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Fast charging should be an option, and it’s high time it was replaced by all OEMs

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Chris Carlon/Android Authority

Will fast charging kill my phone’s battery life? This is a question that pops up every time a smartphone manufacturer claims to offer some form of fast charging. Will the phone get very hot? What kind of measures are in place to prevent battery deterioration?

However, there is an undeniable benefit to ridiculously fast charging flagships from the likes of Xiaomi and OnePlus. If you’re in a hurry to go out or are running low on battery before a work call, five minutes from the top of the screen gets you ready to go. It’s something I think of every time I pick up my Google Pixel 7 Pro.

Broken down by slow 23W slow charging, the Pixel 7 Pro takes over two hours to fully charge. Compared to the ridiculous 100+ watts being touted by other phones, Google and, for that matter, Apple’s approach seems woefully inadequate.

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Throttle charging speeds may extend battery life, but I want more.

By now, I’m well aware of the fact that Google’s goal here is to reduce stress on your battery and allow your phone to provide more all-day life for years to come. But what if the perfect middle ground is always staring at us? Why can’t I have the best of both worlds mode where I can switch between fast charging when I need it and back to slow charging which is better for overnight charging?

Would you like an option to slow down your phone charging?

89 votes

Does fast charging really degrade the battery?

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Fast Wireless Charging Display

Ryan Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The science and technology behind smartphone batteries hasn’t changed much over the years. Future innovations like graphene batteries are still a pipe dream, and at least for now, the chosen recourse for battery concerns is to reduce the time it takes to charge a phone.

Even the best studies haven’t found a direct relationship between fast charging and battery degradation.

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As fast charging becomes a more mainstream technology, myths about the potential effects of pumping your smartphone battery at faster speeds multiply. Basic chemistry dictates that pumping high voltages at high temperatures should cause battery degradation. However, even the best studies of fast charging have not found a definitive association between high-speed charging and reduced longevity through severe degradation. Studies destined for extremely fast charging showed that while there is an effect on cathode degradation after a few hundred cycles, this can be largely controlled by partial charging and upper cut-off voltage restriction.

However, even if there is no empirical evidence confirming that fast charging destroys battery life, the internet is full of anecdotal evidence to support this speculation. In my own experience, older devices that don’t have very fast charging, like the Pixel 3 XL, fared better in terms of all-day battery life than older OnePlus devices with similar Dash Charging. Online forums are also filled with users claiming that fast charging hurts battery life in the long run. The bottom line is – there is no definitive way to measure how fast charging actually affects battery life. Anecdotally, I’ve come across quite a few users who have opted for slower charging bricks which limit the phone’s charging speed.

Split battery designs and optimization curves help mitigate the effects of fast charging.

However, most of the brands have found innovative solutions to the potential battery degradation issue. Today, most smartphones no longer ship with a single-cell battery; Instead, it is divided into two parts. Both pump at speeds high enough to manage a balance between safety and comfort as well as eye-catching numbers. Likewise, a lot of the charging circuitry has been moved to the charger to keep heat away from the phone.

Giving users the choice: fast charging or slow charging

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Charging speeds Switch Samsung

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Here’s an idea. A straightforward solution to balancing a user’s dilemma of high-speed charging and long battery life could be to give users the option to choose between the two. Now, I’m not suggesting a complicated slider that lets you dial in the exact charging speed you want. Alternatively, an easy switch that toggles between standard USB-PD speeds and super-fast charging would be a great addition for users. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that lower speed could be the default to err on the security side, with the option to enable (a popup perhaps?) to unlock higher speeds when you need them.

Samsung and Xiaomi already let you swap fast charging speeds. This needs to be standardized.

It is not an unprecedented concept. Today’s Samsung phones include a switch that lets you opt in to ultra-fast wired or wireless charging. Likewise, Xiaomi’s fastest charging phones include a toggle that lets you activate 120W boosted charging or downgrade to a more moderate charging speed.

