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Google explains why Pixel 6 and 6 Pro doesn’t always charge at peak 30W

By Liu Hongzuo - on 18 Nov 2021, 12:58pm

Google explains why Pixel 6 and 6 Pro doesn’t always charge at peak 30W

Google Pixel 6 series.

Since their official announcement in October, Google's Pixel 6 and 6 Pro phones have seen many discussions about their useability and purported features. Both overseas reviewers and users noticed that the phones don't necessarily always charge at their peak fast-charging rates - and Google offered an explanation just hours ago

A community manager lurking on the official Pixel Phone Help Center forums explained that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro's charging was designed to strike a balance between "battery life, longevity and fast charging", regardless of the power delivered from a wall plug. 

"Battery cell design determines the maximum charging power required for smartphones. A battery can be designed for high energy density, or for fast charging power capability, which requires trading off capacity to minimize battery degradation," - Community Manager at Google Pixel Phone Help.

At low battery levels, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro's lithium-ion battery can charge faster - up to 50% in just 30 minutes with Google's 30W USB-C charger. As the levels increase, the charge tapers off - reaching 80% in an hour. Also, when the battery hits 80% or higher, it can either pause charging under certain conditions, or charge very slowly overnight (when Adaptive Charging is enabled).

Looking after lithium-ion batteries (widely used in portable electronics) typically involves understanding how they don't last forever, and taking steps to mitigate their wear. One such way is to charge these batteries slower, even if they offer fast-charging options. 

Adaptive charging of li-ion batteries is hardly new technology, nor is it unique to the Pixel 6. Our recent smartphone and tablet reviews have always looked at how each phone handles fast-charging to understand how quickly you can get some juice in. No matter the brand, charging always slows down as the phone approaches full capacity, and it's always fastest at the initial 1-20% level. Most manufacturers would throttle the charging speeds when a battery hits 50% and/or 80%. In fact, you can even download certain apps to see the real-time changes in charging speeds if you really want to, but that's only if you have nothing better to do.

However, what is surprising is that Google admits that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro doesn't fully use its official 30W wired charger's speed. The same help centre article said that the peak draws are 21W and 23W, respectively.

The same post also explains that wireless charging is generally slower and less efficient than wired charging.

Source: Google (Pixel Phone Help)

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