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Skip the drama, the Google Pixel 6 won't ship with a charger and that's fine

Google Pixel 6 Pro
Google Pixel 6 Pro (Image credit: Google)

The Google Pixel 6 hasn't been fully unveiled yet, but amid Samsung's Galaxy foldable news, Google announced that it wouldn't be including charging adaptors with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Google shared the news with The Verge but has not yet confirmed the details with Android Central at the time of this article's publication.

Not everyone was happy with this news, as evidenced by a recent poll Android Central conducted. Most of our readers said that companies should ship a charger in the box, which makes sense to me on some level. Until recently, the charging adapter was a staple of the smartphone unboxing experience. While extras like headphones and cleaning cloths were never a given, the charging adapter was always expected. That was until October 2020, when Apple announced it was doing away with that custom with the launch of the iPhone 12. And much like it did previously when it removed the headphone jack, many other smartphone companies decided to follow suit.

Smartphone Charging Adapter Poll Results

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Samsung hasn't included charging adapters in this year's flagships, starting with the Galaxy S21 series, and you won't find them with its new foldables either. But you know what? That's actually okay.

Corporate Social Responsibility, apparenty

Companies often argue that removing accessories like charging adapters from packaging is good for the environment and reduces e-waste, which is a valid point. With consumers purchasing smartphones by the hundreds of millions every year, there are literally tons of chargers shipping with them. According to Apple (opens in new tab), charging adapters use the highest amounts of certain materials like copper, tin, and zinc ore. The company expects to save 861,000 metric tons of these materials by excluding chargers, and the reduced mining operations will result in fewer emissions and less environmental pollution as well.

However, Neil Shah, vice-president of research at Counterpoint Research, points out in an interview that while the environment may factor in, it's important to note that "there is a strong monetary reason behind this strategy."

A brand can save tens of millions of dollars with the elimination of chargers... not only from the contents in the box but also it helps reduce the size of the box by at least 35%, which means even lower packaging costs.

Fewer boxes mean less space and more room on crates to ship smartphones, all while touting reduced emissions "as a bonus to boost CSR (corporate social responsibility) marketing."

While the environmental aspect may be largely just a PR move, Google hasn't seemed overly eager to use that angle to its advantage. Instead, it has opted to go for the more straightforward approach. According to The Verge, Google posits that you most likely already have chargers lying around, which is a fair point. I've reached out to Google to find out if the company's decision not to include chargers with its smartphones is actually for this stated reason or if it's based on other factors, but I've yet to hear back from the company. I suspect that we'll likely hear something more official on the matter around the launch of the Pixel 6.

No charger? No Problem.

To be honest, I have way too many charging adapters lying around my home. I really have no idea how I've racked up so many, but I'm sure that I'm not alone. Most people are likely to hold onto their phone's charger at upgrade time because carriers normally don't care to get those back when you trade-in or upgrade your smartphone; they just want the phone. So if you're like me, there are probably a few charging adapters hiding out in your couch cushions, making it pointless for OEMs to give you another new one.

If you really need one, there are plenty of good, affordable chargers out there.

Not only that, but companies like Apple and Samsung haven't exactly pushed the needle in terms of charging speeds. At most, iPhones and Galaxy smartphones charge at 20W and 25W, with a few exceptions, so it's likely you already have a charger that can top up your phone at its highest supported speed.

Rumors are that the upcoming Pixel 6 may charge faster than previous Pixels, but it's not a very drastic change from 18W to 33W. And if you don't already have a charger that supports the faster speed, some of the best USB-C chargers are extremely affordable, offer support for Power Delivery, and can charge at much faster speeds (making them essentially futureproof). They are also often much cheaper than what you'd find from either of these companies.

Shah says that for larger brands like Samsung, the decision not to include adapters in the box "makes sense where they have a strong ecosystem of users with existing chargers that won't necessarily need an extra charger."

Google Pixel 4a With Chargers Hero

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

However, the situation would be a bit different if, say, OnePlus or other smaller OEMs decided to stop shipping chargers, especially given their much faster-charging speeds. For example, the OnePlus 9 Pro uses OnePlus' proprietary Warp Charge technology to reach its 65W top charging speeds, so the company likely wants you to be able to take full advantage of the fastest charging speeds right out of the box. But with more of the best Android phones shipping with higher charging speeds, adapters that support even these speeds and higher are becoming increasingly commonplace.

Google deciding not to ship the Pixel 6 with a charging adapter is not the end of the world. The Pixel 5a has already proven that Google can do battery life right. And with the new Tensor chip powering the upcoming flagship, there's sure to be plenty of AI assistance in the background to help optimize your battery life, so you're not charging it as much anyways.

