Phones are getting faster and faster every year, though charging speed isn't necessarily keeping pace. You can only push so much power so quickly before it wreaks havoc on the battery — or worse yet, turns your handset into a ticking time bomb.
Still, advances to charging are being made. The latest phone from OnePlus is a prime example.
The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition isn't quite the fastest charging smartphone we've ever seen at Tom's Guide, but it comes very close thanks to its new Warp Charge 30 charging system. The included 30W adapter and cable took the handset from empty to 66 percent in 30 minutes in our testing.
That's quicker than the regular OnePlus 6T, which reached 59 percent in a half-hour with the company's previous 20W Dash Charge protocol. However, it doesn't quite match the pace of Huawei's Mate 20 Pro and its 40W Super Charger, which reached an astonishing 70 percent in the same amount of time.
Battery Fast Charging Speeds
|Phone||Percentage charged after 30 minutes||Battery size|
|Huawei Mate 20 Pro||70%||4,000 mAh|
|OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition||66%||3,700 mAh|
|OnePlus 6T||59%||3,700 mAh|
|Apple iPhone XR||51%||2,942 mAh|
|Google Pixel 3||50%||2,915 mAh|
|Apple iPhone XS Max||35%||3,174 mAh|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 9||34%||4,000 mAh|
In 15 minutes, the McLaren-branded device reached 39 percent, and in 60 minutes, it was virtually full — up to 98 percent.
The bump in charging speed with the 6T McLaren Edition is especially impressive when you consider the fact that OnePlus upped the capacity of the 6T's battery by 400 mAh over its predecessor. Whereas the OnePlus 6 had a 3,300-mAh battery, the 6T contains a 3,700-mAh unit.
OnePlus and Huawei's charging solutions still far exceed the best efforts of other phone makers, including Apple, Samsung and Google. The iPhone XR, XS and XS Max can all reach up to 50 percent in 30 minutes, though you'd need to buy a first-party USB Type-C charging brick and cable to achieve that speed. Apple charges a total of $70 for both together.
Other Android mainstays, like Google's Pixel 3 and Samsung's Galaxy S9 and Note 9, rely on charging protocols that compare favorably with what Apple employs, but don't measure up to the fastest solutions out there. The Pixel 3's 18W USB-C Power Delivery-spec charger can take it to 50 percent in a half hour, while the Galaxy Note 9 only crosses the line at 34 percent — a consequence of Samsung's rather dated Adaptive Fast Charging standard.
How Charging Works on the OnePlus 6T McLaren
The 6T McLaren Edition admittedly slowed down once it passed that half-hour threshold. Over the next 30 minutes, it gained just 32 percent of charge. The reduction in speed is likely done to reduce stress on the battery when as it nears full capacity. Like OnePlus' Dash Charge, Warp Charge has been designed to achieve its high rate of delivery by increasing amperage, rather than voltage — a key difference from most competing solutions, which function on the opposite basis.
Put another way, Warp Charge works by widening the current of energy flowing to the battery, instead of driving up the volts. That makes charging speeds more consistent, and limits the negative factor of heat, which throttles performance. There are also integrated circuits and heat dispersion elements inside the Warp Charge brick, to ensure the device doesn't get too toasty while its plugged in.
The only downside to OnePlus' system, of course, is that you'll have to use its proprietary charger and cable to get the fastest possible speeds. The Papaya Orange-colored USB-C cable that comes with the McLaren Edition 6T is actually wider than ordinary charging cables, due to the fact that it carriers a higher amperage. OnePlus currently offers standalone Dash Chargers for $39 on its website; the company doesn't yet sell individual Warp Chargers, nor do we know if it intends to.
Like other OnePlus 6T models, the McLaren variant cannot charge wirelessly. This isn't a huge loss for those in search of the fastest speeds, as wireless charging is significantly less efficient than the fastest wired standards. But it is a noticeable omission at a time when all the company's rivals support the feature.
Right now, OnePlus is only offering this technology with the $699/£649 OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, which is a limited run product and likely won't be made in excessive quantities. That means if you want Warp Charge-caliber speeds, you'll have to snag one before they sell out. The standard OnePlus 6T starts at $549, but only supports the older though still fast Dash Charge system.
While the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition doesn't quite rank as the world's fastest-charging phone — a title that currently belongs to Huawei's Mate 20 Pro — it is the fastest charging phone you can buy in the U.S., because Huawei doesn't sell its latest flagship in the country. Couple that designation with the McLaren Edition's 10GB of RAM and $699 price tag (quite reasonable among competing flagships), and OnePlus' screaming orange handset really begins to look like a supercar among smartphones, at the price of a family sedan.