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Charging is one of the few segments left in the smartphone world where proprietary technologies can thrive. Most phone companies use chipsets from the same vendors, and they also buy the same screen and camera sensors. However, the included battery and charger are customizable and have been an area of rapid innovation over the past few years.
In this article, we will focus on reviewing Xiaomi’s batteries and charging technology over the past decade. As can be seen, the average thickness of Xiaomi phones has steadily decreased then stopped at 9mm. However, the average battery capacity of the Chinese manufacturer has steadily increased over time thanks to technological improvements.
Larger batteries will increasingly require more and more time to charge at the 10W base rate, so manufacturers need to change to save time for users. Xiaomi’s first fast-charging phone is the Mi 3 (2013) that uses Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 to achieve 18W of power. In fact, Xiaomi has used QC for many of its phones, for example Mi 9 Pro (2019) has QC 4+ and 40W wired and 30W wireless charging.
But Quick Charge couldn’t keep up, and Xiaomi phones with large batteries had to opt for a proprietary solution. As mentioned at the beginning, that is one of the areas where companies can thrive and compete with each other with in-house technology, such as the Surge P1 charging chip.
Battery capacity does not increase indefinitely. A few years ago, Xiaomi launched the Mi Max series with a large screen and large battery. The second model has a 6.44-inch screen and a 5,300mAh battery. The third goes up to 6.9 inches and 5,500mAh. But that’s still not Xiaomi’s biggest battery. Instead, the affordable and not too heavy POCO M3 has a battery of up to 6,000mAh.
Mi Mix 2S from 2018 is the first Xiaomi to support wireless charging at 7.5W. The company also released its first official Qi charger to go with the phone. Mi Mix 3 of the same year was slightly faster with 10W support.
And from there, starting with 30W in 2019, then 50W, 67W,… but this year it hasn’t continued to increase. Half a year has passed and Xiaomi has yet to release a new smartphone that supports fast wireless charging.
The Mi 11 Ultra brings the similarities between wired and wireless charging at 67W. Of course, wired charging is more efficient, but not as much as you might think. For example, in Mi 11 Ultra, to reach 100% battery level, wired and wireless charging is only about 3 minutes apart.
So it seems Xiaomi’s focus has shifted to wired charging. Phones like the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge 5G exist only to give users a 120W super fast charging option that charges 100% of the battery in 16 minutes. Meanwhile, only a handful of models released in the past few years support 50W or higher wireless charging.
Regarding the USB-C cable, there is still a lot of room. The latest USB Power Delivery specification delivers a whopping 240W of power. Xiaomi itself introduced a 200W charger a year ago, and it already has an 80W wireless charger. The hope is that Xiaomi will continue to produce fast chargers with larger capacity, especially with mid-range smartphones.
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