I don't think I'm alone in thinking that it would be nice if this decision would lead to cheaper smartphone costs as a result of the overall savings to the manufacturers. Still, while Shah says it's unlikely to lead to significant savings on a Pixel 6, companies "could run some ad-hoc bundling offers to sweeten the deal." Indeed, I do think it would be nice if companies like Google, Samsung, and Apple would provide their customers the option to bundle a charger with a smartphone, instead of making the decision for us. However, as noted, there are plenty of affordable chargers out there if you really need a new one, particularly from companies like Anker which makes small but powerful adapters.

But charger or no charger, I'm still very excited for the Pixel 6.

Anker Nano II 45w Charger

Anker Nano II 45W GaN charger

The Anker Nano II 45W GaN charger is a small but capable charging adapter that can top up many smartphones and even laptops at rapid speeds. Thanks to the GaN technology, it doesn't take up very much space, giving you room to plug in another device.

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

56 Comments
  • It's anti-consumer bull and you shouldn't be OK with it at all.
    Giving less for your money is among the worst practices of these tax dodging international companies, it's time you, and we stood up to them.
  • Seriously? Lol that's funny
  • What's funny about what was said?
  • To be honest, my pixel 5 charger is still in the box and I am using my S8 and Lumia 950 chargers with it. I would gladly accept the phone without a charger in the box if the price also goes down by at least $20.
  • The prices have gone down by $20 or more. If the charger had been included, it surely would have cost more. Right? Seriously, none of the stuff in the box was ever free. You paid for it. Leaving it out of the next version might have done no more than keep the price the same.
    People love to complain. MS sells Surfaces without keyboards, which are generally accepted as being required. When they sold bundles, people complained they didn't want the keyboard, were going to use a BT one, and wanted the price reduced.
  • Lol comparing a charger (which is literally needed to make the device work and stay powered) to a keyboard (which without the device is still 100% functional) is laughable at best. 
  • We both know it won't go down by $20.
  • Good, then you'll have no problem sending me a couple of your newest chargers.
  • Sooner or later wait until people have phones going on fire etc due to using cheap 3rd party chargers!
  • They do that even when chargers come in the box.
  • Gotta love how multiple people at AC now have advocated for getting less while paying the same or more. I understand that people have chargers lying around. That's not the point. They are giving use less with no benefit. It may be understandable why they're keeping it out (i.e. corporate greed), but it's not "good" or "fine."
  • This is one of those situations where tech bloggers are disconnected from the real world. "I've got 5 or 6 high power PD chargers" Free stuff aside, you live and breathe technology. There are a good number of folks out there who haven't even moved up to USB-C yet.
  • Coincidentally, 2-3 year old mid-range tech from Samsung uses micro USB still... So you can blame Samsung for not fully switching to USB-C timely for all their devices, and that's never been a cost issue.
  • So when u buy new 1200$ phone u will use 2,3 year old charger which by the way can be already defective? If u say i will buy new one than it worst for environment and u pocket.
    I do not want opinion from people which change phone every 6 month, they do not need chargers.
    Lets assume few percent of people which uses old or new defective (ofc they do not know it is bad one) charger will brake smartphone will they get ensures from phone manufacturer ? I think 🤔 not !!!
  • Invalid reply. A charger that's 2 years old will not "brake" (sic) your phone unless you dropped it in water, abused it, or it suffered a surge {in which case it isn't going to work at all}.
  • No, it will just be using old technology and most manufacturers demand that you use their charger, especially the fruity ones. your logic is what is invalid
  • Right. If they dropped the price of the phone to match the cost of the overpriced charger they'll happily sell you on the side, people wouldn't mind. Instead, Samsung and Apple and Google are fine to burn down the planet if you'll toss them an extra $30-50 for the privilege. It's a money thing and isn't about environmentalism whatsoever.
  • The charger is minor when considering the Pixel 6 could be an experiment in new technology that may be ok, and may go wrong.
    New designed chip manufactured by Samsung most likely based on the Exynos which was never sold in the USA, Samsung 5G modem that has new tech to connect to mmwave technology. Just too much new and untested for me. Give it year till the 7 comes out. But I would shy away from the 6 like I would a murder hornets nest.
    However, I sure hope a lot of people purchase it, to test it out, and allow google to get the bugs out before the 7 is released next year. (My 4XL will last till next year...I hope). If bugs are not worked out, and the 6 is a nightmare; possibly no 7 will ever be released.
  • I truly hate all the fake environmentalism. There's one reason this is being done, profit maximisation.
  • Why include a cable if no charger? I have more cables than high watt chargers.
  • Right, I just bought a pack of 5 cables because I needed one. My G8 cries "use the original charger and cable" on certain chargers, but the original cable is almost 3 years old, was designed with a thin jacket, and has frayed from years of bending from normal use. Every time I buy cables, I end up buying more than I need and half (or more) end up getting lost or lended out (never to be seen again). I'd bet lost cables are a much bigger source of consumer spending and eWaste than these chargers that you get once every 2-3 years.
