What is Qualcomm Quick Charge?

What is Qualcomm Quick Charge?

As the battery capacity of smartphones started to increase with each new model, so did the charging time, and thus speeding it up became a whole new concern. This is why fast charging was developed. A lot of companies started to create their own fast-charging technologies, such as Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging, MediaTek Pump Express, and Oppo Super VOOC Flash Charge, to name a few.  

However, in this race, Qualcomm Quick Charge became the leading and most widely used fast-charging technology. If you happen to have owned a smartphone in the last decade, there’s a big chance it’s supported by Qualcomm Quick Charge. 

But what is Qualcomm Quick Charge exactly? How does it work? And most importantly, why have smartphones and other USB gadgets become so reliant on it? In this article, we’ve compiled some of the most relevant information about Qualcomm Quick Charge so that you can truly get the most out of it.

What is Qualcomm Quick Charge technology?

Developed by the Qualcomm corporation and made available to the general public in 2013, Quick Charge is a technology that revolutionized the fast-speed charging game. Qualcomm Quick Charge provides more power than the conventional 5 Volts / 2 Amps USB rate, and as a result, it is able to charge batteries of compatible devices in less time, allowing consumers to stay away from power outlets for longer. 

Check out our article on the best Qualcomm Quick Charge power banks

Why is Qualcomm Quick Charge technology so popular?

As to why Qualcomm Quick Charge has come into such wide use, there are three main reasons behind it. To begin with, Qualcomm Quick Charge is designed to be connector and current independent. It is compatible with a diverse array of ports, from USB type A, USB type C, micro USB, which means that it covers pretty much all models of smartphones with the Android Operating System. 

Secondly, given that Quick Charge operates with high-voltage, it reduces charging problems related to the length or thickness of cables. This results in an optimal charge regardless of the cable type or cable current capability.

Lastly, nearly all modern smartphones can be charged with 18 Watts of power, which Qualcomm Quick Charge can easily provide. In fact, Quick Charge has grown so much that nowadays it’s capable of transferring up to 100 Watts of power.

Qualcomm Quick Charge is found not only in smartphones, wall chargers, and car outlets; it has also been implemented in power banks, which often support both input and output fast charging. Regardless of how you charge your smartphone, it’s imperative that the source of power and the device be compatible with the technology; otherwise, you won’t enjoy its benefits, resulting in a more conventional and slower charging speed.

Versions of Qualcomm Quick Charge

With more and more smartphone manufacturers competing to offer bigger battery capacities, the need for improving Quick Charge technology continues to arise, and it seems it won’t stop anytime soon.

At present, five versions of Quick Charge are available Quick Charge 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and the latest one, the 4+. As customary in technological advances, each new version has led to a decrease in the use of previous ones, with Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0 being the most predominant in most of the current smartphones.

However, each version of Qualcomm Quick Charge is backward compatible, which means a charger with Quick Charge 3.0 will work perfectly with a smartphone with Quick Charge 2.0, such as the Samsung Galaxy S9.

To help you understand better what each generation of Qualcomm Quick Charge has to offer, the following is a summary of the most significant features and biggest improvements from one version to another.

Qualcomm Quick Charge 1.0

The first version of Qualcomm Quick Charge was introduced in 2013, and soon made a big splash thanks to the fact that it supplies 5 Volts and draws a current of 2 A, maximizing charging efficiency to 10 watts of power. While nowadays, it’s considered “normal charging”, it was groundbreaking back in the day.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Voltage: Up to 6.3 V
  • Maximum Current: 2 A
  • Maximum Power: 10 W
  • Speed: Charge a smartphone up to 50% in 60 minutes
  • Processor: Snapdragon 600

NEW FEATURES

  • AICL (Automatic Input Current Limit)
  • APSD (Automatic Power Source Detection)

 

Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0

A year after the introduction of Quick Charge 1.0, Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 came. One of the most notable features is that it allows a higher voltage supply and a maximum current of 3A. While the maximum voltage of Class A is 12 Volts, Class B chargers supply up to 20 Volts, which is great to charge not only smartphones but also tablets and laptops. Besides, another improvement is its compatibility with a wide array of processors, unlike the previous version.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Voltage: 
    • Class A: 5/9/12 V
    • Class B: 5/9/12/20 V
  • Maximum Current: 3 A 
  • Maximum Power: 36 W
  • Speed: 75% faster than conventional charge
  • Processor: Snapdragon 200, 208, 210, 212, 400, 410, 412, 415, 425, 610, 615, 616, 800, 801, 805, 808, 810

NEW FEATURES

  • HVDCP (High Voltage Dedicated Charging Port)
  • Dual Charge (optional)

 

Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0

Quick Charge 3.0 was announced in late 2015 and released in early 2016. Implementing the Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage (INOV), QC3.0 is able to transfer optimum power by determining the voltage level necessary throughout time. This is why QC3.0 works with voltage levels ranging from 3.6 V to 20 V, with increments of 200 mV. The result is a faster and more efficient charge than Quick Charge 2.0, being capable of powering a 2750mAh battery up to 80% in 35 minutes.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Voltage: 3.6 V to 22 V dynamic with 200 mV increments
  • Maximum Current: 2.6 A or 4.6 A
  • Maximum Power: 36 W
  • Speed: 
  • Charge a smartphone up to 80% in 35 minutes
  • 100% faster than QC1.0
  • Processor: Snapdragon 427, 430, 435, 450, 617, 620, 625, 626, 632, 650, 652, 653, 665, 820, 821

NEW FEATURES

  • HVDCP+
  • Dual Charge+ (optional)
  • INOV 1.0 & 2.0
  • Battery Saver Technologies

 

Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0

Quick Charge 4.0 was announced in December 2016 and released to the market in the first half of the following year. It is 20% faster and 30% more efficient than Quick Charge 3.0, keeping its temperature about 5°C cooler. However, its premiere feature is that it is USB-C USB-PD (Power Delivery) compliant, and it also includes safety measures to protect devices and the unit itself against charging problems, such as overheating, over-voltage and over-current.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Voltage: 
    • 3.6 V to 20 V, 20 mV increments via QC
    • 5 V, 9 V via USB-PD
  • Maximum Current: 
    • 2.6 A or 4.6 A via QC
    • 3 A via USB-PD
  • Maximum Power: 
    • 100 W via QC
    • 27 W via USB-PD
  • Speed: Charge a smartphone up to 50% in 15 minutes
  • Processor: Snapdragon 630, 636, 660, 710, 835

NEW FEATURES

  • HVDCP++
  • Dual Charge++ (optional)
  • INOV 3.0
  • Battery Saver Technologies 2
  • USB-PD compatible

 

Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+

Quick Charge 4+ was announced on June 1, 2017. This improved version of Quick Charge 4.0 features Intelligent Thermal Balancing and Advanced Safety Features to eliminate hot spots and protect against overheating and short-circuit or damage of the USB-C connector. Besides, Dual Charge++ is required, whereas in prior versions Dual Charge was optional. Lastly, Qualcomm claims that compared to its predecessor, this version is 15% faster, charge up to 30% more efficient while operating 3°C cooler.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Voltage: 
    • 3.6 V to 20 V, 20 mV increments via QC
    • 5 V, 9 V via USB-PD
  • Maximum Current: 
    • 2.6 A or 4.6 A via QC
    • 3 A via USB-PD
  • Maximum Power: 
    • 100 W via QC
    • 27 W via USB-PD
  • Speed: Charge a smartphone up to 50% in 15 minutes
  • Processor: Snapdragon 670, 675, 712, 730, 730G, 845,855

NEW FEATURES

  • Dual Charge++ (not optional)
  • Intelligent Thermal Balancing
  • Advanced Safety Features

 

Qualcomm VS Power Delivery (PD)

Along with Qualcomm Quick Charge, Power Delivery is a  widely adopted standard protocol from the USB-IF standards organization capable of delivering up to 100W, at 20V and 5A, to charge devices with greater power demands, such as tablets and laptops.

PD can be found in any USB connection but is mostly found in USB Type-C ports. Google Pixel phones come with USB Type-C ports, while the latest iPhones (8 onwards) don’t. Yet, they are compatible with both their own patented fast-charging technology and USB PD, which offers the fastest speed of the two.

However, PD technology requires then a USB Type-C connector and a USB-C power controller on the charger and device, which can be a problem considering that Apple does not pack their newer iPhones with a PD compliant charger or port. This means you will have to purchase a spare USB Power Delivery charger and a USB Type-C to Apple Lightning cable if you wish to charge your smartphone the fastest way possible.

Which one is faster?

In reality, there’s not a significant difference between the speed that both technologies offer. It all comes down to other factors, such as versatility, cost, and, most importantly, use.

While Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 and 4+ are limited to 27W of power, they were designed to be compatible with Power Delivery. As we’ve learned, smartphones usually require no more than 18W for charging, which is why Qualcomm Quick Charge has been embraced by most smartphone manufacturers.

The bottom line is that although Power Delivery (PD) provides enough power to charge smartphones and laptops, Quick Charge 4.0 and 4+ integrate PD and are compatible with more USB connectors, and thus more smartphones. If you’re looking for versatility over power, and save some money, a Quick Charge wall-charger is the choice to go. If you want to charge all your PD/USB-C compatible devices (laptops, smartphones, Nintendo Switch), then with a single PD charger, you can do it all.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, Qualcomm Quick Charge has shaped the way we charge our devices, allowing what some years ago was unthinkable: fast-speed charging that has been adopted by almost every brand on the planet.

Qualcomm Quick Charge offers you great choices in the form of compatible USB ports, USB-powered devices, chargers, and power banks, helping you stay away from power outlets for long.

While the current speeds are exceptional, we can only wonder what the future holds. However, one thing is certain: Qualcomm Quick Charge will continue evolving and optimizing the charging process.