Unless you’re a bomb defusal expert that keeps your instruction manual on your smartphone, being able to charge your handset completely in under ten minutes is very much a nice bonus, rather than an essential.
And yet the people at Chinese brand Realme think it’s exactly the kind of feature people will pay top Yuan for. The company’s latest handset, a China-only model called the Realme GT Neo 5, comes with a slightly ludicrous 240W fast charger capable of filling the phone’s 4,600mAh battery in nine-and-a-half minutes.
Yes, in 20 seconds less than it takes to listen to the entire album version of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell, your phone can go from flat to completely full.
If, for whatever reason, you don’t have that kind of time, you can get up to 20% in just 80 seconds — a full 34 seconds before ol’ Meat Loaf sings the first word. And if you give it four minutes — just before Mr Loaf begins singing about how he’d rather be damned with you — 50% of your battery will be restored.
Awkward comparisons to Meat Loaf’s oeuvre aside, how does that compare to the competition? Well, it’s unbeatable — and a battle that the most popular phone brands in the world, including Samsung and Apple, don’t seem terribly interested in fighting.
Apple’s top handsets still max out at 25W and reach around 40-50% of their batteries with a half-hour spell at the charger (ignoring the fact that the company doesn’t even bundle plugs anymore, and even when it did, it was fond of sticking awful 5W ones in the box).
Samsung’s flagships, meanwhile, are capable of charging up to 45W with its Galaxy S Ultra phones — but the difference between using a 25W and 45W charger is minimal, with Tom’s Guide finding less than a 10% difference for the S22 Ultra (58% or 67% after half an hour).
In fact, it’s a case of diminishing returns all over. Realme’s parent company — BBK Electronics — also owns OnePlus, and while this year’s OnePlus 11 boasts a 100W charger promising a full battery in 25 minutes, last year’s OnePlus 10T came with a 160W charger which a full battery just five minutes faster.
Given we’ve all got used to the idea that phones need to be charged overnight, I’m not entirely convinced fast charging is that important. And given Apple and Samsung no longer include plugs in the box, it seems like the big players agree.
But hey: it’s a nice point of differentiation for Realme. And it could really get that theoretical bomb disposal expert I mentioned earlier out of a bind.