  • They make click radios with ports and surge protectors with ports, new cars have ports, they are everywhere.
  • Nio it's not ok. AC has always advocated for the OEMs whenever possible. Any savings will not be passed on to consumers. I very much resent AC telling me what I should want and what the future of Android will be. You guys think more highly of yourselves than you should.
  • You're painting all of us with a mighty broad brush, don't you think? I have plenty of chargers, most of which I bought with my own money. If the Pixel 6 comes with a charger I'll never use it. But I still think it's a crock of shit designed only for the manufacturer to make more money and hopefully get people to buy a new charger.
  • Well I must apologize I certainly didn't mean you when I wrote that. But maybe you could admit that you are kind of a black sheep at AC. You are known for callin them as you see them and being a straight shooter. You just aren't typical AC. So I'll try to be more careful with my blanket statements. Im sorry.
  • This is the largest pile of B.S. I've heard in awhile. Fine don't put a charger in the box...but then if "I" need one send it to me for FREE when I request it! This is a MONEY grab hiding behind a façade of "corporate responsibility" Blah, blah, blah...
    Then give us back replaceable batteries so that we don't have to buy a new phone every year or two. I bet the landfills have more phones in them than chargers! Which ruins the environment more...building a charger, or the phone itself! I'm sick and tired of the lame, see-through, excuses!!!!
  • Responsible people have their old phones recycled, sometimes for a refund, not tossed in the trash.
  • So when u refund phone they could take charger too ! For extra money, if they think about environment. Also refund is biggest non environment move ever created from manufacturer, every refund phone means at list 2 less phone sold, never do it resell phones with charger.
  • You're clearly not understanding anything. I don't know why the heck you're involving phone refunds just go away. Anything electronic can be recycled if it's not hazardous waste which bricks and phones are not. Ffs
  • This isn't acceptable. Give buyers a choice. If you don't want/need a charger then take $30 off the price. If you do want it it's included. And are you serious about the boxes being smaller with no charger? The chargers take up very little space and I'll bet the boxes will be the same size anyway.
  • You're paying for a phone. Not a charger. You're not entitled to discounts.
  • you can't be serious. The phone is a pocket computer. the charger is the phone's power supply. Do you buy your pre-builts without the power supply? for decades cellphones came with a power supply. it is definitely a part of the phone.
  • I’m not ok with this. As a current iPhone user I have a few lightning adapter charges. So it’s yet another cost if I switch to this phone (or Samsung). Same I guess if Apple suddenly switches to USB-C.
    The cost is never cheaper to the consumer either. So let’s just call it profiteering.
    At least OnePlus still gives you one , and a fast charger at that too.
  • Really? I haven't ever seen an Apple charger with a lightning port. Mine all have USB-A and C. Your new Samsung will come with a cable that works with those.
  • galaxy s21 ultra - no charger in the box which is unacceptable at this price point! (even though you get a $200 credit to buy 10 charges if you want and awesome trade in specials to boot) pixel 6 no charger in the box - no problem!
  • I'm not ok with this. Most of the newer phones are coming with high speed charging that require a specific charger to get that benefit. Almost all of the usb ports and chargers you have lying around will not get you that speed.
  • And if you buy what you think is the right charger on Amazon, and it nukes your device, you're SOL.
  • No one will refund u phone 😅, if some random charger nukes phone. But u can always buy new phone 🧐 it is not very profitable for manufacturer.
  • Not including a charger is ridiculous. Especially with the power demands of these things.
  • No charger cable and no headphone jack= me angry. Me no give money. That is all. The consumers will complain about it because it is in fact an issue for us.
  • Reviewers and people which are into tech will always buy flagships without charger and any additional benefits. But random costumer will never takes 1000$ phone anyway especially if it has no charger. Let Google, Samsung try sell phones under 400$ without charger it will be disaster !!!!
  • It's not "drama". It's cheating. Charging more and getting less in return. Which seems to be the prevailing narrative in today's society. I'm sure it will be to "help the environment"...and support "sustainable alternatives"... or whatever slogan-of-the-day is trending at the time.
  • I have a 10 port USB charger and it works with most of my gadgets, so I basically just need the USB cable. My OnePlus phones came with custom cables and chargers though. Can't get Warp Charge without them, as far as I can tell.
    So unless there's no special requirements it's no problems if I don't receive a charger with the phone.
  • I hope every purchaser is aware that the item in the box will not work unless they find and buy another part. Not quite as bad as selling a car without a steering wheel, but close. Not getting some of the bells and whistles without buying an add on is bad enough, but even if the phone comes fully charged, it will die in a couple of days. Nice to find out if you live a 3 hour drive from the nearest place to buy one.
