Fast charging is more important than long battery life

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Fast charging is more important than long battery life
Opinions about what features a smartphone should have vary wildly, but one thing everyone agrees on is that our phones need better battery life. And while manufacturers have been improving battery life year after year, it’s still not quite at a level where battery anxiety is gone completely.

Well, I’m here to argue that it is not the improved battery capacity that will help you get rid of the dread that your phone might run out of juice. It’s the fast charging that will do that.

Now, don’t get me wrong, having a phone that can easily last a day and maybe even two is great. But even so, if you forget to charge it at the right time and the battery gets low, trouble arises. Big batteries take longer to charge and if your phone can’t do that quickly, it could be a while before you have your device back in your pocket.

Fast charging means topping up your phone isn’t an event to plan around

Like most smartphone users, for the longest time, my habit was to use my phone throughout the day and just plug it in as I’m about to sleep. And that’s objectively a pretty easy routine to follow. However, ever since I started using Xiaomi’s Mi 10 Pro for our review, things have changed.

The Mi 10, like some other phones on the market (Galaxy S20 Ultra, OnePlus 8 Pro, Huawei P40 Pro), comes with a charger that’s not just fast, it’s extremely fast. We’re talking 0-80% in about 30 minutes. And that caused a change in the way I perceive charging.

Before, despite my established ritual, charging was something I had to keep in the back of my mind as a task that needs to be done. Like a chore hanging around, taking up a small percentage of your mental bandwidth. Sure, it’s not something major, but in our stressful lives, every extra convenience we can get is a blessing.

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And fast charging is indeed a blessing. Now, I know that the difference between my phone’s battery being nearly empty and having enough juice to last me half a day is about 10 minutes. Scenarios, where the short charge time comes handy, are plentiful.

Someone calls you to hang out but your battery is low? Plug it in and by the time you’re ready to leave, the phone has reached battery levels that leave no trace of anxiety.

Using your phone so much that it needs a top-up mid-day? Less time spent without its valuable services!

Going to bed and your phone is in the red? Plug it in, and when you’re done with your pre-sleep social media catch-up, it will be almost full, no need to leave it on the charger overnight, something that’s not great for the battery. Speaking of battery health, there are some things worth mentioning that aren’t in favor of fast charging.

The drawbacks of superfast charging

Like everything in life, charging your phone in no time comes at a price. Being force-fed power at a high rate is not something batteries enjoy. Phones can get quite warm during fast charging and that stress on the battery reduces its longevity. So, if you’re the type that upgrades phones once every three or so years, then perhaps this isn’t the best solution for you.

On the bright side, when the battery starts requiring a top-up more often, you have that fast charging to save you time. And yes, that does create a vicious cycle: frequent charging leads to faster battery degrading, more charging and on and on.

Another drawback of relying on fast charging rather than long battery life is that you need to have a capable charger at the ready. That means either buying multiple fast chargers, which can be expensive, or carrying around the one you have, which isn’t ideal either since those can be quite bulky.

Of course, carrying even a small charger around is not feasible for everyone. In some scenarios, nothing can replace having a massive battery or a power bank at hand, because there's just no power outlet to charge from.

Personally, however, I’ll gladly trade some backpack space for the benefits of fast charging. Once you get used to it, everything else seems like going 10 years back in time. In my opinion, fast charging is one of the most underrated features in smartphones today. While high-refresh-rate displays and gazillion-pixel sensors are cool to have, they’re not quality of life improvements the way really fast charging is. 

But what do you think? Vote for your preference in the poll below and explain your choice in the comment section!

Do you prefer extra-fast charging or extra-long battery life?

The faster the charging speed, the better!
Battery life for days, please, keep your giant power bricks!

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