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Google explains why the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro charge so slowly

Published Nov 18th, 2021 8:43PM EST
Google Pixel 6 Front
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Google is once again on the defensive as it tries to explain why early adopters are finding the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro charging speeds to be slower than expected.

The Pixel 6 launch has been anything but smooth for Google. When leaks first revealed the phone’s design, we were pleasantly surprised to see a modern flagship smartphone. Then Google announced that its own custom Tensor chip would power the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The excitement surrounding the arrival of the new phones was palpable. But then the phone actually launched.

Nearly every story about the Pixel 6 over the past few weeks has been about the phone’s problems. The fingerprint sensor isn’t consistent, the phone randomly ghost-dials contacts, the display flickers when the phone is off — the list goes on. Slowly but surely, Google is trying to address these issues, and did so this week via a post on its support forums.

Pixel 6 problems continue to mount

Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro
Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

In early November, Android Authority put the charging capabilities of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro to the test. As the site noted at the time, Google’s official Pixel 6 support page says the following:

  • Fast charging: Up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with Google 30W USB-C. Fast wired charging rates are based upon use of the Google 30W USB-C Charger plugged into a wall outlet. Compatible with USB PD 3.0 PPS adapters. Charging speed depends upon many factors including usage during charging, battery age, and ambient temperature. Actual charging speed may be slower.

Needless to say, it’s unclear how fast the fast charging really is. Android Authority decided to test the charging speed of the Pixel 6 itself, and found that no matter what charger they used, they couldn’t surpass 22W of power. Google has now issued an official response to clear things up.

Google explains Pixel 6’s slow charging speeds

Google Pixel 6 Pro Port
Google Pixel 6 Pro Port Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

On Wednesday, Google’s Camille Vogl posted a lengthy explanation about how charging works on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. As she explains, Google designed the high energy density cells in the Pixel 6 “to strike a balance between battery life, longevity and fast charging.” Regardless of the power coming in from the plug, the actual power delivered to the Pixel 6 will vary while charging.

Google optimized the Pixel 6/Pro battery to charge more quickly when the battery level is low. Using Google’s 30W charger, the Pixel 6 battery can hit 50% in around 30 minutes and 80% in about an hour. Vogl also revealed that the peak power the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro draw from the wired charger is 21W and 23W, respectively. The average speeds are even slower over a full charging session.

It’s worth noting that Google hadn’t previously confirmed the charging speeds of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Of course, consumers assumed that the phones would take full advantage of Google’s own 30W charger. Based on this forum post, it’s now clear that isn’t the case.

Google has repeatedly tripped over itself during the rollout of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. All of this drama and intrigue could have been avoided had Google simply been clear about the new phone’s charging capabilities upfront. Instead, consumers have to wait for forums posts in response to blog posts. We can at least hope that Google is learning lessons throughout this process.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.