It might not feel like it, but lithium-ion battery tech is improving all the time, and Chinese electronics manufacturer Oppo is at Mobile World Congress showing off a new version of its ultra-fast charging technology. The company promises Super Vooc Flash Charge will get your battery level from 0 to 100 percent in just a quarter of an hour.
That's a bold claim but one it was backing up with a demo at its MWC booth in Barcelona. The company has given no fixed date on when it's going to appear on a phone you can actually go out and buy – or which phones will support it – but apparently we won't have to wait too long, according to Oppo's reps at the conference.
That 15-minute window applies to a 2,500 mAh battery, Oppo says (the Samsung Galaxy S7 has a 3,000 mAh one, for example), and the company also says you'll be able to get 10 hours of talk time from just five minutes of charging. If you're heading out of the door and in a rush, that's going to make a huge difference, at least in theory.
In recent years manufacturers and electronics firms have been much more successful at improving charging times than extending the lifespans of of our portable gadgets – the fact that our phones keep getting lighter and thinner plays a part in that as well. Nearly every top-end Android phone now includes a version of Qualcomm's Quick Charge tech, and the new Quick Charge 3.0 technology (available in the LG G5) can get a 2,750 mAh battery from 0 percent to 80 percent in 35 minutes.
Oppo's Super Vooc Flash Charge is a step above even that. It combines a new "low-voltage pulse-charge algorithm" with a customized battery, adapter, cable and connector. While microUSB and USB Type-C interfaces are supported, you're going to need the whole setup to benefit from the super-fast charging. We wouldn't be surprised if that meant needing an Oppo phone, at least at first, but there's also no reason other smartphone OEMs couldn't license the setup.
When the technology finally appears in a consumer phone (from Oppo or any other company), we can put it to the test.