Simply put, the technology to achieve the advantage is already here. All it takes is a little concerted effort from Google to add these APIs to stock Android, which will allow every Android manufacturer to implement the feature without having to build it from scratch. If the payoff is more control for the end user and a better balance between convenience and battery longevity, then it’s certainly something worth exploring. At the very least, it would be an eco-friendly move for Android.

More options is always better

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OnePlus 10T with 150W charging speeds

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The beauty of the Android ecosystem is the amount of choice it allows. This was critical in allowing for all of the innovative fast charging solutions that most OEMs are testing. However, this option should extend to the ability to restrict or control features that have the potential to affect the longevity of your device.

Android is a matter of choice, and this should extend to charging speeds.

Just like choosing between batch and full-resolution images from your camera or adjusting the color profile of your phone screen, it’s time to control charging speed to be a standard feature rather than a specialized addition that few OEMs offer. Do you think that fast charging affects the life of your phone? Prefer a toggle switch to control it? Let us know in the comments.

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Smartphone scams are dead – Android Authority

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Robert Triggs/Android Authority

Ten years ago, the 2013 Samsung Galaxy S4 was a technological marvel. Android phones had only been around for a few years at that point, and it seemed like the Galaxy S4 could do a lot despite its small size. As consumers, we were delighted. So much so, that to this day the Galaxy S4 remains the best-selling Android phone of all time, with over 80 million units sold.

However, that was ten years ago – an eternity in the tech world. Things have changed dramatically since then. The smartphone tricks we saw in the Galaxy S4 — like the Smart Scroll, which let you scroll the contents of your screen by moving your head up or down — would be completely ridiculous to see in a 2023 phone.

Today, smartphones are ubiquitous gadgets, not technical marvels. Consumers are using their phones more than ever before, yes, but that has faded the shine. Modern smartphone buyers don’t want gimmicks. They want a phone that fixes the basics and hides in the background.

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In 2023, if a smartphone manufacturer thinks that some cool new trick will be the backbone that sells its phones, it will be in a world of disappointment. Not only will consumers care, but investing in research and development for this trick could do more harm than good.

What are the tricks of the smartphone?

Google Pixel 4 XL Long Range 2 review

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The term “gimmick” can be used broadly. In general, when it comes to smartphones, we think of gimmicks as features that are only applicable to very specific situations, appeal to a limited subset of users, or offer no real value (or some combination thereof).

One of history’s most egregious examples of smartphone scams was the Soli radar system in the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Soli was a set of front-facing radar sensors that could track your hand movements. They let you do things like pause the music simply by waving your hand near the screen. While Soli performed as advertised, consumers simply didn’t care, and the Pixel 4 series was the biggest failure in Pixel history.

If your star phone feature only appeals to a few people, it’s probably a gimmick.

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A more recent example came with the OnePlus 10 Pro last year. This phone was equipped with an ultra-high resolution camera with a field of view of 150 degrees. This was essentially a fish-eye lens, creating highly distorted images that looked unreal. Although software trickery helped fix images in post-processing, critics and consumers alike saw no need for such a bizarre lens. OnePlus eliminated the lens on this year’s OnePlus 10T and OnePlus 11.

Here are some other smartphone tricks we’ve seen:

  • foreign matter: OnePlus recently announced the Jupiter Rock Edition of the OnePlus 11. It has a back that is basically made of rock. Who asked for this?
  • Macro lenses: While a great telephoto lens can be an interesting addition to a solid lens collection, most of the time that’s not the case. Often, OEMs will throw in cheap 2MP macro lenses to make a phone look more premium than it is. In other words, the thought process is that more lenses = better cameras, which consumers are no longer fooled by.
  • Super fast charging: While it’s crazy to see 240W charging speeds on a smartphone (that’s fast enough to charge from empty to full in about ten minutes), who really needs that? These speeds are also said to be detrimental to the health of the battery, thus shortening the life of your phone.
  • Cooling systems: Lenovo Legion Duel 2 – a gaming phone – had a cooling fan built into it. While this is practical for a phone designed for gamers, it also made the phone unwieldy, prevented an IP rating, and made wireless charging impossible. It solved one problem at the expense of basic smartphone features. Likewise, OnePlus’ latest concept phone has a liquid cooling system that didn’t even work.

