One of our favorite features of late 2014 has got to be Rapid Charging. Or Turbo Charging. Or Fast Charging. The oversimplified version is that Qualcomm has a new standard — officially called Quick Charge 2.0, but phone manufacturers like to give it their own names — by which it can feed more juice more quickly into your phone, for a quick burst of energy. It then slows down the charging to finish the job. That initial burst comes with the byproduct of heat — and that's also something you want less of when it comes to smartphone performance and longevity of the battery itself.
But for us end users it really means getting our Android smartphones back into the game quicker than ever. And once you use it, you'll never want to use anything else.
There is one other downside, however. Chargers that use this technology need a little something extra that plugs into the wall, and that little something extra has turned out to not be as little as we're used to.
Quick chargers from the manufacturers
Here in the U.S. we currently have three quick chargers available — one each from HTC, Motorola and Samsung. Each is shaped differently. Each has a slightly different size. (Though Samsung and HTC are darn close.)
It's pretty much a wash when you're using these in a home or office environment. But when you're traveling, you'll almost certainly prefer one of the smaller ones. (We're pretty much split between Samsung's and HTC's.) Here, now, are what the three look like.
Where to buy the quick chargers
New phones that are QC2.0-enabled may well come with a quick charger in the box. Or they might not. Here's where to buy the official quick chargers from Samsung, HTC and Motorola, if you need one outright or are looking for a spare:
The science behind it all
For a more detailed look at the science that goes into smartphone batteries as well as how they're charged, be sure to check out our Futurology series.