Samsung should reconsider how much it charges for chargers

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Last week Samsung presented its first Unpacked event for 2021 where it showcased its new S21 range of smartphones.

Mirroring what Apple did in 2020, Samsung will no longer include a charging adapter in the box. This means that if you don’t have a charging adapter, you’re going to need to head out to the store and buy one.

Heading over to the local Samsung website our jaws dropped when we saw what the brand was charging for an adapter.

As of time of writing the only charger available in-store and online is a 45W Travel Charger that retails for R995. There are other models, but they are currently unavailable, namely a 25W Super Fast Charger which retails for R990 at Samsung Store in Canal Walk, Cape Town. Unfortunately, that 25W charger is the minimum you’ll need to juice up the Galaxy S21 series and take advantage of its Super Fast Charging.

We recoiled at the thought of paying close on R1 000 for a charger especially when pricing for the Galaxy S21 series starts at R17 999, and we suspect that many other buyers will as well, and this presents a problem.

Using the incorrect charger can potentially damage your battery with extended use. It also couldn’t but given the entrance fee for this smartphone, are you really willing to take a risk? We sure as hell aren’t.

“Samsung does not recommend using any chargers other than Samsung chargers, especially chargers that are uncertified or counterfeit. These can hinder the charging of your device and may cause battery issues if used long term. Always make sure your charger is an authentic Samsung charger,” reads a cautionary statement on Samsung’s website.

The problem here is that many “uncertified or counterfeit” chargers are cheaper, far cheaper than Samsung’s official products. And there is no shortage of 25W+ chargers on the market.

One could simply use this Aukey charger, but if something happens and Samsung finds out that you aren’t using its charger, the warranty on your smartphone could be null and void.

Now, Samsung says it removed the charger from the box because “Galaxy users are reusing accessories they already have and making sustainable choices in their daily lives to promote better recycling habits”, which is admirable but also seems out of touch.

As an example, the Galaxy S10+ that I have been using for two years now shipped with a 12W charger in the box. This charger still works but if I were to sell this handset I’d have to include it in the box.

Even if I decided not to sell this smartphone, the charger I have does not support the charging standard the latest handsets do.

Where things leave a sour taste in our mouth is the carrot that is including a charger with pre-orders. Vodacom is offering “free accessories worth R4 499” for those who pre-order this device and yes, a charger is part of those accessories.

So you could put your trust in a product that hasn’t hit the market yet or you can wait – as you should – and be forced to fork out that ~R1 000 for a compatible charger. It all just feels, wrong.

All of this has us wondering which Galaxy users Samsung spoke to to garner this advice of removing the charger from the box. For those who are purchasing a new handset every year, they might have a 25W charger, but if the last time you purchased a Samsung was with the S10 series, then you are out of luck and will have to purchase a new charger.

We realise that Samsung is trying to do right by the environment but perhaps it ought to consider dropping the prices of its chargers drastically to do right by its customers as well.

Hell, even Apple doesn’t have the gall to charge close on a R1 000 for a wall charger.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.