Some time ago after using USB chargers (and USB battery units) since late last century and having been constantly disappointed by their performance when charging phones, I started to get very selective. At the risk of boring experts in here, a short history…
The first change I started to make was to look for short, thick USB cables…. this is always a good thing. But the real breakthrough for me was noticing that the charger that came with my phone, even though small, performed considerably better than larger generic USB supplies. Why is that you might ask? Well, you’re probably aware of “QuickCharge 2.0 and 3.0” – essentially protocols for charging those phones suitably equipped, more rapidly than normal. Though charge leads that minimise voltage drops are essential, that’s not the end of the story and there are more protocols out there than QuickCharge, not all of which are documented. See further down for QuickCharge 4.0 and car Quick Charge chargers. This is getting exciting.
The trick here is that phones that support these protocols will handle charging voltages higher than 5v USB voltages. I’m not going to go into detail here (that's what Google is for), but the chargers raise the output voltage higher to get more rapid charging. Do that to a phone that does not support rapid charging and you could end up in serious trouble so I’ll leave it to you to do the research if you’re interested, but QuickCharge chargers (and most others which offer higher speed charging) will generally check to see if the phone is up to it before raising the voltage.
So, knowing that my phone supports quick charging (and in the case of the Xiaomi PocoPhone F1, which actually indicates rapid charging on the display with the message “charging fast”), I set out to test all of my wall-USB chargers. Generic USB points all failed miserably but out of all of my phone chargers, I found a total of three which do rapid charging. I stuck labels on them. Problem solved. Among the chargers that do NOT charge rapidly are a couple of Blitzwolfs and a Doogee charger.
That was some time ago and I’ve been a contented phone user since then, except in the car, so I went out and bought a 200w inverter for the car to provide 240v for my three super chargers. All well and good but the thing turns off every time the car stops and has to be manually switched back on each time. That alone is not a deal breaker but what is bad (and when I remember where I bought the inverter, the seller is going to get the worst feedback he or she has ever seen, trust me) is the interference coming from the invertor makes the phone keyboard unusable.
Finally, the quick charging does not work thanks to the poor voltage regulation of the inverter which means you could find (as I did) the phone charge unable to keep up with SatNav (Google Maps, TomTom etc) consumption in the car and eventually on a long trip, the phone dies. Disaster.
Well, it all came to a head today – right now we are in Northumberland, UK. We travel in Spain a lot and the last thing you want over there is a dead phone on some unknown road (well, anywhere really). I’d just finished griping about this to Maureen when we JUST HAPPENED to be in ASDA and I noted what I expected to be overpriced (compared to eBay) old-style USB battery packs no better than the eBay specials I’ve already tried.
We noted they sell rather pretty (which is how I noticed) MIXX Charge 10 and 15 units, both wired and wireless versions – honking great battery in a box.
I noted they claimed to be QuickCharge 3.0 compatible… but left the store empty handed. After we left I commented that it might have been worth opening the unit in the store and if it was any good, checking eBay which would surely be much cheaper. I was wrong again – well, only partly this time.
Not only does the Maxx range quick charge my phone (wheeeee) but the ASDA price was WAY cheaper than either eBay or Amazon – who amazing is THAT? We figured I must’ve read the price incorrectly as we’re not talking a few % price difference – for each model, the ASDA price (they are not my favourite store before you ask) but the price difference was/is MASSIVE. We drove to the NEXT ASDA and bought the MIxx 15.
I immediately plugged the unit into my PocoPhone which was down to 33% charge and falling… and headed off home (the battery in the unit had a 60% charge on purchase). By the time we got home less than half an hour later, the phone battery was up to 75%, despite me using the phone along the way, as I do, on the Internet with the screen at 90% brightness. The Mixx unit was now down to below 50% charge.
It is worth noting that this unit doesn’t get charged anywhere NEAR as fast as it charges phones, so best keep it topped up and if travelling, charge overnight after use. Indeed after such a blistering performance at charging my phone I’m sitting here baulking at how long it is taking to charge the unit itself – but then I should not be surprised given that they claim 15,000mAH battery capacity. In the time it has taken me to write this, the Mixx unit has increased from below 50% to 52% charge – it is going to take a while.
Further to a conversation with Leo in here, I’m on the lookout now for Quick Charge 4.0 car phone chargers – Quite cheap. I’ve also discovered the AccuBattery App on the Android Playstore and recommendations not to quick charge over 37c – and to limit charge below 100% to increase battery life. I guess that latter point applies as much to a charging battery unit as much as to the phones. Mind you, getting temperatures below 37c is going to be fun in Spanish summers.