If you go out for buying a smartphone today, you have plenty of options to choose from. You get options such as a high refresh rate display, a higher megapixel count on cameras, the latest chipset, and a bigger battery. Also Read – How to charge your Android phone faster: Tips and tricks
Out of four of these options, a big battery is what has become a standard feature of most phones. You can not only find big battery phones in the higher-end or mid-range segment but also in the entry-level segment. In fact, a big battery in entry-level or budget devices is common these days. Also Read – Oppo reveals 240W fast charging which can charge 100 percent battery in 9 minutes
Complimenting a big battery is fast charging. And just like having a bigger battery is essential in budget phones lately, having faster charging is also a must in mid-range and premium-range phones. Also Read – Realme Q2 series launched with 5G support and triple rear cameras
Again, most phones have super fast charging these days. It goes from the usual 18W fast charging to 150W fast charging in India. In the foreign markets, you can also find 200W commercial fast charging solutions for smartphones.
With multiple choices available in the market, we are totally spoiled and are confused about whether to choose a big battery phone or a faster-charging phone.
In this story, we will take a look at what’s important and what should you look out for while buying your next smartphone.
What battery technology is used in smartphones?
Let’s first start with what batteries are available in the market. Today, in most smartphones, you will find Lithium-ion a.k.a Li-ion batteries. These batteries have several benefits over traditional Lithium-polymer or Li-Po batteries. One of the most notable features is the ability to prevent overcharging by themselves.
On top of this, OEMs can tweak these into different shapes and offer higher capacities in their smartphones. Speaking of tweaking, lately, there’s a trend of dual-cell batteries. Companies are preferring to offer dual-cell batteries mainly in mid-range or higher-end phones.
What it does is, that it helps in reducing the load on a single cell. Let’s say, for instance, there’s fast charging support on a phone with a single-cell battery. In this case, a single-cell battery will have to take all the load. This is where the dual-cell battery comes into play. Since fast charging technology is spurring at a rapid pace, OEMs have started using a dual-cell solution. This divides the load and helps keep the battery healthy for a longer time.
While the dual-cell battery does help with the overall battery health of the phone, it also has some other advantages. We reached out to Realme for knowing what’s the reason OEMs switched to dual-cell batteries in recent times.
Sreehari, Product Manager of Realme Global said, “Dual batteries do help in increasing the charging speed. Before the adapter used to charge a single cell and at present it will charge two different cells at single time with the same speed.”
He continued, “There are certain advantages of using dual batteries such as it can reduce the heating issues and this will help in increasing the battery and smartphone’s life. Besides this, it also increases the battery backup of the smartphone and all these factors together can increase your overall smartphone performance and life of the smartphone.”
What battery capacities are available in the market?
There’s a standard range for each segment lately. Starting with the budget segment, things are simple here and you will mostly find a device having a battery between 4,500mAh to 6,000mAh.
Moving to the mid-range segment, you get anywhere between 4,020mAh to 5,500mAh battery capacity phones. Going to the premium range, things go differently. You might think if you are paying for a premium phone, you could get even bigger batteries. But that’s not the case.
In the upper spectrum, you will find uncanny capacities, anywhere from 3,240mAh to 5,500 mAh. In addition to this, some smartphone brands offer monster batteries, for instance, a 7,000mAh battery. In case you are wondering, Samsung’s Galaxy F62 packs a chunky 7,000mAh cell.
Do note that these battery capacity ranges are bound to change. We have simply put forth our observations.
What fast charging technology is used by different brands?
Smartphone OEMs have choices of either using Power Delivery standards or Qualcomm’s Quick Charge charging speeds. There’s also MediaTek’s Pump Express, but that’s rare. Although brands can choose from any of these solutions depending on several factors, they tend to prefer their self-developed solutions. Ever since the race of fast charging began a few years back, phone companies started using their own trademarked fast charging solutions.
Now, every smartphone company has its own fast charging solution. Oppo has its SuperVOOC, Vivo has its FlashCharge, Xiaomi has its HyperCharge, Realme has its Ultra or SuperDart Charge, and iQOO similar to Vivo also has FlasCharge.
OnePlus, which had WarpCharge is now using SuperVOOC of Oppo since they both share the same R&D operations, and of course, Oppo is OnePlus’ parent company, that’s another reason.
In addition to this, brands have started using GaN (Gallium Nitride) chargers for their phones. Brands like Xiaomi and Realme also sell separate GaN chargers for their devices.
GaN is nothing but a semiconductor material that helps in making more efficient and faster-charging technology. That said, GaN helps with size, which means even if the charging solution is super fast, the charger may not be too big as it was earlier with conventional chargers. It also helps with heat resistance and power conversion.
What fast charging options are available in the market?
Starting with Oppo and Vivo, both offer a max of 80W fast charging support on their phones. Xiaomi has a 120W fast charging solution, Realme and OnePlus offer a max of 150W fast charging solution, and iQOO, which currently has the fastest charging commercially available (as of writing), solution in the world – 200W fast charging.
Other than this, Xiaomi also has its 200W solution and most other companies are testing even faster-charging solutions as you read this. However, Xiaomi’s 200W still isn’t commercially available like iQOO’s. And in the future, even faster solutions are poised to arrive, not only in the premium range but also in the budget range.