These gimmicks don’t help sell phones because they don’t give us what we really want: a great overall experience.

But what about phones in specific niches, like rugged phones? Is the rugged phone a gimmick? I’d argue it isn’t, but they also don’t sell in the numbers we’d see with something like the Galaxy S series. These phones exist for specific purposes for a specific consumer, so they get a special pass.

The current smartphone successes are all the evidence you need

Google Pixel 7 Pro camera housing

Robert Triggs/Android Authority

We know why smartphone manufacturers invest in these kinds of tricks. They obviously think they’ll help sell the phones or, at the very least, help their products stand out from the crowd. This is an odd strategy because the most successful phones tend to be relatively gimmick-free.

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Here in the US, the iPhone is by far the most popular smartphone. For the first time ever, Apple has more than 50% of the market in the US, leaving the other half to Android OEMs (mostly Samsung). The iPhone doesn’t have a lot of tricks. One could argue that Dynamic Island is a gimmick, but it’s one that consumers seem to enjoy, so it doesn’t really count.

Unsurprisingly, the most successful phones are also some of the most gimmick-free.

In second place, Samsung’s Galaxy S series also stands out as being gimmick-free. The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s S Pen may be a bit gimmicky for some. However, it’s also incredibly popular and a calling card for a premium Galaxy experience, so we’ll be happy to let this feature slip. Despite this, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus are pretty boring with how functional and no-nonsense they are. And guess what? The Galaxy S23 line is selling better than the Galaxy S22 line.

Of course, we can’t forget about Google’s pixel font. The Google Pixel 7 Pro doesn’t have any weird tricks up its sleeve, and was voted the best Android phone of 2022 by both Android Authority And our readers. It’s interesting that when Google gave up the tricks, it ended up selling more phones than ever before.

Obviously, phones can reach consumers without gimmicks. However, Dynamic Island and the S Pen show that there is still room for fun and doing things differently.

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However, phones can still be fun

None Phone Number 1 graphic on the back

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

We’ve already discussed plenty of examples of stupid smartphone tricks that get in the way of a good experience. However, some tricks work.

Take Nothing Phone 1, for example. The lights on the back of the device — officially known as The Glyph — appear to be a ridiculous gimmick. Once you use the phone, you will realize that it is actually an Android smartphone with a strange light show added. In other words, The Glyph can be ignored, and you’ll still get a great Android experience with a very fair cost-to-value ratio.

I’m not against the trick. There is plenty of room for fun features.

This is a great example of how doing tricks properly can be beneficial. Nothing crammed into The Glyph comes at the expense of wireless charging, a premium feel, or a decent camera system. Use the trick as a light garnish on top of a satisfying meal. It’s a beautiful detail that highlights an already well-done dish.

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Google’s Magic Eraser is another example of a gimmick that works. With the Pixel’s camera experience already being one of the best (if not the best) phone camera experiences available, the Magic Eraser feature exists as a useful tool for people looking to fix otherwise great photos. It was not Need Magic Eraser, but it’s practical and fun when you want it to be.

That’s all to say that smartphones don’t need to be boring. There’s plenty of room for fun gimmicks, cool aesthetics, and thought-provoking twists. But gimmicks can’t be the phone’s selling point. They must be side players.

OEMs will need to shift focus — or dump

Lenovo Legion Duel 2 1

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Remember Lenovo Legion Duel 2, the phone with an integrated cooling system? Unfortunately, this trick didn’t work out very well for Lenovo. Recently, the company confirmed this Android Authority He shut down the Legion’s smartphone arm.

