Is this the future of fast wired charging: 55 grams = 50W of power0
Slim and tiny fast chargers came into the light about a year ago when Oppo introduced the mini SuperVOOC charger with support for 50W of power output, despite its minuscule size and weight of 60 grams!
It's not a secret to anyone that Realme is owned by the same parent company that owns Oppo (as well as Vivo and OnePlus). Now, we are getting the first version of this charger sold by Realme, released together with the Realme GT "flagship killer" phone that just recently went global.
Realme’s ultra-thin SuperDart charger: How is it possible?
The tech behind the mini fast charger is named "pulse charging" - both Oppo and Realme have removed the electrolytic capacitor and allowed the charger to unleash huge amounts of power at equal time slots of 40 ms.
Traditional chargers (including fast chargers) will increase the power output as they go. When they've managed to fill the battery to a certain level - let's say 70-90%, they'll slow down to reduce heat and respectively preserve the battery condition of your phone.
However, this is not exactly your traditional charger. Instead, it uses Gallium Nitride (GaN). This material entered the charger world relatively recently after being used for making LEDs back in the '90s and for solar cell arrays on satellites.
Unlike traditional silicon-transistor chargers, GaN chargers produce less heat, making them less needy of space between the components. That's why GaN chargers can be about 3x smaller but still deliver fast charging speeds.
Realme’s 50W mini flash charger uses three high-voltage MLCC filters, instead of traditional cylindrical capacitors which allows it to be so tiny in size (ChargerLAB). Also, GaN’s made of a crystal-like material. This material can conduct much higher voltages than traditional silicone chargers. This makes the transfer of electrical current much faster, resulting in… you guessed it - faster charging (Belkin).
The charger itself is the star of the show, but don’t ignore the cable, which is a key part of the equation. In this case, the classic “Realme Yellow” cable supports 20V-5A-100W charging (via USB 2.0). So in case you’re planning to invest in this one, or buy another GaN charger, make sure to get a suitable cable that’ll let you make the most out of it (if it’s not bundled with the charger).
How are GaN chargers going to change your charging experience?
If we put aside Apple’s iPhone, every other modern smartphone will use USB-C charging, which is also found on most modern laptops, tablets, and even many of Apple’s own devices.
It took a few years, but USB-C is finally becoming the default way of doing charging, and if Apple eventually jumps fully on board, we would finally be able to carry a single charger for pretty much all our productivity devices.
The folding charging pin trick makes for a pocketable 10mm-wide 50W charger, which can charge a MacBook, an iPad, and (sorry iPhone users) your Android phone. It’s great for traveling, moving around, and simply for having the convenience of carrying just one charger for all your devices.
Granted, Realme’s mini flash charger isn’t going to perform the same across the board. For example, it will take significantly longer to top up a MacBook because the MacBook needs much more power than a smartphone and uses a different standard of power intake.
According to ChargerLAB, Realme’s 50W mini flash charger supports VOOC, DASH, WARP, SuperVOOC, PD, PPS, Apple’s 2.4A, and other fast charging protocols. For other devices, PD fast charging can be supported (up to 27W).
At the end of the day...
Chargers have come a long way! As mentioned in the beginning, wireless charging does and will have the spotlight from now on. However, wired charging is far from obsolete, especially if you value speed and multi-device compatibility.
Oppo and Realme also make more powerful flash chargers with power up to 110W. They are slightly larger than the tiny 50W mini flash charger but still much more compact than (for example) the MacBook Pro’s bundled charger, which only goes up to 96W.
We’re looking forward to when such compact chargers will become the norm and start (or, in some cases, resume) coming bundled with future smartphones, tablets, and even laptops!