Smartphone maker OnePlus is showing off a concept phone at Mobile World Congress this week that has a built-in liquid cooling system. But the company hasn’t committed to actually bringing a phone like this to market anytime soon.
You know what OnePlus does plan to sell? A 45 watt liquid cooling system that can be attached to the back of just about any phone to bring some serious cooling power. OnePlus hasn’t revealed pricing, availability, or who the heck they think will buy this thing, but the company is showing it off at its MWC booth.
Here’s the deal: smartphones heat up when the processor and battery are under heavy load. Not only does this make the phone warm to the touch, but it can also affect performance because the processor will slow down to prevent damage if the phone gets too warm.
Some companies have tried to improve smartphone performance and stamina with advanced cooling systems built into their phones. From time to time we’ve also seen companies introduce clip-on fans that connect to the back of a phone to help with cooling, if not ergonomics.
What makes the OnePlus solution different is that instead of a fan it uses liquid cooling. And since that takes more power and more space, it’s not nearly as portable a solution. While the Asus AeroActive Cooler, Razer Phone Cooler Chroma, and Black Shark Fun Cooler 2 Pro clip-on fans are all self-contained, the OnePlus 45W Liquid Cooler consists of an accessory that clips onto your phone, a box that’s about the size and shape of an external hard drive, and a tube that runs between them.
The up side is that OnePlus says the system can lower the temperature of your phone by as much as 20 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit). According to the folks at Stuff and Android Authority who’ve tried the system out, it takes just a few seconds for a phone to begin cooling so much that it actually feels cold to the touch.
The down side is that this isn’t an accessory you’re going to be able to whip out at a moment’s notice: it’s a two-part solution that’s not exactly going to fit in your pocket.
As stupid as this idea is, I could see a few people finding a non-gaming use for it. I’ve seen some janky cooling solutions that I’ve seen people rig up to perform intensive tasks and avoid the phone overheating.
In the early days of 4K recording on smartphones, lots of phones would overheat and shut down.
People doing this repeatedly risk causing swelling of their battery.
I’m sure at least a few developers working with AI software might use this to maintain performance, and avoid damage to the phone