  • What an absolutely terrible way to look at this. Oh, great the companies making record profits can save on chargers and boxes! Are they passing the savings on by lowering products costs? No, they're selling standalone chargers and raising the costs for consumers. At the worst, you have a company like Apple, who gives you a cable that isn't compatible with the existing chargers they say are the reason you don't need a new one. To say it would be a bigger deal with OnePlus because they have faster chargers doesn't make sense either. It should arguably be a BIGGER deal with Google and Samsung because they've been slower to adopt faster charging, so it's more likely that a new charger will have a meaningful impact over the previous generation--plus they already have the higher prices and larger install bases to where the nickel-and-dime tactics shouldn't be as necessary, let alone touted as good and necessary by terrible "journalists" who come out to defend multi-billion-dollar corporations who need higher profits for no reason.
  • 100% journalist defending trillion dollar company are not professionals they are ...... which sold there ...... to apple/Google/Samsung ( in ..... U can put for example "bad people"-"soule")
  • Hmmm, all these people complaining that the price wasn't reduced because no charger is included. It is almost as if we know what the price will be, and whether this is a lost value or something. Huh. I am long past using the semi-quality chargers that came shipped. Those haven't been used in ages, usually never used. Time is actually money, and who has time for the OEM charger when a decent third party charger can do the job in half the time? And when was the last time a company packaged a wireless charger with their phones? Never you say? Thought so. My main concern these days is whether the phone will be compatible with the amaze-o-fast Samsung wireless chargers I have. Or whether it will charge as fast using the GaN charger that I use when I want my S21 Ultra to charge in 10 minutes. To be clear: OEM in-box chargers have had no value for me in years. My S21 came in a box not much bigger than the phone, and not feeling guilty about wastage is actually worth something.
  • This will inevitably lead to people buying the cheapest Chinese charger they can get on Amazon, having it fry their device, and Google telling them their warranty is void for using a non-OEM charger. So ... more e-waste?
  • What a crock. I get the best and fastest charge from an OEM charger, that's why I want one included! The "environmental" claim is BS, it all comes down to profit margins. It's okay I wasn't going to buy the Pixel 6 anyway.
  • I do not know what are u doing with phones, but when normal people change phone every 2-3 year charger will go with old phone, if u gift phone or sell it.
    Maybe u broke old phone and now buying pixel 6 ? So lets count which segment of people Google is aiming.
    1. People which brake old phone and do not brought new yet. So they have charger.
    2. People which have collection of phones so collection of chargers, mb reviewers, i can see that.
    3. People which gift, sold or throw away old phone without charger.
    Nice 🙂 part of costumer Base, so Apple, Samsung, Google are not aiming for normal people when they are selling flagships. Or they are big layers !!!
    Also people which wrote this article, big chunk of costumers do not have charger collection ! We use our electric gadgets safely and when we upgrade we reuse them on different ways.
  • So they continue changing the charging speeds/specs, yet expect people to use bricks from 2-3 years ago (which probably don't fully support the new tech) and use that to justify not putting a brick in the box. Might as well remove the cord too if they are that worried about the "environment"
  • Unfortunately consumers are too bright overall. If sales are poor prices drop and or the deal gets sweeter. This applies to most all consumables. As an example CD prices stayed stupidly high coz people couldn't get enough. I bought all mine through various clubs for a fraction. IF enough people say F it to programs like this & buy something else, the manufacturer will respond. 33 W is ~ 2 X the previous 18 W.
    I was going to buy my 1st iPhone when the 10 launched, until I learned that Apple was NOT including the proper brick OR cable. $1149 (2017) for the top iPhone demanded that you spend ~$80 additional to utilize the first iPhone ever to utilize fast Type C charging capabilities
    It's simple people, vote with your wallet, it's THE way to be heard. I'll likely buy a Pixel 6 Pro.
    Next year, for ½ price. Buy cool 🧊merchandise not hot ♨️new merchandise!
  • I like having lots of chargers for multiple rooms, the AC port in my vehicle etc. The environmental argument regarding e-waste and smaller packaging is total crap. It's all about boosting profits just like when Starbucks started selling 12 oz bags of coffee for the same price that a pound of coffee used to go for. Sheep get slaughtered foxes survive!
  • Apple included the cable that would work with the majority of chargers people owned. Had they included the USB C, essentially ensuring people would have to buy a charger, the indignation would have been even greater.
  • A valid point? By not including a charger in the box helps the environment? Yet they'll sell you one in "Another" box though which wastes just as much if not more. Also, the headphone adapter... If they were worried about the environment why not just keep the jack on the phone that way you can reduce making adaptors and boxes for them! It's not the environment, it's just a way to make more money for them.
  • Then there will be no liability of a person plugs the phone into an incorrect charger.