Opinion

Now isn’t the time for Samsung to be cheaping out with bundled chargers

Samsung, according to at least one rumor, is discussing plans to stop including a charger in the box with some of its phones. Apple is already doing this with the new iPhone 12, and there’s a good chance Samsung will use this as an excuse to start doing the same in the near future instead of waiting longer like it might have if Apple hadn’t announced a similar move.

There are a couple of good reasons for not putting chargers in the box. The biggest, of course, is the environmental benefit. With the many millions of new smartphones that ship across the globe each year, all those new chargers that are provided with each phone contribute to a massive amount of electronic waste, something that can be reduced if people simply use their existing chargers when they buy a new phone.

There’s also the price factor. Not including accessories such as the charger or earphones in the box allows manufacturers to reduce the sticker price for a new device. And Samsung may already be sowing the seeds for this no-accessory future. Samsung’s fantastic new value flagship, the Galaxy S20 FE, doesn’t have earphones in the box, and while it does come with a charger, it’s not a 25W super fast charging brick. Instead, it’s the good old 15W fast charger Samsung has been bundling with its phones for half a decade.

That has allowed the company to price the Galaxy S20 FE’s 5G model at $699 in the US (with some early discounts further slashing off $100), which is amazing any way you look at it when you consider the spec sheet. But, in my opinion, I don’t think this is the right time for Samsung to be removing chargers from its box or, in this case, bundling a slower charger and asking customers to purchase the 25W charger separately.

Right now, the only Samsung phone that ships with a 15W charger even though it supports 25W super fast charging is the Galaxy S20 FE, and I sincerely hope it’s an exception rather than the rule. The reason for that is simple: The 25W super fast charging tech hasn’t been available for Galaxy devices for very long. It was introduced just last year with the Galaxy A70 and Galaxy S10 5G, and till date, there aren’t a lot of Galaxy phones and tablets that support it.

That will change in the next couple of years as more Galaxy devices — including affordable offerings — launch with 25W charging support, but right now, not many customers who own a Galaxy device own a 25W charger. There’s also the fact that Samsung was considerably slow in upgrading to modern charging technology for its phones and tablets, so it would be a bit rich for the company to start making those faster chargers an optional purchase so soon, especially if it intends to keep touting 25W fast charging as one of the key features of every new device it makes official.

Now, it’s entirely possible the Galaxy S20 FE, and future Fan Editions of Samsung’s flagships, will be the exception rather than the rule. One instance of Samsung not bundling a charger that provides the advertised 25W charging speed isn’t enough to be certain the company will do it regularly going forward. But if it does, I’ll be the first to complain (as is my habit), and I’m sure many others will do the same.

Join the Discussion