The smartphone “charging wars” are predominantly fought on the wired front where some companies already passed the 100W thresh hold giving you a full 0-100% charge in around or even under 20 minutes. But every now and then the battle is carried over on the wireless front where makers are also reaching speeds that were unthinkable a couple of years ago.
One such device is the vivo X80 Pro which we reviewed not too long ago and which supports 50W wireless charging. The only catch is that you need a specialized wireless charging stand. We recently received one such charger at our office – vivo’s 50W Wireless Flash Charger and are now ready to report on what it enables.
In order to achieve blazing fast charging times, vivo X80 Pro has a dual-cell battery with two charge pumps – an industry-standard approach used on most new flagship phones nowadays. With its combined battery cell capacity of 4,700mAh, X80 Pro managed an unimpressive 79 hours in our proprietary battery endurance test. X80 Pro ships with a bundled 80W FlashCharge adapter (20V / 4A) and corresponding USB-C cable. In our wired charging test, we reached peak charging power of 65-66W at 17V and 4A resulting in a full charge of 39 minutes.
vivo claims the 50W Wireless Flash Charger can charge up the X80 Pro to 50% in 23 minutes while a full charge should take 50 minutes or just 11 more minutes than the 80W wired FlashCharge solution. The company obviously confirms the actual charging power is “dynamically adjusted” and is “subject to actual use” – meaning you should not expect 50W power blasting the phone at all times.
The majority of devices that support Qi-wireless charging can charge at up to 15W speeds. You’ll need to use a vivo or iOOO charger that supports 66W (or higher) FlashCharge and a compatible USB cable to reach the 50W wireless charging speeds.
Some quick words on the 50W Wireless FlashCharge charger. It features a dual-coil design that lets you place your phone in either portrait or landscape orientations – the latter being useful if you want to watch a video while your phone is charging. The cradle features a 60-degree tilt and a built-in cooling fan on the bottom, reaching up to 3,600 RPM.
The charging pad brings a white and silver look with a glossy surface on the charging cradle area and a frosted finish on the back all made from plastic. There’s also a frosted transparent bit upfront that holds the device you’re charging. Vivo is bringing a special nighttime charging mode on its supported phones where the fan will limit itself to 27Db so that your sleep is not disturbed. It won’t be nearly as fast, but that doesn’t really matter if you are overnighting your phone anyway.
The back of the charger features a USB-C port so you can safely switch out cables if needed. Speaking of cables it’s a bit disappointing to see no cable or power adapter in the charger’s retail packaging given its $70 retail price (currently down to $40).
The wireless charger weighs in at 196 grams while the X80 Pro’s 80W bundled charger and cable come in at an additional 150 grams so if you’re traveling somewhere and want to bring your 50W FlashCharge charger and use its maximum power note that you’ll be carrying nearly 350 grams worth of equipment, not counting the phone itself.
In our testing, we measured 58 minutes for a full charge on the vivo X80 Pro. That’s 8 minutes more than the vivo claimed 50-minute full charge time. We should factor in the room temperature as a variable that may have altered the results. From our data, we can see the phone reached a 11% charge in just 5 minutes and got to 50% in 27 minutes. The X80 Pro sat at 89% after 50 minutes and reached 100% after 58 minutes.
vivo X80 Pro with the vivo 50W Wireless Flash Charger (4,700 mAh)
The charger’s fan was barely audible throughout the charge cycle and did not cause any disturbance. We did not notice excessive heat coming from the phone during the charging procedure. We also took the device off of the charger as soon as it reached 100% and it was slightly warm to the touch than in its idle state but not unbearably hot like after a challenging benchmarking session.
For the sake of comparison, we also tried out an iQOO 9 Pro – another phone that officially supports the 50W Wireless Flash Charger. The device shares the same 4,700 mAh dual-cell battery as the vivo X80 Pro. The iQOO 9 Pro managed a full 0-100% charge in 47 minutes – 13 minutes quicker than its vivo X80 Pro cousin. The phone was already at 18% 10 minutes into the test and reached the 50% mark in 24 minutes. From there it was smooth sailing with 62% after 30 minutes, 84% in 40 minutes and the full 100% in 47 minutes.
iQOO 9 Pro with the vivo 50W Wireless Flash Charger (4,700 mAh)
Last but not least we also tested last year’s vivo X70 Pro+ which was the first phone to support 50W wireless FlashCharge charging. It completed the full charge in 70 minutes – 7 slower than the newer vivo X80 Pro and 23 minutes slower than the iQOO 9 Pro. All of this while carrying a smaller 4,500 mAh battery shows us the advancements made by vivo in a single generation of flagships.
vivo X70 Pro+ with the vivo 50W Wireless Flash Charger (4,500 mAh)
So what are the takeaways from this little experiment? Wireless charging is getting seriously fast and is slowly creeping up on wired solutions. Unfortunately, there are a few barriers to entry with all the different proprietary chargers and power cables that only work with a select few handsets from a single maker. Here’s a recap of our findings in the form of chart and we’ve added MagSafe and charging times on an iPhone 12 Pro as a comparison for good measure.
So even if your brand new flagship supports 50W wireless charging you’ll still need to shell out an additional sum for a specific wireless charger to take advantage of that feature and it will have to be paired with the right cable and plug to work.
At the end of the day having a phone that can fully charge its battery in under 50 minutes without a plug is a pretty cool feat and we can only hope more brands bring this tech to their devices heading forward. We also hope that makers will work to unify their wireless fast charging solutions so we don’t end up in a situation similar to the wired charging where you have to pick between speed and compatibility, when purchasing your chargers.