It’s an issue that’s completely irritating. Even I have been affected by this – and learned the hard way.

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A Common Situation:

You just bought a new Powerbank or power adaptor that supposedly does “fast charging” – Excitedly, you bought it! But Alas, your phone charges very slowly on this new gadget you bought. BUT WHY?!

Fortunately, you clicked on this webpage. So now, you’ll learn how to choose the right powerbank, and not (ever) get scammed into buying a slow “fast-charging” powerbank again.

But before I can delve further, I think it’s best you get a very basic understanding of electricity and how to measure it.  So here’s a quick Crash course – If you look closely at the text imprinted on the powerbank (or adaptor) which you have, most of them will have Voltage (v) and Ampere (A) ratings on them. The maximum power your powerbank or adapter can charge your phone, stems from this equation:

                                       Power (in Watts) = Voltage (V) x Ampere (A)

The problem with USB/USB-C Powerbanks and Power adaptors: TOO MANY Standards that are out there and not many consumers know the differences! You see, Different phone manufacturers tend to incorporate their own charging standards and protocols when it comes to quick charging. Let me provide this table of the different charging standards that are currently available in the market, which is VERY long, but still, not completely exhaustive (!).

Charging Standard Name Description Maximum Power Delivered to Device Remarks
Basic USB Protocol/

Qualcomm QuickCharging v1

The most basic amount of power that is usually supplied to USB devices.

 

 

 

5V, 0.5A (or 500mA) if Device is connected to a computer USB Ports, and up to 2A for most power adaptors

(most devices can support up to 2A of Current)

This translates to between 2.5 – 10watts

In fact, maybe no standard here. Almost any Charging Device can take up to 5V 2A easily, so long as it’s a USB-powered device

 

(Devices don’t check for support – you’re limited by each device maximum allowable amount of current)

Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 (QC2.0)

 

(Requires Charging and Power source to both Support this standard)

Used in some older Qualcomm smartphones (Up to Snapdragon 805)

 

 

5, 9 or 12V, Up to 3A

 

(10 to 36 Watts)

 

Most Smartphones only actually use either 5 or 9v charging.

 

5V, 2A = 10W (Same as above)

9V, 1.8A =  16.2W

 

Very few (none to my knowledge) of the smartphones use higher than 2A under QC2.0. so far the 12V Standard only can be found in powerbanks.

Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging This is very similar to Quick Charging 2.0, and is used exclusively in Samsung Devices (or any devices running on Samsung Exynos Processor) – Up to the Galaxy S10!

In fact, Samsung Power Adaptors are also backward compatible with Quick Charge 2.0

5V up to 2A,

9V up to 1.8A

Powerbank must still specifically support Samsung Fast Charging Standard, otherwise Samsung devices will NOT “fast charge”

 

 

Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 (QC3.0) Used in Many current generation Smartphones with snapdragon processors Voltage can vary Between 3.6 to 12V, and the device can charge at up to 3A of current, with voltage  and current output depending on many factors, including temperature, battery health and percentage of charge in device. The maximum amount of power that is transferred Can be customized (to a certain extent) by each smartphone manufacturer.

 

For Example, LG V20 charges at 9V, up to 1.8A.

Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 (QC4.0) Used in a number of Snapdragon Based Devices.

 

Adds compatibility with USB PD+ to ensure better compatibility (See below)

3.6 to 20V, with current adjustments in 200mv increments, at up to 2.5 or 4.6A.

 

Smartphones with QC 4.0 can support up to 3A charging max, if connected to a USB-PD Charging Source.

Confusing part! Just because the phone has a new Snapdragon 850, does not mean that it supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0.

 

There are a number of these devices that do not support QC4.0 Even though they sport a very recent snapdragon processor (Even Snapdragon 850).

USB PD+ The official USB standard that *should* have been the universal standard that “united” the different manufacturers.

Prerequisites:

To charge with USB PD+, your power adaptor must be USB PD Compliant (NOT JUST QUICK CHARGING!) and Must be connected by a USB-C to USB-C cable to the device.

5,9,15V up to 3A

(15-45W)

20V up to 5A (100w)

Phones usually charge at the 9V setting.

15 and 20V are usually found in laptops/tablets that charge over USB C

(E.g. Apple’s newer Macbooks)

 

Unfortunately, there are still a few devices that do not support this standard

 

By the way: the Iphone X and above supports quick charging via USB PD+

Huawei Supercharge Only found in higher-end Huawei devices 5 or 9V up to 2A

10V up to 4A

Oppo Super VOOC Only for Some Oppo Devices 5V, up to 10A (!)

