Z Force charged; that sucket is super quick, but the XL is by no means slow. It does have staggered charging rates, 0%-50% is fast, 51%-90% is slower than the first 50%, and the last 10% is a trickle charge.

4. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Should it matter what it's compared to? 20% faster is 20% faster no matter what, and it would be 20% faster with an 18W charger.

6. bambamboogy02

Posts: 840; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Here is the thing, out of the normal users, who would have figured out their phone is only pulling 15W during charging? A mistake on marketing's side, that's all. The smaller pixel would have a heat dissipation issue if it were to charge at 18W vs 15W. There is no doubt about that.

5. KingSam

Posts: 1466; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Google wanted similar charge times. 20% more output for a 20% larger battery. For the sake of consistency.

7. emmawilliam834

Posts: 241; Member since: Feb 09, 2016

If you want your battery to last a long time, probably better to limit it to 500 mA anyway. The faster your charge it, the shorter its life.

8. hightechquicdeath

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 03, 2016

Is quick charging completely safe though? Or does it degrade the battery faster as emmawilliam834 suggested? Batteries that die even faster is not what we need in current mobile market. New phone models are just becoming obsolete quicker than ever and it’s a serious problem. The new software updates just degrade phones so quickly now, that’s if they don’t explode break apart first. Why don’t mobile products get built to last anymore? New phones are exciting sure but the consumers really deserve better. There’s a social campaign running to raise awareness of these problems called High Tech Quick Death, you can check it out by Googling it!

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