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Samsung's Graphene Balls Could Charge Your Phone in 12 Minutes

Your Samsung smartphone of the future could pack in more battery power while charging five times faster than today's phones. And it's all thanks to something called graphene balls.

Samsung's Note 8 is a long-lasting phone. But Samsung is working on improved charging technology. (Credit: Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: Samsung's Note 8 is a long-lasting phone. But Samsung is working on improved charging technology. (Credit: Tom's Guide))

Samsung unveiled the new technology this week that its battery division co-developed with the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology and the Seoul National University School of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Samsung says its new approach allows for faster charging while also increasing the number of a charging cycles a battery can endure.

How much faster? According to Samsung, we're talking about batteries that can charge in 12 minutes, which would be a 5X improvement over what you see in lithium-ion batteries today. Samsung also says its technology would create batteries with capacities that are 45 percent larger than today's versions, meaning whatever's powered by these souped-up batteries would last a whole lot longer.

MORE: Smartphones with the Longest Battery Life

The technology relies on something called graphene balls, which are made out of silicon dioxide. Our sister site AnandTech has the in-depth explanation of just how it all works, but the TLDR version is that the graphene balls cover a cathode protecting it from damage while also providing more efficient conductivity.

Samsung looks to be considering these improved batteries for use in electric cars and mobile devices. What's not clear is when exactly the technology would find its way into commercially available products.

Samsung's recent history with batteries hasn't always been a happy one, as Galaxy Note 7 owners will tell you. But its current lineup of flagship phones currently boast some long-lasting power packs. The Note 8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy S8 Active all lasted more than 11 hours on our Tom's Guide battery test.

While that's better than the average smartphone by more than an hour and 20 minutes, other phone makers offer devices that top 14 hours and beyond. This new graphene ball-driven technology could be Samsung's effort to muscle its way to the head of the long-last smartphone crowd.

Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.