Chinese phone makers have been leading the effort on the fast-charging technology front over the past year or two. OnePlus currently supports 30W fast-charging and Oppo has shifted from 50W SuperVOOC to 65W SuperVOOC charging — letting its sister company Realme borrow the fast-charging technology as well. These Chinese giants, including Oppo, Xiaomi, and Vivo are now ready to debut phones with over 100W fast-charging support. Qualcomm Quick Charge had, however, been stuck at 27W fast-charging over the past couple of years.
Now, Qualcomm has finally upgraded the Quick Charge standard after three years. Quick Charge 5 was announced just a couple of days ago, supporting up to 100W charging speeds. It will enable you to fully charge your phone in under 15 minutes, claims Qualcomm. However, if you are wondering what all upgrades does the Quick Charge fast-charging standard bring in comparison to Quick Charge 4+, then you’ve arrived at the right place:
What is Qualcomm Quick Charge Technology?
Before we delve into the differences and similarities, let me quickly brief you on what exactly is Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology. The American chipmaker is known for revolutionizing the fast-charging world – enabling users to charge their phones at speeds faster than 10W (5V/2A) back in 2014. It operates at high-voltage, so you don’t need to worry about the cable length or its charging capability.
Quick Charge is designed to be both connector and current independent. It works with every type of port out there, including USB Type-A, USB Type-C, and microUSB ports.
Quick Charge 5 vs Quick Charge 4+
Let’s take a trip down memory lane before taking a look at Quick Charge 5 and Quick Charge 4+ charging speeds.
Qualcomm Quick Charge 1.0 had a maximum power output of 10W, Quick Charge 2.0 bumped it to 18W (9V/ 2A), and Quick Charge 3.0 offered up to 36W (12V/ 3A) power output. And I know, you might not believe this but Qualcomm enabled up to 100W charging speeds with Quick Charge 4 back in 2016. Quick Charge 4+ brought in tow improvements to this standard with the Snapdragon 845 chipset in 2017.
Now you know that Quick Charge 4+ supports up to 100W charging speeds, thanks to the Quick Charge and USB-PD support. The phone makers, however, did not actively adopt this and offered only up to 27W fast charging speeds via USB-PD. It is also PD-PPS compliant but as I mentioned above, it wasn’t actively being used as the voltage adjustment protocol until very recently.
Quick Charge 5 does not bring any major changes in this regard. It can be seen as an evolution of Quick charge 4+ and one that takes full advantage of the USB-PD PPS standard to provide users access to multiple voltage levels to achieve charging speeds up to 100W. It’s similar to what many Chinese phone makers have introduced but Quick Charge 5 will offer everyone a level playing field.
What does this mean for the users? Will my phone heat up quickly while charging the phone? Does a Quick Charge 5-compatible phone have a higher chance of heating?
The answer to your questions is – NO. One of the things that’s different about Quick Charge 5 is the charging architecture, per se. USB-PD PPS sees the voltage regulation move from inside the smartphone to the outside, i.e the charger. This means it is the charger that will provide more voltage, which the PMICs inside your phone can then adjust to provide the necessary power to the battery.
This means the charger will be more prone to heating and Qualcomm has self-imposed a 40-degree Celcius temperature limit (with 98% maximum conversion efficiency) for the phone while charging via this standard.
Another benefit of Quick charge 5 is that it not only supports a single but 2S batteries, which means two batteries can be connected in series, inside the phone to double the charging voltage. This means a standard lithium-ion will charge at around 8.8 volts as opposed to around 4.4V for a single battery. This means you can achieve up to 53W (8.8 x 2 x 3 ) using a standard 3A charging cable – if the phone makers use the dual-battery configuration. Phone makers will need to use a special cable that’s capable of supporting over 5.7 volts to offer 100W+ charging speeds.
Apart from the charging speed or voltage, I have to say that the charging time is one of those figures that can make anyone’s jaw hit the floor. Though Qualcomm doesn’t give official 0% to 100% charging time numbers for Quick Charge 4+, you will be amazed to see the performance gains.
Quick Charge 4+, as per Qualcomm, is capable of charging a 2750mAh battery from 0% to 50% in 15 minutes. So, you have about 1375mAh of charge in 15 minutes, which isn’t bad if your phone has a 4,500mAh battery (around 31% charge in 15 minutes).
Quick Charge 5, on the other, is capable of charging a 4,500mAh battery from 0% to 100% in under 15 minutes. Amazed? Well yeah, if the phone supports Quick Charge 5 and you have a compatible accessory, then you will be able to fully charge your phone in under 15 minutes. Qualcomm says you will be able to get around 50% charge in 5 minutes, which sounds bonkers.
Now, to be clear, this is the best-case scenario and phone makers will need to offer you 100W support with their next device to make this a reality. You will at least get 53W fast-charging speeds if not 100W with the use of a dual-battery configuration under Quick Charge 5 standards. Qualcomm also says that single battery phones will have a limitation and will only be charged at up to 45W.
Major Benefit of Quick Charge 5
While 100W+ charging speeds does sound like the highlight of Quick Charge 5, I will have to disagree. The benefit of phone makers switching to Quick Charge 5 will be the fact that you will be able to use any standard PD-PPS charger to quickly juice up your smartphone.
If a PD-PPS-supported charger is capable of outputting the power (required voltage x current) that your phone requires, then you can use it to fast-charge your device. As AnandTech rightly points out, the recently announced Oppo 125W Super Flash Charge solution uses the PD-PPS protocol and supports up to 20V/ 6.3A. This means it will be compliant with Quick Charge 5 and can be used to charge a Quick Charge 5-supported phone.
Quick Charge 5 Supported Phones
Quick Charge 5 is supported on Qualcomm’s latest flagship chipsets – the Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 865 Plus. The company plans to integrate this fast-charging tech into “future premium- and high-tier Snapdragon mobile platforms” as well.
Xiaomi will be one of the first phone makers to leverage the Quick charge 5 technology. We expect the rumored Mi 10 Pro+ or Mi Mix 4 to arrive with 100W charging support in tow. We will see phones with up to 100W fast-charging launch in Q3 2020.
So yeah, are you ready to experience blazing charging speeds? Leave behind 18W and 30W chargers? Do share your opinion with us in the comments below.