The Benefit of Slower Pixel 6 Charging Is a Matter of Perspective

Finding a balance between quick charging and longer battery life is the key

Key Takeaways

  • Slower charging could have a noticeable impact on users who need to charge their phones multiple times a day.
  • Users who don’t charge as often, or keep their phones for more than a couple of years, are likely to notice a more consistent level of power consumption.
  • It ultimately comes down to preference: whether it’s more important for you to charge quickly or be able to maintain a charge for longer over the life of the phone.

Someone sitting on the floor in a hotel room working on a laptop and charging a smartphone.

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Whether or not the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro's slower charging for the sake of battery longevity is beneficial depends on what you want.

Google has explained that, yes, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro do take longer to charge to 100 percent, and that it's by design. Slowing down the charging speed as the battery gets closer to full is intended to reduce wear and tear, resulting in a battery that (likely) won't need replacing very often. But is exchanging a fast full charge for a longer-lasting battery a worthwhile trade-off? Well, yes and no. It ultimately depends on what you want in a smartphone.

"I think there is a time and place for both scenarios," said Justin Sochovka, a consumer electronics expert for Home Shopping Networks, in an email to Lifewire, "Creating a phone that has a longer lasting battery is convenient for the long run, but I'm not sure it is worth the trade-off of a slow charging speed."

The Case for Speed

A fast charging time is crucial for many smartphone users—especially those who use their phones often enough to need multiple charges throughout the day. In such instances, longer charging can reduce their amount of time for other tasks or tether them to one spot while they wait. Being able to plug your phone in and have it reach 100 percent (or close to it) in a minimal amount of time also helps with a busier lifestyle.

Oragami tortoise and the hare figures on a yellow background.

gabetcarlson / Getty Images

"Creating a phone that has a longer-lasting battery is convenient for the long run, but I'm not sure it is worth the trade-off of a slow charging speed," said Sochovka. "When I present products on networks, customers are always asking how long it takes to recharge the device that I am presenting. We live in a world where fast charge speeds are a major factor in the products that we use."

With faster and faster charging becoming an expected feature in smartphones, the intentional slowdown in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro might seem like a step backward. Or possibly even a fumble. Particularly for users who prefer to update their phone with each new model, as they'd likely have a new phone before feeling the need for a more hearty battery.

The Case for Longevity

Users who hang onto their phones until they see a drop off in battery performance, are more likely to notice a difference. Sure there are several reasons for a battery to run down faster than normal, but time and frequent charging are the most consistent causes.

And for those who prefer to hang onto their phones for longer than a year or two, it can become fairly bothersome. It can also end up being the reason they finally go out and get a new phone—even if they really don't want to.

Google's Pixel 6 handset
Google's Pixel 6.

Adam Doud/Lifewire

"A degrading battery is a common reason for consumers upgrading their phones," said Paul Walsh, director of technology refurbishing company WeSellTek, in an email to Lifewire. "Having a battery that has a much longer life span would, in some cases, allow the consumer to keep their phone much longer than they would otherwise have done."

Even with the slower charging speeds of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, neither model is exactly glacial. Charging up to 50 percent generally takes about 30 minutes, or up to 80 percent in about an hour. Sure it's a bit of a trade-off, but unless you need lightning fast charging multiple times throughout the day, it's not likely to be a problem.

Walsh also points out the added environmental benefits of longer lasting batteries. Stating that if a refurbished phone can be sold without needing a replacement "... there is a significant amount of toxic metal mass that is prevented from going into landfills."

Sochovka believes both options have a time and a place. "When it comes to phone batteries, it's obvious that they don't last long enough," Sochovka said, "I change my phone so frequently that I would never benefit from a longer lasting battery—but for those who don't change their phone so often, this would be great."

"I would say there needs to be a balance here," said Walsh, "I lean more on the side of having a battery that performs well over a longer period of time. This means that the battery does not need replacing, or is being replaced as often."

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