Fast charging on the iPhone X–which option is the most cost effective?

One of the notable features available on the iPhone X as well as the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus is the addition of fast charging capabilities.  Not to be confused with wireless charging–fast charging allows you to safely charge your device at a much quicker rate.  For the average consumer the question then becomes–what does that really mean, and how much extra will it typically cost to take advantage of this added capability?  While it’s great that Apple has added fast-charging to the iPhone line-up, in typical Apple fashion, it’s gonna cost you if you stay away from third party options and go strictly Apple.  But just how much will it cost, and what are your options you ask?  

Our colleagues over at MacWorld have already done the heavy lifting and put these devices through a series of tests to see which option makes the most sense and is the most cost-effective.

TL;DR they discovered that by purchasing the Apple 12W USBA power adapter that comes standard with every iPad purchase you get the most bang for your buck.  It retails for only $19 and you don’t have to purchase any additional lightning to USB-C cables to make the scenario work.  In doing so, you typically will need to charge an additional 10-15 minutes with the 12W adapter versus the costly alternative of an Apple branded USB-C adapter and matching USB-C to Lightning cable.

Apple’s cheapest USB-C adapter costs $49 and requires you to buy a $25 USB-C Lightning cable. What benefit do you get? With the iPhone 7 Plus, none at all. It’s exactly as fast as the 12W adapter. If you have an iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X, you’ll get to 85 percent about 10 to 15 minutes faster. The newer phones definitely see improvement with USB-PD compatible adapters, but it seems to taper off after about 70 percent charged.

Apple’s claim of charging to 50 percent in 30 minutes with the iPhone 8 and X is absolutely true with a USB-C adapter that supports USB-PD. It takes 10 minutes longer to get to 50 percent with the 12W adapter, or with the older iPhone 7 Plus.

I don’t know about you, but $19 versus a minimum of a $74 investment if you stick with Apple branded options, just to save 10-15 minutes really isn’t worth it to me.  This just confirms what we we’ve all known for years–Apple needs to ditch the ridiculous 5W adapter for something more substantial.  This is especially irrational when an iPhone X already costs $999 for the 64 GB version and $1149 for the 256.


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