Forget lithium ion — world’s first silicon-carbon battery blows that tech away

A screenshot of Honor's MWC 2023 presentation, showing how its new silicon-carbon battery could fit 5,450 mAh of capacity in the same space as the 5,100 mAh battery in the Magic5 Pro
(Image credit: Honor/YouTube)

Phone maker Honor showed off a world-first battery that's made using silicon and carbon to give upcoming handsets a distinct capacity advantage over those using currently available battery tech.

During the on-stage announcement at MWC 2023, Honor CEO George Zhao claimed the battery features a 12.8% higher energy density compared to regular graphite batteries. That means either the same capacity as a typical battery in a smaller space, or more capacity in the same space, depending on how you wish to take advantage of the new technology.

Zhao put this announcement in context by saying that if the newly released Honor Magic5 Pro used this technology, its 5,100 mAh battery would instead have a capacity of 5,450 mAh.

Honor drew attention to the "low voltage aggregation technology" that makes this capacity increase possible. Capacity at 3.5V is 240% better on the silicon-carbon battery than on a normal battery, which Zhao claimed would help in those awkward moments when your smartphone is on low charge and starts draining the battery faster to continue drawing the same current.

A screenshot of Honor's MWC 2023 presentation, showing how its new silicon-carbon battery is 12.8% more energy dense than a graphite battery

(Image credit: Honor/YouTube)

Zhao concluded by saying he believed this technology would come "very soon," which hopefully means it'll only take a generation or two of Honor smartphones before we get to try out this new battery tech. In fact, the future may have already arrived in China, as the version of the Magic5 Pro shipping there is listed with the 5,450 mAh battery capacity that Zhao mentioned. We have to admit we're a bit jealous that version is not being offered on the global model.

Our best phone battery life champions can all last at least 11 hours on our custom battery test, and while we haven't tested the Magic5 Pro yet, its larger-than-average battery should mean positive things for its longevity. No doubt whenever a phone with a silicon-carbon battery turns up on European or American shores, it'll also stand a strong chance of making it onto that list.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

  • jsnlevi
    I'm pretty sure the batteries that Honor unveiled are lithium-ion, just using a silicon carbide anode. A nearly 13% jump in energy density is nothing to scoff at, but silicon carbide is a replacement for the iron phosphate or nickel-manganese-cobalt portion of the cell, not the lithium part.