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A watched pot never boils, but Meizu just fully charged a phone before our eyes

Why it matters to you

Charging a smartphone battery is a pain, but Meizu’s new Super mCharge technology may have taken a bit step toward making it a lot less painful.

Chinese smartphone maker Meizu made a lot of people stand around in a busy hall at Mobile World Congress and watch a battery charge from zero to 100 percent. That sounds like the tech equivalent of watching paint dry, and also, due to the usual amount of time such a process takes, a very long demonstration. Except this was Meizu’s new Super mCharge technology, and the cell went from zero to 100 in just 20 minutes.

It was never going to be the most visually exciting demo, but it was compelling for a simple reason — fast charge systems are usually promoted as giving a chunk of power in that same 20 minute window, rather than filling the entire battery up. The gathered crowds had no idea whether the Meizu charging system would just do the same. Instead, it rocketed to 30 percent in five minutes, and continued on. The chunky 11v/5A charging block feeds 55 watts of power to the phone.

More: Our review of the Meizu MX6

Now, you may be concerned about safety standards, given recent battery-related explosions in the smartphone industry. Meizu says Super mCharge uses some clever circuitry inside the phone and charger to maximize efficiency, and the temperature won’t go beyond 39 degrees Centigrade (102 degrees Fahrenheit). This means it’s safe, and more reliable, too. Additionally, pushing the battery so hard during charging can reduce its longevity, but Meizu says a 3,000mAh battery with Super mCharge still has a lifetime of more than two years, and will still have 80 percent of its capacity available after 800 cycles.

While systems like OnePlus’s Dash Charge and Motorola’s TurboPower make charging less of a pain, neither completely fill the battery. Meizu’s Super mCharge has the potential to beat both, but it’s still in prototype stage, and we were told to expect a phone using it to be released before the end of the year. Great news, but we have also seen these tech demonstrations at Mobile World Congress before — Oppo’s Super VOOC battery charging for example — and are still waiting for the final product to arrive more than a year later.

One other thing: While we watched a battery charge up in 20 minutes, it’s difficult to assess whether it really worked, because we didn’t get to use the phone at either time.

Like most other fast charging systems, Super mCharge requires you to use a particular charger and cable, plus the phone and battery have to be Super mCharge compatible, meaning it’s a complete package that will only be available on Meizu’s hardware.