Watts are the new megapixels – the numbers race is going at full speed in the field of fast charging on smartphones. While some choose not to partake (Apple and Samsung, but also Google and Sony), others are pumping out power figures unthinkable until recently. We only just got to experience Realme’s 240W solution on the GT3 and you can read about our findings in that phone’s full review.
But 240W is no longer the most watts someone is dumping on a phone’s battery – and no, we don’t mean Redmi’s 300W lab test from a while back.
We now have Infinix’s All-Round Fast Charge that has 260W stamped on the box, and it’s a box that’s with us in the office. And they also have a wireless one rated at 110W, possibly even more impressive in its own context. We got to clock both and have some pretty wild numbers to report on.
There’s a small caveat to mention before we proceed though. While Realme’s 240W charging is to be found in a production device and the Redmi is seemingly on a test bench somewhere, the Infinix solution is somewhere inbetween. The company is apparently confident enough in its tech that it doesn’t mind sending it out to reviewers, but it’s not a commercial-grade product you can find in a store, yet. Infinix promises we’ll get an actual commercial ready product this year though, so not much waiting left to do.
The phone that is the vehicle to showcase the All-Round Fast Charge is a modified version of the Infinix Zero Ultra. The changes include a slightly smaller battery capacity (4,400mAh vs. 4,500mAh on the standard phone) and the addition of an induction coil – the Zero Ultra doesn’t support wireless charging. It’s worth pointing out that the ‘garden variety’ Zero Utlra itself is no slouch when it comes to charging speed claiming 180W speed and 12 minutes time from empty to full.
The Demo Infinix Fast charging phone arrived in a specially designed box with the flashy numbers stamped on the lid. The included 260W adapter is quite chunky, as is the wireless charging pad – if you can even call it a pad. A single USB-C cable is included and that one is used for eitehr directly charging the phone from the adapter or delivering power from the adapter to the induction charger.
Infinix’s documentation mentions they’re using a 12C battery – that is to say it can theoretically be charged in 5 minutes (60 minutes divided by the C rating). It’s also saying they’re using a 4 pump system, as opposed to the 2 pump we’ve seen in earlier fast-charging designs. In our understanding that means they’re actually charging two separate batteries, and the voltage reported by Android does suggest they have two batteries wired in series – it’s 7.4V nominal, as opposed to the usual 3.7V.
The GaN AC adapter is rated at up 20V/13A, and the bundled cable is also rated to support the 13 amps.
As for the wireless charging ‘dock’ (as they call it, which may in fact be more appropriate than the ‘pad’ we’d normally go with), it allows for both vertical and horizonal placement of the phone and has a built-in fan to help with heat dissipation. The fan is pretty loud in our experience, though being an ultra-fast wireless charger it probably has no place on your bedside table anyway.
Infinix details that they’ve implemented 142 hardware and software measures to protect the phone and peripherals during the high-speed charging, 21 of those – temperature sensors. The company’s internal testing has proven that the battery will have retained 90% of its original capacity after 1000 charge-discharge cycles, or what they say is two years of use – so they are implying some pretty heavy use.
Infinix did specify a testing procedure for attaining the advertised charging speeds. While normally it wouldn’t be logical to expect a user to conform to a pre-set procedure in real-life, their recommendations weren’t out-of-this world, and were somewhat closely aligned with our usual testing methodology, so the results are conveniently comparable with those you see in the Charging speed section of our reviews.
What they requested was that we discharge the phone to 4% state of charge (presumably rapidly), and let it sit for half an hour until it drops to 1% on its own. It’s this particular bit of the procedure that we didn’t observe quite as strictly, but there was at least a 15-minute period between the rapid discharge phase and the start of the charge that we let the phone idle at 1% so that its internal temperatures drop.
The tests were carried out at room temperature, which for this particular reviewer’s living room was at least a couple of degrees lower than the suggested 25˚C. The phone was kept on for the tests, and wasn’t disturbed during the process, so its screen was off.
In our testing of the wired charging, the Demo phone reached a reported 100% after being plugged in for 6:27mins, though it did continue to draw power for a while more and Android reported a battery ‘full’ state 7:51mins after the start. Technically, it’s the first number that we publish in our reviews and it’s common practice for phones to report 100% a short amount of time before actually reaching the full state and cutting of the charging.
We did get to 25% in the first 60 seconds, as promised in the Infinix documentation, while a 50% state of charge was reached in 2:13mins.
You could say that was our most ‘standard’ run, but we did repeat it a couple more times and on one of the runs we got 5:48mins to 100%, while another took 7:13mins and in both of these cases the phone reported a ‘full’ state in 8:40mins and change. No anomalies in temperatures were observed and all three runs maxed out at 47 degrees at the very end of the process.
We’d say no changes to the testing procedure were introduced between the runs, but we did have a power meter plugged in between the phone and its cable for the 7:13-minute run. That may or may not have impacted its performance, but we’re leaning on ‘may’ since that run was the least speedy in the early stages. That’s pretty much why we’re refraining from posting the readings of the power meter – we reckon it’s another case of ‘observing the phenomenon alters the phenomenon’.
When charging wirelessly, the Infinix Demo phone reached 100% in 14:28mins and it needed another 3 minutes to report a ‘full’ state at 17:34mins. At the 5-minute mark we were looking at 44%, the 50% state was reached at 6:05mins, and 10 minutes into it we were at 73%.
We don’t keep a database of wireless charging speeds, simply because we often don’t get to test with a particular phone’s ‘best’ wireless charger and it’s one of those areas where proprietary solutions make all the difference. It often does in wired charging, but in you typically get the phone-specific wired chargers in the box in those cases. Anyway, here’s how the Infinix charging compares to some notable phone models.
Time to full charge (from 0%)
Lower is better
|Infinix Demo (wired)||
|Infinix Demo (wireless)||
|Xiaomi 13 Pro||
|vivo X90 Pro||
|Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra||
|Sony Xperia 1 IV||
|Google Pixel 7 Pro||
|Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max||
* Tap/hover over the device names for more info
In lieu of a conclusion
We have split opinions on super-fast charging in the office. That is to say, some of us love it for its practicality, other hate it for its perceived impact on battery longevity. The thing is, while the longevity argument is more of a theoretical one since an actual objective long-term test in the real world with comparison to ‘slow’ charging is nearly impossible, the practicality benefits of fast charging can be observed immediately.
There’s a question that inevitably arises – how fast is fast enough? Half an hour? Ten minutes? Five? There’s no such thing as ‘fast enough’? Well, we’ll try to stay away from philosophical debates of this kind – if we can’t settle it between ourselves, who are we to answer it for you. We’re just a bunch of guys with a demo phone, a couple of chargers, and a stopwatch.