Sep 25th, 2015

If there’s one thing that smartphone users universally complain about, it’s battery life. Making it through the day on a single charge is still a struggle for many devices. One solution to this problem is something Samsung calls “Fast Charging.” It doesn’t give you better battery life, but it makes the process of charging your phone less of a hassle.

The one downside with Fast Charging is it requires a wired connection. Most flagship phones these days have wireless charging built in, but it’s useless if you want to do Fast Charging. What if you could have all the benefits of both Fast Charging and wireless charging? Samsung has done exactly that with the Fast Wireless Charger. I’ve been testing the charging speeds for the last couple of days to see exactly how fast it really is.

The Test

Samsung wireless chargers

Samsung claims the Fast Wireless Charger is “1.4x faster than standard wireless charging pads,” which they say can reduce charging time by 50 minutes. I wanted to test the charging speed for myself, and then compare it to other wireless and fast charging methods.

Before we get too deep, it’s worth noting that the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus are the only devices compatible with the Fast Wireless Charger. It can charge any Qi-compatible device at normal speeds, but you’ll only get the fast speeds on those two devices. I used the Note 5 in my testing.

For my comparisons, I used the standard old Samsung Wireless Charging Pad and Samsung Fast Charging USB charger that comes with the Note 5. I took the phone down to 0% battery and placed it on the charging pad (or plugged it in) while leaving the device powered off the entire time. Every five minutes I pressed the power button and recorded the battery percentage.

The Results

Charge Chart

This test was about seeing if Fast Wireless Charging is, well, fast. As you can see in the chart above, it certainly is. The Samsung Fast Wireless Charger took my Note 5 from 0-100% in just under 2 hours. Samsung’s claim of reducing charge time by 50 minutes was actually an undersell in my testing, as the old wireless charger took over 3 hours.

If you look at just the total charging time you’ll see that the wired and wireless Fast Charging aren’t far off. But to get the whole story you have to look at the entire line. Wired Fast Charging is quicker out of the gates and pulls away after 30 minutes. Fast Wireless Charging was able to make it seem close by not slowing down quite so much at the end.

Fast Wireless Charging was still very impressive. In just 30 minutes you can get 30% charge. That’s what fast charging is all about: getting some quick juice so you can complete your day.

Conclusion

samsung fast wireless charger 2

The Fast Wireless Charger exceeded my expectations. I expected it to be faster than the old wireless charging, but I didn’t expect it to be so close to wired. If you love wireless charging like I do, this is a game changer. You can keep the convenience of a charging pad and still get all the benefits of Fast Charging.

The Fast Wireless Charging Pad costs $40 more than the old wireless charging pad. If you use wireless charging a lot, it’s definitely worth it. If you don’t care so much about wireless charging, but still want the blazing fast speeds, you can get the wired Fast Charger for around $15. Just make sure your device supports it.

Nerd Stats

I used an app called Ampere to measure the charging current of all three methods. I clocked the Fast Wireless Charger at 610 mA. The old wireless charger only reached 390 mA. Wired Fast Charging hit a top current of 1020 mA. This probably isn’t the most accurate way of measuring the current, and the numbers might be different depending on the current charge level of the phone, but it gives you a general idea.