While fast charging does help you to quickly juice up the device whenever needed, it may bring unwanted disadvantages such as heat and take a toll on your phone’s battery health in a long run. However, brands do take several measures to help dissipate heat and offer efficient fast charging.
Realme has commented on the same while revealing the steps it took to offer safe and efficient fast charging on its Realme GT Neo 3.
“It is (Realme GT Neo 3) supported with an ultra adaptive dual chipset and dual charge pump parallel architecture to improve the charging conversion rate to 98.5% and reduce heat concentration. Besides this, realme GT Neo 3 is also equipped with adapting battery sense voltmeter technology to detect the accurate voltage of the cells, matching a more precise charging strategy during the charging process,” said Sreehari, Product Manager Realme Global,” said Sreehari of Realme.
“Realme GT Neo 3 encompasses multiple safety protection measures and is authoritative institution certified such as 38 layers of
safety protection, dual FPC connector, etc,” he continued.
Fast Charging or Big Battery: What is better?
Now that you know what’s houses inside a phone and what fast charging solutions are available in the market, let’s see what you really need or what’s better for you.
Although there’s no standard size, we believe that a big battery is something above 4,500mAh. And that’s usually present in most phones you pick. Having said that, to simply put forth, you are fine with any phone that’s offering a 4,500mAh battery or above, with some conditions, of course. Let’s get to it in the later part of this article. For now, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of having both features on your phone.
Pros of Big Battery Phones
- Good battery life.
- Better for the long term (considering a moderate charging solution).
- Can keep the device for charging overnight.
Cons of Big Battery Phones
- Bulky/thick design.
- Makes the phone heavy.
Pros of Fast charging
- Quick charging whenever needed.
- Saves you time.
Cons of Fast charging
- May reduce the battery health in long term.
- No overnight charging.
What’s best for you? (Depending on your usage)
Are you doing work from home?
If you are working from home and use your smartphone for office work or calls, you are better off with anyone. Although, faster charging could be great for you as you are likely to have a charging plug nearby all the time. So even if your phone has a decent battery, you can charge it quickly at your home.
But note that a bigger battery could also do the job. However, as we said above, a 4,500mAh+ battery capacity is common lately and you will find it in most phones. So, 4,500mAh is already a decent size and if you have fast charging on top of this, let’s say a 50W or 65W solution, you are pretty much good with it. Do note that this might change for every person depending on the usage.
Are you working from office?
If you travel long distances for your work and do nine hours of job, you may need to consider a big battery phone. We say that because, you may start your day at 90 to 100 percent charge, and if you have a big battery inside your phone (let’s say a 5,500 or 6,000mAh) you can use the phone all day at your work and still may have enough charge left for you to travel back to the home while listening to some music or watching a show on Netflix.
But again, this depends entirely on the usage, you can find a pairing of a big battery + moderately faster-charging solution, let’s say a 33W+ fast charging, and be just fine. This way, even if you have a big battery phone and usage is aggressive, you can charge your device at a moderately faster pace when you find an area to charge.
Also, assuming that you spend most of your day at the office, you can charge your device when you go to bed and since the charging isn’t too fast, you can plug it off in the morning.
Do you game on your smartphone?
Usually, gaming phones do come with fast charging solution with doable battery size. So if you are a gamer, you might want to find a device with a big battery. But such a phone may not be easily available as gaming phones do come in the mid-range or premium range, and as said above, they have decent batteries with fast charging.
That said, anything above 5,000mAh with say 50W or 65W solution could do your job. Again, there are caveats here.
Are you a student?
If you are a student and are confused about whether to buy a faster charging phone or a big battery phone, there’s no clear answer. Having said that, it all depends on your usage. If you use your phone for clicking pictures of notes or sharing screenshots and also if you game a lot, you can consider a big battery phone. But there’s no such hard and fast rule for that. You can also pick up a faster charging device with a moderate battery capacity, let’s say a 4,500mAh cell and that would work for you.
If you are perplexed by the options you get in the market while choosing a phone, you can ease up a bit as these days, most phones have a sufficient amount of batteries which would offer a day of battery depending on one’s usage. Having said that, if you are only looking at a big battery in a phone, let’s say a 6,000mAh, you would probably lose out on the ability to fast charge it. Yes, you will get 18W or 33W fast charging solutions with such a battery, but that may increase the time of charging by a lot.
On the other hand, if you are looking only for fast charging capacities and think faster the better, you might end up buying the wrong device. If you need to plug in your phone three times a day (even though your device may charge fast), it isn’t reliable at all.
Considering all these factors, we recommend having a mix of both. The balance of having a sufficient enough battery and moderate fast charging could be great for you. How much is sufficient enough? Well, that depends on you again, but ideally, a 4,500mAh battery or above and a 65W fast charging or above could be a great mix. With such a mix, your phone could go up to 100 percent in an hour or so and you will also have a sufficient battery for a day’s use. It also won’t affect your phone’s battery in the long term.
However, if you are getting mixes like a 4,500mAh or 5,000mAh battery with 80W or 120W fast charging that could be your best bet. But with one condition that you’d be using the device for medium-term, let’s say up to 3 years. That way, you can enjoy a big battery and fast charging at the same time and not worry about the battery health reduction as you’d be using your device for only up to two to three years.