We’ve also mentioned OnePlus several times in this article. This company is not doing well either. There is a rumor that it could pull out along with sister brand OPPO from the European market either this year or in 2024. OnePlus has lost all carrier partnerships in the US, and its latest flagship — the OnePlus 11 — hasn’t gotten strong reviews. Again, tricks don’t seem to have helped here.

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What do you think of smartphone scams?

146 votes

This all supports my central argument: scams don’t sell phones. We’ve settled on wanting phones that excel at the essentials: battery life, camera, screen, usability, performance, and so on. I could also argue that design is just as important here, though it’s more subjective than something like battery life. What doesn’t matter are the extra lenses, radar systems, cooling fans, rock-solid backboards, and all the other tricks we’ve seen.

Companies that are stuck in 2013 and think cool gimmicks will sell a lot of phones will need to wake up from that dream sooner rather than later. Apple and Samsung eat your lunch and do so without relying on gimmicks. Make your phones awesome at a competitive price and we’ll buy it. Simply.

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All of my favorite games this year are old

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I also installed the original version Final Fantasy, the game that debuted when I was three years old, on Sony’s most advanced console yet, I came to a realization: everything I played this year was outdated. Between remakes, new releases, and vintage collections, there’s been a flood of nostalgia. I personally welcomed it.

These kinds of releases aren’t new, of course. What was different during the early months was the huge amount of classic releases. Two of the biggest movies so far this year – dead space And Resident Evil 4 – is a remake of titles from more than a decade ago. Both are slick, slick updates that don’t look out of place among recent big-budget releases, but part of what makes them so attractive is how straightforward they are. There are no open worlds filled with endless quests or live service items to keep you coming back. And most of these design decisions date back to their ages, as these games were made at a completely different time with very different expectations. In my review of Resident Evil 4 A remake, I called it “a video game like this,” and I meant that as a compliment.

Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp.
Image: Nintendo

But they can also be a lot of work, frequently setting in to be all-consuming experiences that keep you hooked and never let go. Oh I love Fortnite Like everyone else, but that’s not all I want from my video games. Whether it is as complicated as RE4 Or simply put a scene from the opera Final Fantasy VI On my PS5, these games have returned a simplicity and focus I often find missing from their modern contemporaries. vampire And Final Fantasy They are very different experiences, but they give me the same feeling of a whole solo journey that I’m supposed to play through from start to finish. Same goes for the other old games I’ve been playing.

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Playing—and in many cases, replaying—these games was an exercise in reminding myself of what could be so great about a medium. The largest modern versions tend to imitate each other to the point where they are almost indistinguishable from one another. That’s what makes a lot of indie releases so exciting, and likewise, what keeps me coming back for all these new releases of old games — so it’s good to me that this trend shows no sign of stopping.

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NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell leaves Comcast due to ‘improper conduct’

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NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell will leave Comcast, effective immediately. The telecom giant made the surprising announcement in a brief press release Released on Sunday. After an investigation prompted by a complaint of improper conduct, Comcast says it has reached a “joint” decision with Shell that he should resign from his position.

“Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal. I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret,” Shell said in a joint statement. “I am really sorry that I left my colleagues at Comcast and NBCUniversal, they are the most talented people in this field and the opportunity to work with them over the past 19 years has been a privilege.”

Comcast has not named a successor to Shell. in a note obtained diverseComcast CEO Brian Roberts and President Mike Kavanagh told employees they were “disappointed” to share the news. “We built this company on a culture of integrity. Nothing is more important than how we treat each other. You must count on your leaders to create a safe and respectful workplace,” they wrote. “When our principles and policies are violated, we will always move quickly to take appropriate action, as we have done here.”

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Shell joined Comcast in 2004. He became CEO of NBCUniversal in 2020. That same year, he oversaw the launch of Peacock. Shell leaves NBCUniversal without making the streaming service profitable. At the beginning of the year, Comcast told investors that it had done so Added five million paid subscribers During the last three months of 2022. However, over the same period, the company lost nearly $1 billion while operating the service.

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