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How to accurately measure (and understand) your smartphone's charging speed

Every phone manufacturer these days touts the charging capabilities of its high-end devices. Most of us are probably familiar with Qualcomm's various Quick Charge specifications, which it licenses to companies like Motorola and Samsung, but there are also other solutions out there. USB Power Delivery is an open standard that's growing more ubiquitous with each day, and OnePlus' Dash Charge breaks records—even as it breaks the USB-C spec.

With all these different ways to charge your phone, how can you actually measure what rate it's charging at?

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The Pixel 2 charges much more slowly below certain temperatures, but it doesn't tell you that

Battery advancements haven't kept in step with performance improvements, but the charging tech for topping those cells up has come a long way. Now, most phones come with some flavor of quick-charging technology that promises to fill our capacious flagships in arbitrarily small periods of time. But in the case of Google's Pixel 2 XL, it turns out that its "Charging rapidly" notification isn't always an accurate statement. In low temperatures, Google's flagship will claim to be charging quickly (10W+) when, in fact, it's actually charging at less than 4W. 

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[Deal Alert] Top Greener USB-C and USB-A wall outlet just $23.96 at Amazon ($4.73 off)

Some of you might remember back in March when we took a quick look at the Top Greener USB-C wall outlet. Well, late yesterday the price over at Amazon hit an all-time low. If the idea of being able to plug your devices into a 2.4A USB-A and 3A USB-C compatible wall outlet sounds appealing, for precisely $23.96, the experience can be yours.

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[Deal Alert] Get 20% off Tronsmart's new 2-port charger with QC 3.0 and USB-PD support ($22.39 with coupon from $27.99)

No longer will you have to choose between Quick Charge 3.0 and USB-PD—Tronsmart has a new adapter that supports both. The latest 2-port charger has USB-PD over Type-C and QC 3.0 over USB-A. It's usually priced at $27.99, but we've got an exclusive discount code for you that takes the price down 20%.

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[Deal Alert] Satechi USB-C power meter on sale for $22.95 ($7 off) via Amazon

Most new phones come with USB type-C ports these days, and that has brought with it a number of different fast charging standards. It can be hard to know if a particular cable will fast charge a given phone, but the Satechi USB-C power meter takes the guess work out. This neat little gadget is on sale right now for $22.95, which is $7 off the regular price.

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Top Greener wall outlet can fast-charge your Pixel with an included Type-C port

The transition to USB Type-C hasn't been as smooth as we all would have hoped. There were a number of bad cables early on, and there are still different versions of fast charging that require the right cables and wall adapters. You can simplify the process a little with a Type-C wall outlet like the one available from Top Greener. We tested this device to make sure it performs as intended, and indeed it does. This outlet will fast-charge your Pixel (or other USB-PD devices).

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Meizu's Super mCharge pushes 55W of power to charge a phone in 20 minutes

Fast charging is getting really, well... fast. It seems like every phone that comes out has some new version of fast charge tech with bigger numbers. Now Meizu has the biggest numbers yet. Its Super mCharge system can push 55W of power to the phone. By comparison, the Pixel XL can only handle 18W.

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Satechi releases USB Type-C charging meter

In the microUSB days, there were several handy little power meters you could get that measured the power draw of your phone. I have one in a drawer someplace because most new phones have moved to USB Type-C, rendering that device useless. Now, there's a Type-C power meter available courtesy of Satechi. It's a little more expensive than the microUSB versions were, but it looks slick.

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Verizon won't send Samsung's charge-blocking Note 7 update, citing emergency contact concerns

Here's an interesting wrinkle in the rapidly-closing saga of the Galaxy Note 7. Yesterday Samsung announced that it would send a software over-the-air update to the few remaining phones in the US, preventing the devices from taking a new electricity charge, and hopefully stopping any more battery-based fires. It's far from the first measure the company has taken to further encourage owners of the defective phones to accept the voluntary recall, but it might be the last. American wireless carrier Verizon, for reasons of its own, isn't participating in the latest software update.

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[Deal Alert] Buy A Set Of 6 Aukey Quick Charge 2.0 MicroUSB Cables From Amazon For $6.50 After $4.50 Off Coupon

Cables, the technological innovation that just won't die no matter how bad some folks want them to. There are wireless ways to charge smartphones these days, as well as options for transferring data without pulling out a cord. But frankly I still reach for a microUSB cable to do both of these things, and the number of people who do hardly stops with me.

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