Insane "Explorer Edition" phone brings 10X faster charging than Galaxy S22 or iPhone 14: we test world’s fastest 210W charging

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Some companies like to keep things safe to the point of being boring, while others are willing to push the boundaries and experiment with crazy new features, and this might just be the craziest one we have tested recently.

This phone is the Redmi Note 12 Explorer edition, a $400 mid-ranger that not only has a charger included in the box for free, but that charger is far superior than those that other companies ask you to pay for. The charger itself looks more like a laptop charger, it's about the size and weight of two regular phone chargers and it has one USB-C port. Apart from the larger size, it looks surprisingly ordinary considering its clearly extraordinary capabilities.

It can pump out an incredible 210 watts of power to your phone charging its battery in all of nine minutes. Yep, we said "nine", not "ninety", and not even "nineteen"!

We of course had to go hands-on with the Redmi Note 12 Explorer and we started with our own test!

Redmi Note 12 Explorer Edition (210W) charging speed test:

  • in 3 minutes — 38% charge
  • in 5 minutes — 58% charge
  • in 9 minutes — 86%
  • FULL charge took less than 15 minutes

The results are interesting! We started the test with the phone at exactly 2% battery level and we immediately got an on-screen “210W Max” confirmation that basically reassured us that we are indeed charging at the fastest speed.

It's also interesting how the last percentage point took nearly one minute to fill up, which confirms that the charge is indeed slowing down towards the end of the cycle.

By the way, we think all phones should display a similar notification that tells you how fast they are charging, it will definitely be very helpful in choosing an optimal charger, don't you think?

Why did we get slightly slower results than advertized?

But back to the results. Why did we get nearly 15 minutes for a full charging time, when Xiaomi promises just 9 minutes? Well, you have to consider that smartphone makers use absolutely ideal conditions for these measurements. This probably means that Xiaomi charged the phone powered off, while we had it turned on, and secondly, it never woke the phone during the charging process, while we constantly woke the screen to check the battery level. These might seem like small interventions but they do slow down the charging process.

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The other big concern most people have with such fast charging speeds is that they may come at the expense of long-term battery life. In other worlds, the cliche goes that fast charging also kills your battery faster too and shortens its lifespan. But that is not really the case, according to various phone makers that use a similar fast charging technique.

The trick is that most companies use bigger chargers with special chips on them, so most of the heat dissipation happens on the charger and not the phone, which saves the phone's battery from damage. Some additional techniques are also used, but the end result is that a battery is still rated to live way more than the typical 500 charging cycles that are usually given as a standard. So the cliche is actually wrong. Fast charging does not actually degrade the battery faster, at least according to this official data.

As for this particular Redmi Note 12 Explorer, it uses a GaN charger, which stands for gallium nitride and is a fancy new material that makes these speeds and charger sizes possible. A closer look reveals that it can deliver 20 volts and 10.5 amps of current, so multiply these two numbers and you get the total 210 watts power delivery capacity.

At the end of the day, this technology is seriously exciting and we think Xiaomi is actually underselling it. Why not call this “Magic Charging” or something just a bit more fancy to show the world that you have this advanced new tech!

Redmi Note 12 Explorer: a solid $400 phone

The Redmi Note 12 Explorer is officially available now and it sells for around $400. 

It’s a pretty standard slab of a smartphone with a 6.7-inch 1080p OLED screen and a higher end MediaTek chip inside, but it also has one more cool new technology in the form of 200-megapixel main camera that promises outstanding image and video quality.

And here is a quick run-down of the specs.

Redmi Note 12 Explorer specs highlights:
  • Dimensions of 162.9 x 76 x 9 mm, 207.5g weight
  • MediaTek Dimensity 1080 processor
  • 8GB RAM, 256GB UFS 2.2 storage
  • 200MP main cam + 8MP ultra-wide + 2MP macro
  • 4,300mAh battery
  • 210W wired charging
  • Android 12 with MIUI 13

Don't forget that we have the Redmi Note 12 Explorer specs page where you can find a lot more interesting details about this phone.

For those wondering about that camera, the real benefit of a 200-megapixel camera is actually not the resolution per se, but something called pixel binning. Basically, Xiaomi combines 16 pixels into one super pixel and this way it has much more information and can achieve a very clean look with little noise in the dark. It’s a clever trick and something that the new Galaxy S23 Ultra is expected to use as well.

And the main camera on the Note 12 Explorer does a very good job. Yet still this is not really a camera phone, and you can really tell when you use the ultra-wide camera for example with its bad quality.

For all else, this Explorer edition Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 is just a solid $400 mid-ranger. The MediaTek 1080 chip inside is actually faster than most other phones in this price range, you get 8GB of RAM which is again more than most phones at this price, and you even get 256GB of on-board storage.

But it is those new technologies that really impress. It’s a teaser for the future when a flagship phones can also charge in about 10 minutes. We think that’s truly transformative, it changes the way you use your phone, and it helps knowing that the battery won’t degrade any quicker because of that.

So what do you think about this technology? Would you pay to have a phone that charges fully in just 10 minutes? How important is that to you?

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