Samsung has no charging breakthrough planned for the Galaxy S21 5G series

By | October 21, 2020

While it’s definitely hard to get overly excited about a high-end handset family that’s almost certainly still at least four months away and widely rumored to bring modest upgrades and minor design revisions to the table compared to its moderately successful trio of forerunners, a number of recent reports may have done just that for quite a few potential Galaxy S21 series buyers.

Unfortunately, a well-known and generally reliable Twitter leaker essentially crushed all of our hopes over the weekend of seeing one of the exciting aforementioned pieces of gossip commercially materializing early next year. 
Ice Universe, aka @UniverseIce, is not mincing words or leaving a lot of room for doubt, instead deeming everyone who disagrees with his fast charging prediction for the upcoming 5G-enabled Galaxy S21 lineup flat out “wrong.”

Samsung will probably beat Apple but not Huawei or OnePlus

With 5G, especially in its blazing fast mmWave-based incarnation, taking such a heavy toll on battery life nowadays, and smartphone manufacturers looking physically incapable of increasing a handset’s cell size beyond a certain mark, consumers have become more and more interested in charging speeds of late.
After all, if there’s simply no way to make a mobile powerhouse last more than a day on a single charge, the least OEMs could do is get a depleted battery up and running as fast as possible. The word “possible”, of course, constantly changes its meaning in the ever-evolving mobile industry, with companies like Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus routinely pushing the envelope and stretching the limits of our imagination in this field.

The same doesn’t typically apply to the likes of Apple, Google, LG, Motorola, or Samsung, which have a tendency of playing things safe and staying a couple of steps behind the aforementioned China-based tech giants when it comes to charging speed upgrades and breakthroughs.

Case in point, the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra came equipped with 25W charging functionality several months after the 40W-supporting Huawei P40 Pro and Oppo Ace 2 were released. Ironically, the Note 20 duo was predated by the 45W-enabled Note 10+ and S20 Ultra, which set a precedent for the possibility of the S21 Ultra 5G matching the insane 65W capabilities of the OnePlus 8T 5G expected out later this week.
Alas, it seems that’s no longer a realistic possibility, although it remains somewhat unclear if Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series will cap off at 25 or 45W fast charging technology. Either way, that should be more than enough to eclipse the rumored 20W maximum speeds of Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup, which however doesn’t necessarily mean the S21 Ultra, for instance, will charge significantly faster than the iPhone 12 Pro Max in real life.

Numbers are not everything

You might be surprised to hear this, but no, that’s not only true for camera megapixels, CPU clock speeds, and screen resolution. Just like in those fields, numbers don’t always tell the full story as far as actual charging speeds go either, as proven by our Galaxy S20 Ultra tests a while back.
The S20 Ultra, mind you, comes with a 25W power brick in the box despite technically supporting 45W functionality, but upon inspecting Samsung’s 25 and 45-watt official charging accessories, we discovered the latter provided marginal improvements at best.

That being said, both chargers delivered excellent overall results, getting the hefty 5,000mAh battery under the hood of the 6.9-inch monster from 0 to 100 percent capacity in around an hour. That was much better than what the iPhone 11 trio could do using an 18-watt wall adapter, but something tells us Apple’s progress this year will be a lot more significant than what the aforementioned 20W number suggests.
Still, it’s going to be virtually impossible for the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 5G families to rival the real-world fast charging prowess of the OnePlus 8T 5G, which promises to deliver “a day’s power” in 15 minutes and go from 0 to 100 percent battery capacity in less than 40 minutes.
Of course, there’s a lot more to a good flagship device nowadays than a ridiculously fast-charging battery, although Ice Universe doesn’t expect the Galaxy S21 series to shine in any particular department, featuring “no breakthroughs” whatsoever apart from “conventional processor upgrades.” That… really doesn’t sound very exciting at all.

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