Robert Treggs / Android Authority
The launch of the Pixel last year appears to promise improved charging speeds for Google phones, featuring a 30W charger requirement compared to the 18W slow charger from previous years. Some spying revealed that the company wasn’t entirely honest in its representation, with the Pixel 6 capped at 21W and the 6 Pro delivering 23W of peak power. OK, but not with the levels of competitive strength that the marketing materials initially promised.
Back in the day, the charging messages for the Pixel 7 series have not changed. Google recommends opting for a 30W charger for new phones, which you still have to buy separately as the brand no longer includes a charger in the box. However, the fine print indicates that the true charging power requirements remain at 21W and 23W for the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, respectively. Again, the 30-watt plug requirement appears to be overkill, and lower-power alternatives will achieve the same results.
Read moreHow to choose the right charger
We’ve taken the two latest Google phones to our lab to find out exactly what you need to quickly charge the Pixel 7 series.
Google Pixel 7 charging test
Two things to note before looking at the numbers. Firstly, the Pixel 7 series charges the highest power levels when connected to a sufficiently powerful USB Power Delivery PPS socket, which is supported by Google official and many other third-party products. Second, peak power is 18W when connected to a standard USB Power Delivery charger (without PPS support), such as an old Pixel plug or the 30W Apple USB-C charger we use for this test. With that out of the way, let’s delve into some of the characters.
The data speaks for itself; There is not much difference in full charge times between a PPS and a standard USB power delivery plug. In fact, the Pixel 7 goes up to 100 minutes with USB PD PSS and 101 minutes with an older charger. Meanwhile, the Pixel 7 Pro completes in 104 minutes with the Google charger and 111 minutes with the Apple model.
We are talking here about the difference in margin of error. Seasoned readers will also note that the Pixel 7’s charging times are faster than last year’s models. We clocked the Pixel 6 Pro at 111 minutes to complete, although some of that difference could be due to temperature changes at the time of testing.
The Pixel 7 Pro charges slightly faster than the Pixel 6 Pro.
Looking at the main sights, there’s not a great deal in them either. With the optimum charger, a regular Pixel 7 reaches 25% in 15 minutes, 50% in 30 minutes, and 75% in 52 minutes. In comparison, using a non-PPS charger, the Pixel 7 reached 25% in 17 minutes, 50% in 34 minutes, and 75% in 55 minutes. In other words, choosing an older charger only costs you two minutes compared to the best case scenario.
There is almost no difference in Pixel 7 charging times between a USB PD PPS charger and a non-PPS charger.
There’s a bigger contrast with the Pixel 7 Pro, due to the higher charging rate and a larger 5,000mAh battery versus the Pixel 7’s 4,355mAh cell. It reaches 25% in 15 minutes, 50% in 30 minutes, and 75% in 55 minutes when using the Google 30W plug, which follows the Pixel 7’s path closely. When switching to a non-PPS charger, these times drop slightly to 25% in 18 minutes, 50% in 37 minutes, and 75% in 60 minutes. Worst case, this charger is only seven minutes behind Google’s official recommendation.
Although the Pro benefits from a PPS charger more than the regular model, we’re only talking a few minutes. It seems pretty obvious that stumbling upon Google’s 30W charger isn’t necessarily worth the extra money, especially for the standard Pixel 7 model.
Why is the Pixel 7 charging slowly?
The reason for the similarly slow charging times of the Google Pixel 7 series, regardless of the plug, can be seen by taking a look at the power level throughout the charging cycle. The graph below plots how much power the phone draws over a full cycle for both 30W plugs used in the previous test.
As you can see, the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro hit 21W and 23W, respectively, for nearly half of their charging cycle. This explains why it charges 25% and 50% faster via USB PD PSS compared to standard USB PD. However, after that initial 30-minute charge, both phones revert to a limited power level of less than 18W.
In comparison, a standard USB PD charger delivers approximately 19 watts of power consistently until the battery reaches about 60% of the charge. Although it’s distinctly slower, there’s only a few watts behind what you’d get from a fancier PPS charger.
Google’s Pixel 7 Pro benefits more than PPS, thanks to a higher power charging, but only in a few minutes.
This explains the nearly identical charging times we saw with the regular Pixel 7. An extra 2W difference doesn’t make much of a difference in the early stages of charging, while a regular USB PD charger actually maintains higher power for longer (perhaps due to temperatures), which you see is Attaches to the small front of the PPS charger in the final stages of the charging cycle.
Either way, the Pixel 7 duo certainly isn’t the fastest charging phone on the market, which is almost assured by design to ensure a long-term sustainable battery life. The biggest issue for Pixel owners is how to increase their charging speed and whether it’s worth spending the money on a brand new, up-to-date charging plug.
in-depth reading: How long does it really take to fully charge your phone?
What charger should I use with my Pixel 7?
Robert Treggs / Android Authority
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro both offer solid battery life, so we expect most users to be well served with overnight charging, thanks to Google’s adaptive charging technology. In this case, almost any charger will do, but we recommend a USB Power Delivery plug capable of providing 18W or more of power. A plug like this would still work fine for a fast charge in the day too, and you likely already have one around from an old product.
More ideas: The best Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro chargers
However, if you prefer daily charging or simply want to make sure you can get your phone up and running as quickly as possible, a USB Power Delivery PPS charger capable of delivering around 25W or more is what you’ll need. However, our testing only indicates that this works with the Google Pixel 7 Pro – the regular Pixel 7 sees little benefit. Google’s official 30W plug does the trick here, but there are plenty of third-party options too.