Fight the power! We find out which smartphone charges the fastest

LG G5 Review
Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends
The one thing absolutely everyone does with their smartphone is charge it up. It doesn’t matter if you’re a high-flying entrepreneur, a retiree, or a social butterfly; there will come a time when you have to juice it up. The question is, how long must your phone stay plugged into a charger? The most obvious answer is “as long as it takes,” but we can do a little better than that.

Not every phone has the same battery capacity, or even the same charging technology, so it stands to reason some will top off faster than others. There are also third-party chargers available, if you need a spare or replacement, but do they perform the same? We’ve been charging up a series of phones, using the standard chargers and pitting them against the Aukey Quick Charger, to bring you the ultimate guide to the fastest charging smartphones.

The Best

Oppo F1 Plus

Oppo VOOC Charger
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends.com

Battery capacity: 2,850mAh

The phone that charged the quickest in our tests is one from a Chinese brand you may not know. Oppo’s F1 Plus is a larger version of the Oppo F1, and using the supplied USB cable and standard VOOC charger, the F1 Plus zoomed from 1 percent to 100 percent in a mere 1 hour and 11 minutes.

Shooting that much energy through a cable and into a phone so quickly must have seen it heat up like a toaster oven, right? Wrong, the phone, charger, and cable all stayed at a normal temperature throughout the charging process. This is due to the clever circuitry inside the VOOC charger, which manages the current delivered to the phone in a different way than other systems, and thus keeps the temperature low and improves charging efficiency. Oppo says the battery will reach a 75-percent charge in 30 minutes, and this certainly seemed likely in our testing.

Oppo has a second version of VOOC coming soon, called the Super VOOC, that promises even faster charging. With the latter, it may be possible to fully charge your battery in a mere 15 minutes, and we’re inclined to believe the claims based on the F1 Plus’s performance here. Read our full Oppo F1 Plus review.

The Rest

OnePlus 3

OnePlus Dash Charge
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends.com

Battery capacity: 3,000mAh

The newest OnePlus smartphone is currently sitting near the top of the charts. The standard Dash charger and supplied USB Type-C cable took the battery from 2 percent to 100 percent in 1 hour and 14 minutes.

Like Oppo’s VOOC system, the OnePlus 3 didn’t heat up drastically, and only during the first 10 percent was the body noticeably warmer than before. This may not be a coincidence, because Oppo has strong ties to OnePlus, and the Dash charger may be closely related. OnePlus hasn’t incorporated fast charging into any of its phones before.

The OnePlus 3 has a 3,000mAh battery, and therefore compares very favorably to the F1 Plus’ recharge time. Again, to see such a fast charge time, you’ll need to use the OnePlus Dash charger and USB cable. Read our full OnePlus 3 review.

LG G5

LG G5 Review
Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

Battery capacity: 2,800mAh

The LG G5 supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge system, but how well does it work? The phone comes with a quick charger and USB Type-C cable, and we plugged it in when our phone was at 2 percent. Leaving the phone switched off throughout the process, it reached 100 percent in 1 hour and 18 minutes. That said, the phone reached 60 percent in just under 30 minutes.

Very little heat was generated during the charging process — just a little at the start of the charge — but both the phone and charger were slightly warm to the touch. Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 is supposed to be four times faster than conventional charging methods, and uses some clever algorithms for optimum power transfer and maximum efficiency. The latter are part of the processor’s armory, and are also incorporated into other Qualcomm chips, such as the 620 and the 430. Read our full LG G5 review.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung Fast Charger
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends.com

Battery capacity: 3,000mAh

Because some Galaxy S7 phones use an Exynos processor and others use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, the S7 range only supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 system. Will that make it noticeably slower to charge than the LG G5, though? The battery was flat on our S7 Edge, and the phone turned off when it hit 2 percent. Using the standard fast charger and MicroUSB cable included with the phone, it reached 100 percent after 1 hour and 26 minutes.

While not drastically different than the G5 — note the difference in capacity — to get 75 percent through the charge took 1 hour, which would have taken less time to achieve on the G5. Qualcomm says Quick Charge 3.0 is 38 percent more efficient than Quick Charge 3.0, which appears to be reflected here. Read our full Galaxy S7 Edge review.

Apple iPhone 6S Plus

Apple iPhone 6S Plus
Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

Battery capacity: 2,750mAh

Apple is different from everyone else, and doesn’t claim to have a system for quickly charging the battery. Using the 2-amp, 5-volt Apple charger is the key to achieving a decent recharge time, and the 1-amp chargers are almost useless. Using the Apple charger and a standard Lightning cable, the iPhone 6S Plus took the better part of 2 hours to go from a 2 percent to 100 percent. Read our full iPhone 6S review.

Aukey USB Quick Charger

Aukey USB Quick Charger
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends.com

If you lose your original charger, or want a second one for the office or a bedroom, then consider the Aukey USB Quick Charger, which promises support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 system. That makes it suitable for the G5 and almost every other phone on our list. The question is, does it match up to the manufacturers claims? Here’s how it performed.

  • The LG G5 with a standard USB Type-C cable charged from 2 percent to 100 percent in 1 hour and 29 minutes.
  • The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with a standard MicroUSB cable charged from 3 percent to 100 percent in 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The Aukey was slower than the standard charger, but not by much, given the charge times were nearly identical. Once again, the G5 managed to reach 60-percent capacity in 30 minutes with the Aukey charger, while the S7 Edge was closer to 50 minutes.

Both these phones are designed for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge system, but what about those that aren’t?

  • The iPhone 6S Plus took 2 hours 45 minutes to fully charge using a Native Union Lighting cable. The Huawei P9, which is equipped with a 3,000mAh battery, doesn’t have fast charging. With its USB Type C cable, the P9 took 2 hours to go from 2 percent to full.

Ultimately, the Aukey charger won’t give your phone super charging powers if it doesn’t already have them, but it works without issue on those phones that already have the technology. The OnePlus and Oppo phones use their own fast charging technology, which are not supported by any other chargers.

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