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USB-C PD, PPS, and fast chargers

USB-C PD, PPS, and fast chargers

In-box chargers have largely disappeared from the phone marketplace, but there’s a bright side to that loss. Some of the best phone chargers on the market include multiple ports, fast charging capabilities for the best Android phones, and the ability to simultaneously charge up all your other gadgets as well, making them a more versatile bet.

However, finding a charger supporting all the standards can be challenging. For example, if you’re considering a Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy phone, you’ll need a charger that not only supports USB Power Delivery (USB PD) but also Programmable Power Supply (PPS).

Since PPS is an additional specification accompanying the USB PD standard, not every PD charger is equipped to handle it, making it a challenge to locate a compatible charger that fits your other specifications. Not to worry. To ease your search, we’ve made it our mission to select the top USB PD chargers that also offer PPS support. These chargers are ideal for charging existing and upcoming smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other devices that rely on the new charging standards.

Why does PPS matter?

Inevitably, as is the case with all technology, smartphones are getting more powerful with every generation. As battery technology lags behind those lightning-fast leaps in smartphone development cycles, manufacturers are forced to innovate. If their batteries can’t last for days on end, at least we can make them charge at a breakneck pace — that seems to be the mantra championed by smartphone designers these days.

USB Power Delivery (USB PD) is one of the fast-charging standards that has gained serious recognition over the last few years. It comes from the folks responsible for maintaining the USB standard: USB Implementers Forum or USB-IF. USB PD is excellent, and its latest Extended Power Range (EPR) specification supports up to 240W of power to mobile devices through the USB standard. That said, EPR chargers and cables are still a few years away from widespread availability.

Conventional power bricks and tiny chargers already breathe life into millions of smartphones, tablets, speakers, earbuds, gaming consoles, and laptops. Early versions of USB PD lacked support for step-wise voltage variation, causing chargers to provide higher voltage levels than needed by the devices. The device’s battery would then have to adjust the voltage and current as necessary. The result was a voltage difference between what was sent from the charger and what was used by the battery creating wasted power and a lot of unnecessary heat.

PPS was introduced as a supplemental specification to the USB PD 3.0 standard to fix this issue; PPS allows devices to request a specific voltage and current to optimize battery charging time. Consequently, reduced power conversion loss and heat dissipation contribute to better long-term battery health. Not surprisingly, this likely explains why manufacturers like Google and Samsung incorporate PPS technology into their smartphones and tablets.

Which fast charging protocol does your phone use?

While practically any charger can juice up your phone, guaranteeing fast charging, especially with a conventional power brick, is uncertain. To ensure rapid, energy-efficient charging, check to see if your phone supports one of the modern power standards, then purchase an accessory with the protocol built-in.

Below, we’ll explore the fast-charging protocols commonly employed by smartphone manufacturers and the corresponding charging speeds you can anticipate.

  • Samsung: The company uses Samsung Super Fast Charging and Samsung Super Fast Charging 2.0 technologies, which are based on USB Power Delivery (USB PD) and Programmable Power Supply (PPS). Most Samsung phones have 25W fast charging support, but some flagships also support 45W charging.
  • Google: Pixel phones use USB PD with PPS, with fast charging speeds ranging from 18W to 30W.
  • Motorola: The company’s TurboPower fast charging technology uses both Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 and USB PD, depending on the phone. The top charging speeds range from 18W to 68W. If your Motorola phone supports higher than 20W charging, there is an excellent chance its TurboPower module is using USB PD instead of QuickCharge 3.0.
  • OnePlus: The OnePlus phones employ SuperVOOC and WarpCharge fast charging protocols, with top speeds going up to 125W. There is also support for USB PD, but you’ll likely get anywhere from 10W to 30W, depending on your phone.
  • Asus: ROG phone models use USB PD 3.0 and Qualcomm QuickCharge 5.0 with a top speed of 65W. However, ZenFone models use QuickCharge 4.0 or USB PD and PPS with a top speed of 30W.
  • Sony: USB PD with a top speed of 30W
  • Apple: iPhones also use USB PD with an official top speed of 20W.

Choosing the right charger for your phone

You’ll see that numerous chargers claim to support various fast charging standards, but they range in capability, so beware of pretenders. Some provide 45W PPS charging or more, while others cap at 25W. Not all support Samsung’s crucial Super Fast Charging 2.0 protocol, which is necessary for phones like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Therefore, when selecting a charger, ensure it delivers the required power for optimal device charging.

Keeping things copacetic, our top pick, the Anker 313 Charger, offers maximum charging speed and compatibility with virtually any smartphone using USB-PD and PPS standards. It’s also suitable for charging Chromebooks and other USB PD-compatible laptops. Moreover, it boasts a compact design and foldable pins, making it an ideal choice for on-the-go travelers.

If you’re interested in multi-device charging and have more to spend, Anker provides the 737 GaNPrime charger as well. Equipped with three USB ports, you can simultaneously charge your phone, laptop, or earbuds. Furthermore, it leverages the company’s PowerIQ 4.0 technology, ensuring compatibility with the fast-charging standards on many new and upcoming smartphones.

Finally, the Nekteck 45W USB-C charger offers excellent value at $22. It supports 45W PPS charging and is USB-IF certified. However, that permanently attached USB-C cable could be problematic if the charging brick (or its wire) becomes damaged.

While your budget might hold you back, try to buy a charger with a detachable lead and invest in a quality USB-C cable like 5A USB-C, one that incorporates the latest fast-charging standard. Your smartphone will thank you, not in words, but by charging faster and wasting less energy.

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