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Zero to 100 real quick: We put fast-charging phones to the test

How fast can a fast-charging phone charge if a fast-charging phone can charge really fast?

Josh Miller

Your phone is about to die, but you need to leave the house within the next 15 minutes. You're screwed, right?

Not necessarily. A fast-charging phone like the Google Pixel, Motorola Moto Z, OnePlus 3 (and 3T), LG G5 and HTC 10 could be clutch in time-sensitive situations.

To fully charge a phone normally takes 1 to 2 hours, but who has time for that? A phone with fast charging can give you enough power to use it for several hours after only a 15- or 30-minute charge.

It's a big selling point for phones lately and several companies have entered the fray with names like Qualcomm Quick Charge, OnePlus Dash Charging and Motorola TurboCharging. (Qualcomm just announced that its upcoming Quick Charge 4.0 technology can power a phone for 5 hours after a 5-minute charge.) But how fast do these fast-charging phones really charge? We put a few handsets with this technology to the test.

fast-chargers-1180-001.jpg

We used each phone's default charger to run the tests.

Josh Miller/CNET

The tests

We started each test with a drained phone (0 percent battery life) and used the fast chargers supplied with the phones. Each phone was charged for 15 minutes, drained, charged again for 30 minutes, drained again, then charged to full capacity. We did this three times on each phone, noted what percentage the batteries were at after each iteration, then calculated the average.

The results of the test are presented as a percentage of battery life gained, not an estimate of hours of use. These phones are all less than eight months old -- charging time and battery capacity will almost certainly vary as a phone's battery ages.


The results

How much battery capacity was charged in the allotted time

HTC 10 Google Pixel LG G5 Motorola Moto Z OnePlus 3
Technology QuickCharge 3.0 USB-C 18W charger QuickCharge 3.0 TurboPower charger DashCharging
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C
Battery capacity 3,000mAh battery (nonremovable) 2,770mAh (nonremovable) 2,800mAh (removable) 2,600mAh (nonremovable) 3,000mAh (nonremovable)
15-minute charge from 0 percent 24 percent 26 percent 33 percent 28 percent 32 percent
30-minute charge from 0 percent 45 percent 42 percent 61 percent 47 percent 58 percent

Time to full charge (in minutes)

OnePlus 3
75
LG G5
78
Motorola Moto Z
81
HTC 10
94
Google Pixel
105

Note:

Shorter bars indicate a faster charge

Fastest to reach 50 percent

  • The LG G5 uses Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, which promises a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes or less. (After surpassing a 50 percent charge, the charging speed slows down to prevent overstressing the battery.) The phone surpassed expectations, charging to 61 percent in 30 minutes, and, as a major plus, it also has a removable battery. So if you're the forgetful type, buying an extra battery and keeping it charged as a backup could be a real lifesaver.

Fastest to reach 100 percent

  • The OnePlus 3 may have lost the sprint, but it won the marathon. It features OnePlus' own trademarked charging technology, dubbed DashCharging. OnePlus says the phone can get a 60 percent charge in 30 minutes. While its performance in our test fell a little below that (58 percent), it stayed cooler than the rest of the phones while charging (another purported feature of DashCharging) and given the example of the exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7, that's worth something.

Android phones with fast charging charge a lot faster than the iPhone 7 Plus.

Josh Miller/CNET

Does fast-charging tech really make a difference?

We ran the same tests on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (which doesn't have fast charging) because it has the same size screen as the other phones and, though Apple is notoriously secretive about sharing battery specs, a teardown by iFixIt revealed that it has a comparable 2,900mAh battery. We found that it took almost twice as long to fully charge compared with the LG G5 and OnePlus 3.

How much battery capacity was charged in the allotted time

Apple iPhone 7 Plus LG G5 OnePlus 3
Technology N/A QuickCharge 3.0 DashCharging
Connector Lighting USB-C USB-C
Battery capacity 2,900mAh (nonremovable) 2,800mAh (removable) 3,000mAh (nonremovable)
15-minute charge from 0 percent 15 percent 33 percent 32 percent
30-minute charge from 0 percent 32 percent 61 percent 58 percent

Time to full charge (in minutes)

OnePlus 3
75
LG G5
78
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
140

Note:

Shorter bars indicate a faster charge

After a 30-minute charge, the iPhone 7 Plus averaged a 32 percent battery charge; that's the percentage the OnePlus 3 had after only a 15-minute charge, and the LG G5 almost doubled that in the same amount of time. Apple didn't respond to request for comment.

Would you rather have a 30 percent battery charge after charging your dead phone for half an hour, or 60 percent? That's a no-brainer, no?

While the charging speed differences between the fast-charging phones on this list aren't dramatic, they definitely are when compared with the iPhone 7 Plus. This is one category where high-end Android phones are kicking the big iPhone's big ass. If you're debating between Apple and Android, add quick charging to the list of things that Android phones have a leg up on. For now at least.

Editors' note: The OnePlus 3T, a newer version of the OnePlus 3 with the same charging technology, was released after we conducted these tests. We will update this post with new results when we have finished testing it.