We are seeing major breakthroughs within the mobile industry. We have smartphones with more computational power than a supercomputer from a decade ago. Our phones have almost completely wiped out the point-and-shoot camera industry. But sadly we haven’t seen a bold revolution in the battery department. However, with Power Delivery and its recent wide adoption, it looks like things are about to change drastically.
What Is USB-C Power Delivery
USB-C Power Delivery (USB-PD) is a standard protocol specification that allows fast and flexible charging up to 100W at 20V/5A.
With USB-PD, you can charge and discharge power using the same USB-C port. So, a single USB port can be used for charging your device as well as sending power to another device such as a monitor.
How Does USB-PD Work?
The USB-PD follows a protocol that enables fast but safe charging. In layman’s term, this is how USB-PD actually works:
- First, two USB-PD enabled devices are physically connected to one another using a single USB-C cable.
- Then, the two devices do a handshake. They discuss how much power the source can provide and how much power the host can accept.
- Finally, they settle with a safe and compatible charging rate, and the charging process begins.
Why USB-C Power Delivery Is So Important
The market is flooded with fast-charging solutions such as Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology, Samsung’s Fast Charge technology, Oppo’s Super VOOC technology and many more. They all use commendable technologies to rapidly (and safely) charge the batteries. But the issue with these technologies is that they are proprietary. For example, if you need fast charging on an Oppo phone, you will need an Oppo certified Super VOOC charger. And, yes, an Oppo fast charger won’t be able to fast-charge your Samsung phone.
Forget about fast charging your laptop with the Oppo charger.
In short, none of those above charging solutions are universal.
That’s exactly where USB-PD Power Delivery shines. USB-PD is developed by the old and trusted USB Inc- the same company behind USB 2, USB 3 and USB-C. And as you can imagine, there are a lot of companies that are using this technology. Major players like Apple, Google and Samsung are all betting on USB-PD.
If you haven’t noticed already, the recently launched Pixel 4, Galaxy Note 10 and iPhone 11 Pro and the 11 Pro Max all use USB-PD chargers.
That’s not it. The use of USB-PD isn’t limited only to smartphones.
There has been a growing number of laptops that use USB-PD for charging. For instance, Apple has been using the USB-PD technology on all its newer MacBooks since 2016.
USB-C Power Delivery Charges Your Device Safely
Plugging in a 100W laptop charger to a phone with a 2800mAh battery may sound concerning to some. But with the USB-C Power Delivery protocols in place, you really don’t need to worry about frying your device- at all. The host will only accept the right amount of voltage and current.
A device may charge faster or slower with a certified 3rd party PD charger but it will never overcharge or charge at a rate that is unsafe for the battery longevity.
A word of caution: I would like you to note that not all USB-C Power Delivery compatible devices are created equal. Even if two devices use the USB-PD protocol, the charger from one may not be able to charge the other device at its full speed. For example, Apple’s 87-Watt USB-PD charger cannot charge the Galaxy Note 10+ at its max rated 45-Watt charging speed even though it uses the USB-PD tech for charging. It’s because there are different versions of Power Delivery. We will be covering it in our next article. So, stay tuned for that.