The Samsung Galaxy S24 lineup is coming, and word is that it’ll be arriving as soon as January. Needless to say, the internet is awash with rumors about all three upcoming phones, and the kind of upgrades we can expect to see. From new AI features to titanium frames, it seems Samsung is going all out for 2024.
But there’s one feature Samsung has been neglecting for a while, and it’s about time something was done about it. I’m speaking about wireless charging, which seems to have been stuck at the same pitifully slow speed for years. Considering how rapidly some rivals are boosting wireless charging capabilities, it’s about time Samsung put some effort into it.
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15W wireless charging first appeared on the Samsung Galaxy S9 back in 2018, and that speed has stuck around ever since. In those 5 years other phone makers have been pushing the limits of how fast wireless charging can actually be. While Samsung’s phones have stayed more or less static.
Well static isn’t actually the right word. Technically speaking, the wireless charging speeds did change on the Galaxy S23, they just went in the wrong direction. Sure, the phone is officially rated for the same 15W wireless charging as the previous generations, but the caveat is this is only possible if you’re using a Samsung wireless charger.
Third-party chargers are limited to 10W on the S23. It’s a move that seems to have been pulled straight out of Apple’s playbook, and it doesn’t matter what that charger it is or how safe and well made it might be. If it’s not made by Samsung, your wireless charging speeds are getting throttled.
It’s worth noting that Apple is on the path to removing similar restrictions of its own. USB-C will no longer be throttled if you’re not using an Apple-certified charger, and neither will Qi2-certified wireless chargers. Regular Qi charging is still limited to 7.5W, but that’s still a very big step for Apple.
We just need Samsung to get that message. Anyone that’s used a 10W wireless charger may be familiar with how painfully slow they can be. It’s certainly not something befitting a flagship phone that costs anywhere from $700 to $1,200.
The state of wireless charging
15W wireless charging first appeared on the Samsung Galaxy S9 back in 2018, and that speed has stuck around ever since.
Go back a half decade or so and wireless charging wasn’t anywhere near as good as it is now. It was slow, inefficient, and had a tendency to produce a lot of heat — which doesn’t mix so well with smartphone batteries. But that’s no longer the case.
While it's true batteries and excess heat are still a potent combination, measures have been taken to solve that. Better smartphone cooling, adaptive charging (wired and wireless), and chargers that are capable of removing excess heat. That could be with fans, like the Google Pixel Stand 2, or hi-tech cooling systems — as we saw with Oppo at MWC earlier in the year.
Just as wired charging speeds have increased into triple digits, wireless charging has been following close behind. Last year the Honor Magic 4 Pro arrived with 100W wireless charging. While that’s an extreme example, there are still plenty of phones out there offering a lot more than the Samsung Galaxy S range.
The Google Pixel 8 Pro can reach up to 23W speeds, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max is unofficially capable of hitting 25W. While not universally available, 50W wireless charging is common enough these days that 15W speeds are pretty laughable by comparison.
Sure, most of those phones use proprietary wireless chargers to offer such high specs, limiting the standard Qi chargers to lower speeds — often at or below 15W. But so does the Samsung Galaxy S23, so it’s not as though Samsung is going against the grain here. Just that wireless charging speeds are lagging worse than me attempting to run the Boston Marathon.
The Galaxy S24 needs to spice things up — especially on the Ultra
Right now the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is one of the best phones you can buy. It’s definitely the best Android phone, offering a far greater package than the likes of Google or OnePlus. Unfortunately the fact it fails in certain key areas, particularly where charging is concerned, is problematic.
45W wired charging isn’t bad, though there are significantly faster charging phones on offer — and based on our testing Samsung doesn’t utilize it particularly well. 15W wireless charging, on the other hand, is hardly worthy of the title ”Ultra”. And something definitely has to be done about it.
Firstly, Samsung needs to scrap the ridiculous limitation on non-Samsung wireless chargers. Face it, Samsung, if Apple struggles to get away with that kind of thing then you have absolutely zero chance of pulling that off. Secondly, Samsung needs to improve the wireless charging speeds across the board — especially on the Galaxy S24 Ultra.
Admittedly, I can’t see Samsung improving the wireless charging speeds across the whole Galaxy S24 line-up. The S23 series doesn’t even have consistent wired charging. The standard Galaxy S23 is limited to 25W speeds while 45W exclusive to the S23 Plus and Ultra models.
Wireless charging speeds are uniformly consistent at 10/15W depending on your charger, but I could easily see that changing. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Samsung kept the S23 at 15W, while offering faster speeds on the more expensive models. Any boost in speed would do, though it would be nice to see the number push beyond what Apple and Google are currently offering.
Will Samsung actually improve the wireless charging speed on the Galaxy S24? It’s not entirely clear right now. The rumor mill hasn’t really said anything about it, and Samsung itself won’t be telling us anything until the phone’s official launch — currently expected in mid-January. We have heard some speculation that wired charging could jump to 65W, which would be the perfect time to boost wireless charging, but other rumors have since refuted that.
Realistically I’m not so sure it will happen. Not only has the maximum wireless charging speed been static for almost six years, Samsung actually instigated a real-world reduction with the Galaxy S23. While the company has made huge strides with things like battery life and photography capabilities, it feels like asking for better charging is expecting too much. But I’m happy to be proven wrong.
Regardless, it’s something Samsung definitely needs to improve. Otherwise it’s going to get left behind with all the mid-range and budget phones as they jump on the wireless charging bandwagon. The S24 series is as good a time as any, especially with the impending launch of the Qi2 wireless charging standard.