Charging Your Galaxy S8 Phone and Managing Battery Life

By Bill Hughes

In the package when you buy your Samsung Galaxy S8 phone, you will find a two-piece battery charger (cable and the transformer), as shown here.

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The transformer and USB cable for charging your phone.

The cable has two ends: one end that plugs into the phone, and the other that’s a standard rectangular USB connector. The phone end is a small connector called a USB-C that is used on many Samsung devices and is the standard for charging cellphones and other small electronics — and for connecting them to computers.

One cool thing you will notice about the USB-C connector is that you can insert it either side up. The older, rectangular USB-A connector probably drove you crazy because it wouldn’t go in if you had the plug upside down. You still have that problem with the wall charger and cable, but you won’t have the problem with the cable and phone!

To charge the phone, you have two choices:

  • Plug the transformer into a wall socket and then plug the cable’s USB plug into the USB receptacle in the transformer.
  • Plug the USB on the cable into a USB port on your PC.

Then you plug the small end of the cable into the phone. The port is on the bottom of the phone. You will see that the top is a little smaller than the bottom. It’s a trapezoid with rounded edges. Orient the plug with the hole in the phone and make sure that you push the little metal plug all the way in.

It doesn’t really matter in what order you plug in things. However, if you use the USB port on a PC, the PC needs to be powered on for the phone to charge.

Your phone will charge faster with a Samsung wall charger that has Adaptive Fast Charging on it. When the wall charger, or car charger has Adaptive Fast Charging, it knows if the phone is getting too warm and slow down the speed of charging. Because the charging speed can slow down, it can go faster the rest of the time.

If your phone is off when you’re charging the battery, an image of a battery appears onscreen for a moment. The green portion of the battery indicates the amount of charge within the battery. You can get the image to reappear with a quick press of the Power button. This image tells you the status of the battery without your having to turn on the phone.

If your phone is on, you see a small battery icon at the top of the screen showing how much charge is in the phone’s battery. When the battery in the phone is fully charged, it vibrates to let you know that it’s done charging and that you should unplug the phone and charger.

It takes only a few hours to go from a dead battery to a fully charged battery. Other than the first time you charge the phone, you don’t need to wait for the battery to be fully charged. You can partially recharge and run if you want.

You’ll hear all kinds of “battery lore” left over from earlier battery technologies. For example, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries in your S8 don’t have a “memory” (a bad thing for a battery) as nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries did. That means that you don’t have to make sure that the battery fully discharges before you recharge it.

In addition to the transformer and USB cable that come with the phone, you have other optional charging tools:

  • USB travel charger: If you already have a USB travel charger, you can leave the transformer at home. This accessory will run you about $15. You still need your cable, although any USB-to-micro-USB cable should work.
  • Car charger: You can buy a charger with a USB port that plugs into the power socket/cigarette lighter in a car. This is convenient if you spend a lot of time in your car. The list price is $30, but you can get the real Samsung car charger for less at some online stores.
  • Portable external charger: You can buy a portable external charger with a micro-USB port that you can use to recharge your phone without having to plug into the power socket or cigarette lighter in a car. You charge this gizmo before your travel and connect it only when the charge in your phone starts to get low. These usually involve re-chargeable batteries, but some of these products use photovoltaic cells to transform light into power. As long as there is a USB port (the female part of the USB), all you need is your cable. These chargers can cost from $30 to $100 on up. See some options in Figure 2-3.
  • Wireless charger: This option is slick. You simply put your phone on a charging mat or in a cradle, and the phone battery will start charging! Your Galaxy S8 uses the widely adopted Qi standard (pronounced chee). This option saves you from having to plug and unplug your phone.
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Some portable external charging options.

Ideally, use Samsung chargers or chargers from reputable manufacturers or retailers. The power specifications for USB ports are standardized. Reputable manufactures comply with these standards, but less reputable manufacturers might not. Cheap USB chargers physically fit the USB end of the cable that goes to your phone. However, Li-ion batteries are sensitive to voltage. There are many, many creative options available outside the store where you bought your phone, but avoid the allure of low price.

Be aware that the conditions that make for a good charge with a photocell also tend to make for high heat. It will do you little good to have a beautifully functioning charger and a dead phone.

Most of the chargers out there are either for the Apple iPhone and have an Apple Lightning connector or have a micro-USB connector. As you know, your phone has a USB-C connector. A micro USB will not work with a USB-C connector. You either need to get a cable that has a USB-C connector or use an adapter that will allow you to connect micro USB to a USB-C connector. The following figure shows the micro USB to USB-C adapter next to a dime for a size comparison.

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The micro USB to USB-C adapter.