Pixel 6 charging may be slower than Google promised — what's the truth?

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are two of the best values in the phone market right now but they aren't without some flaws, and a new one has just been brought to light.

When Google announced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, it released them alongside a new 30-watt charger, but a new Google support page shows that the phones aren't able to charge at anywhere near that speed (via ExtremeTech).

While both phones support the new USB PD 3.0 PPS charging standard, a Google Support Community Manager indicates that "The peak power that Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro draw from the wired charger is 21W and 23W, respectively." This is still an improvement over the 18W max charging for the previous Pixels, but given the focus Google put on its new 30W charger, it was clearly implied that the phones were drawing at or at least near that rate.

When it comes to the actual time to charge, Google wasn't misleading anyone as it is roughly 30 minutes to hit 50% for both phones if you are using a USB PD 3.0 PPS compatible charger. This might make the new Pixel Stand (now up for pre-order) more interesting to some Pixel 6 owners as it offers the same 21W and 23W max for the phones, respectively. I won't give too much credit there as that's still well below the 50W wireless charging OnePlus offers, but it's nice to not be sacrificing charging speed by going wireless. 

The confusion regarding the charging is made somewhat worse by the overall confusion regarding the Pixel 6 battery life, which has been a source of contention with claims varying more than is typical.

Regardless of the charging wattage, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro remain two of the best smartphones of 2021, but it's a spec Google really needs to improve on next year before it falls even further behind.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.