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MWC 2022 proves that ultra fast charging is the next battleground for smartphones

Having seen all of the riches that MWC has had to offer this year, it’s clear that super speedy charging is where the fiercest competition can be found.

This week I’ve had the pleasure of going from stand to stand at MWC 2022 in Barcelona, looking at and trying out the latest mobile tech products from companies that hail from all over the world. It’s been a busy event, with plenty to catch your eye, but it’s clear that one new feature above all is where we’re seeing a lot of the key action taking place; fast-charging.

First of all there was Oppo’s 240W fast-charging, which truly has to be seen to be believed. In just 9 minutes this muscular charger can bring a 4500mAh cell from zero to full. The percentage ticks up unrelentingly, looking almost more like a download completion bar than the trickle of charge we often expect, and in the time it takes to listen to a couple of songs your phone will be ready to go the distance.

Now it has to be noted that this innovation is not yet attached to an actual handset; for the moment it’s a prototype that’s yet to be introduced to anything beyond a demo device. But the same brand will roll out 150W charging (which boasts a full top-up in fifteen minutes) to an upcoming phone from its sub-brand, OnePlus, in the second quarter of this year, and its current flagship (the Oppo Find X5 Pro) boasts 80W charging.

Having thrown down the gauntlet, other brands soon responded. Chief among them was Honor, which unveiled the Magic 4 Pro as its first premium phone on the global stage. Looking for a headline to hang its hat on, the device was announced to have 100W fast-charging, both wired and wireless. It’s the latter that makes this particularly impressive, as I’ve never seen a phone that could charge at such a galloping pace despite not even being plugged in.

It’s not just flagships of today or the future that offer speedy charging. Look around the showfloor and you’ll also see the Realme GT 2 Pro with 65W charging, and the Poco X4 Pro with 67W charging too, numbers which are still highly impressive despite the dawn of triple digit wattage.

Another thing worth noting on this score is that Android devices are very much out in front, while Apple is left behind in the dust. Their devices infamously come with no packaged charger (and previously had only a bog standard 5W brick), and even the top-end iPhone 13 Pro has an estimated capacity of 23W. Much as with the adoption of enhanced screen refresh rates and 5G connectivity, it just goes to show that the Android market often leads the way on innovation, while we wait for Apple to catch up.

Whenever brands take the gloves off and enter fierce competition with one another it is both exciting to observe as an enthusiast and beneficial as a consumer, because this race to be the best is precisely what provides us such incredible improvements in tech products year-on-year. I can’t wait for these handsets to hit the shelves so that we can all experience lightning-quick charging first-hand, because once you’ve been treated to this innovation and the convenience it brings then there is simply no going back to the slow lane.

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