(Older devices up to 5A)

 

As you can tell, that’s a TON of standards that are in the market. This makes it quite tricky to tell if the aftermarket charger or powerbank you bought from Amazon/Qoo10/Lazada works well with your smartphone. For example, Even though the powerbank you bought may list that it supports 9V or 12V Charging, it does not immediately guarantee that your phone will actually “Fast Charge” with the device. For example, I have a 20000mah Baseus “Fast-Charging” Powerbank that listed support for 9 and 12 V Charging, But it could not support “Fast-Charging” on my Samsung Galaxy Note 9 on the USB-A Port.

According to the manufacturer, while the powerbank supports 9V Charging, the Samsung fast Charge standard was NOT supported. The device only supported the USB PD+ and Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 Standards, so this meant I Had to buy a USB-C to USB-C cable to get “Quick charging” to work on my Galaxy Note 9.

Obviously, such a bummer. But at least can use via the USB-C port. Heng ah….

To Make Things Worse….Meaningless Numbers?!

Yes, It actually gets worse. Some Powerbank manufacturers go the extra mile to “Fake” that their powerbank can charge faster because it can output more power at the same voltage. The most common one?

5.0V, 3A (or even 4A!) output over a single USB Port. (Stares at a certain A____ Brand powerbank) First Glance?

“Wow, this powerbank is SO sick and slim, supports 15W Charging!”

But I’m Sorry to say, in reality, you will only see up to 2A on that 5V Powerbank. No matter what you do! Why? You may ask.

Well, Go back to my long table above. Do you see any standards that *actually* support 5V at 3A? Just one – the Oppo Super VOOC Charging. The best part? This powerbank (I’ve used before) does not support OPPO Super VOOC Charging either!!

Hence that 3A Output is basically nothing more than technical jargon to mislead customers into thinking their powerbank is fast charging, even though it actually isn’t.

So, How do I ensure I get a powerbank or adaptor that actually Quick charges My device??

 A. Check if the Standards Supported by your phone, is Supported by the prospective powerbank or charger.

Any Reputable powerbank manufacturer will disclose the product information in full detail. This includes information about the various types of voltage and current output supported, and the standards they support.

If you want your powerbank to charge fast with your Huawei P30 Pro, for example, you’ll need the powerbank that supports Huawei Supercharge. To double-confirm that this actually will happen, Check the voltage/current output of the powerbank, and ensure that 10V Charging is Supported.

B. Buy from reputable Brands

This one goes without a saying. First off, It’s not expensive to buy from reputable Brands.

There are lots of no-brand powerbanks that differentiate themselves with super cheap prices, or fancy designs. The problem (especially with super cheap ones), is that they usually do not have fast charging. Worse still, some of them have fake capacities (Meaning they claim the powerbank has 40000mah, but in reality the powerbank has a much smaller capacity).

See a nice, cute, no-brand pikachu powerbank being sold online or in a pasar malam? Well Pikachu is powerful enough to give you a zap, but he isn’t good at charging phones. Most likely you’ll get slow charging out of that cheap powerbank

And wait, there’s more. See those thick powerbanks that look like Xiaomi Powerbanks in Pasar Malams? DON’T BUY THEM. THEY ARE MOSTLY FAKES. Scout around youtube, and you’ll be shocked. Sometimes, it’s so bad that they use Sand inside battery cells (to replicate the weight!). In general, lousy build quality..

My recommendation? Genuine Xiaomi Powerbanks Tend to be my favourite. They not only work well (and clearly state the standards they support), but are very competitively priced too.  By it directly from their Mi Stores or Lazada Lazmall. If you want to explore other brands, Anker, Aukey and Basueus are also not bad, but ALWAYS check that the charging standards supported by that device, is supported on your phone first!

Pro Tip: Particularly with Anker and Basueus, some of their powerbanks are cheap but they cut bank on the standards that the powerbank/adaptor supports).

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This Anker 20000mah powerbank is a good example.  While it seemed to support 5, 9 and 12V Charging, further reading of the fine print states that It only supports fast charging via the USB PD Port, meaning your device MUST support USB PD for this to work. The best part? This particular model does not charge if your power adaptor does not support USB PD! What a bummer! (Stay tuned to a future review)

This leads me to my next point

C: In doubt? Ask the customer service, or try it out yourself first (if you can!)

The customer service of each (reputable) brand will be able to advice if their powerbank will support fast charging on your device. So if you have doubts about the fast charging support, try asking first.

If you’re buying online, always buy from reputable online sites like Lazada or Qoo10, which have  return policies (Lazada tends to be my preferred choice). This would allow you to raise a dispute and return the powerbank in the event that the powerbank seller cheated you and gave you a fake or poor quality powerbank.

I hope this article has helped you substantially, so your next powerbank or power adaptor will actually charge your tech gadgets fast!

If you have any further questions, be sure to leave a comment – I’ll see how I can explain this complicated matter better.

For now, Be sure to like our #TechWithAaron Facebook Page, and Stay updated and smart on technology 😉