Actually, In-Box Chargers are a Big Deal

Samsung Charger

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Yesterday, Kellen spouted a privileged take about how it’s no big deal that Google isn’t including a charger with purchase of a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro. He argues that most people should already have a charger laying around (funny, that’s Google’s argument), and if you really need one, you should just buy one from a third party. Naturally, my dude got roasted and we received plenty of emails and Twitter comments regarding his post. As a bit of insider info, I can tell you that his stance is unchanged and his resolve has never been stronger.

While I get where Kellen is coming from, as I find myself aligning with his opinions a lot these days, I will take a stance for the opposition on this one. To put it real simply, I find it so odd that a company can sell a product that relies on battery power, but the company doesn’t include a way to charge the battery. For a child’s toy, which typically won’t come with batteries included, it makes perfect sense. For a smartphone? Not so much. “Oh, you want to charge the expensive device you just bought for upwards of $1,000? You’ll need to buy a charger, too, even though we’ve included them in the box for the past 10+ years, sorry.”

In what alternate reality does that even make sense? It’s a very Apple way of doing things, and as an Android diehard kind of guy, this honestly triggers me a bit. The 100% necessary charger should be baked into the price of the device always, not be sold as an accessory.

People have other arguments, too, a few of which I can support as a conscious consumer. There’s the e-waste argument, claiming that these companies are reducing waste by not including chargers in the box. However, we’d need some real hardcore carbon footprint data of producing the chargers and including them, versus someone having to buy a 3rd-party charger from somewhere like Amazon and needing that charger shipped separately to them. In case there was any doubt, Google is still making the chargers, folks. After all, Google has to offer them for sale to those who buy the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, so inevitably, there are some chargers that will end up in the trash or at recycling centers, regardless of whether they’re included in the box or not. Plus, if we’re being real-real, the e-waste argument makes sense when you’re talking millions and millions of units, which is what Apple and Samsung sell. Google isn’t touching those sales figures, so when we look at the amount of waste side by side, I have to assume it’s not even close to the same.

Not All Chargers Are Created Equally

The one year Google absolutely needs to include a charger with a phone is this year. We’re expecting Google to introduce a phone with high-end specs, not another mid-range wannabe like the Pixel 5. No offense, Google, but the Pixel 5 is pretty mediocre. Continuing on, the Pixel 6 will sport Google’s in-house silicon, and after all of these years, we expect it to offer relatively fast charging speeds. This could be a big first for Google, as past devices have always charged on the slow side. If Google gives the people what they want, and plan to charge a lot of money for it, we should be provided with a charger that can take advantage of the new speedy goodness.

As one might assume, not all chargers are created equally. Just because my OnePlus Warp Charger can charge a OnePlus phone incredibly fast, doesn’t mean it’ll charge a Pixel device fast at all. I don’t think it takes much to realize this, so to ensure everyone has a good experience when it comes to charging the device, Google should simply provide a charger when you buy a phone.

My last argument is a brief one. The charger situation could be seen as an accessibility issue. I take my mother for example. My guess is, if I had her go off and buy a Pixel 6, unless Google made it alarmingly clear at point of purchase, she wouldn’t know that the phone doesn’t come with a charger in the box. I wonder if that happened a lot of iPhone and Samsung Galaxy buyers. Did people buy a phone, get home, then realize there was no way to charge it? I imagine that could be very frustrating for people, especially if those people aren’t very mobile or tech-savvy enough to quickly order one online. Realistically, I think the no-charger-in-box situation could cause more issues than solve, but that’s just me.

Like the headphone jack and removable batteries, there is likely no amount of online arguing that will change what is happening. The best we can do is adapt as consumers, which simply means you’ll need to either buy a charger alongside your new device or hold onto your old ones and reuse them. We may not like it at first, but given how history tends to repeat itself, we’ll find something else to be unhappy with down the road.



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