Earlier today, Google unveiled the Pixel 5a with 5G. The new Pixel 5a with 5G is really similar to last year’s Pixel 4a (5G): They have the same cameras, processor, port options, software, and basically the same displays. They also both come with chargers in the box, which is a fact that needs to be said considering both Samsung and Apple have stopped doing that for their latest flagships. Soon, Google will join both companies in shipping a phone without a charger in the box, as the company has confirmed its upcoming Pixel 6 series won’t come with one.
Google told The Verge that the Pixel 5a is the last Pixel phone to include a charging brick in the box, which means, of course, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro won’t come with one. Both phones are launching later this fall with premium hardware and software, and they’ll be available in countries where Samsung and Apple already ship phones without an in-box charger.
The reason that Google won’t include a charger in the box with the Pixel 6 is simple: Most people buying a phone at this price point already have a USB-C charging brick — or multiple — at home. There are also other benefits to not shipping a charger in the box, of course. For Google, the move reduces costs as they won’t need to manufacture a charger for every phone. Plus, it also cuts down on distribution costs as the company can reduce the size and weight of the Pixel 6’s box. We don’t know if Google plans to pass these savings onto the consumer, though. Excluding the in-box charger also reduces e-waste, at least theoretically, since users will have one less component to discard when it comes time to upgrade their device.
Apple and Samsung were the first smartphone makers to ship products without a charger in the box. Apple was first out of the gate with its iPhone 12 series, but Samsung followed shortly after with the Galaxy S21 series. Samsung has continued the trend by excluding the in-box charger with its latest foldables, and other OEMs like HMD Global have joined in, citing the same justifications as Google. OnePlus and Xiaomi both still include chargers with their latest phones, but it’s only a matter of time until they follow suit.
The Pixel 6 is rumored to launch with faster wireless charging thanks to an upgraded Pixel Stand accessory, but it’s unclear if they’ll support faster wired charging speeds as well. Previous Pixel phones top out at 18W wired charging speeds through supported USB-C PD power adapters, including Google’s very own. We hope that Google plans to both improve the charging speeds in the next Pixel and also give users the option to pick up a charger with a purchase, even if it ships separately.