Quick Charge 3.0 explained: what you need to know (Update: video added)

by: Rob TriggsSeptember 30, 2015
614

Fast charging technology is a really helpful feature for the heavy mobile user. Qualcomm recently announced its new Quick Charge 3.0 technology, promising a number of improvements over its previous generation speedy charging circuitry. So let’s break down exactly what’s new.

What is Quick Charge?

If you’re new to the concept of quick charging, the result is in the name: your smartphone charges up faster than it would without Quick Charge technology.

At its most simple level, Quick Charge allows for high levels of current to flow to the battery, in an attempt to maximise its charging efficiency. The latest Quick Charge products also tend to charge their batteries at higher voltages, allowing for a higher rate of power transfer through commonly found cables.

However, both the phone and the charger must be compatible with the same charging voltages and currents. Your phone may support charging at 9V/2A, but if you only have a 1A charger then the process will take longer. Likewise, plugging a 2A charger into a phone that can only accept 0.7A won’t make it charge any faster.

It is also possible to charge a compatible device quickly just by using a similarly high current charger, but non-certified products obviously aren’t guaranteed to work efficiency.

ZTE Blade S6 Plus aa battery

If your battery runs low, Quick Charge can help to juice up your smartphone faster than a lower current charger.

Quick Charge, like similar technologies from other companies, is designed to optimise power transfer in the early stages of charging, allowing users to unplug their devices with a suitable battery capacity after a short amount of time.

Qualcomm boasts that it can charge some devices up to 80 percent in just 35 minutes, but it’s very rare for the company to talk about total charge time, because it is simply less impressive. Power transfer in the latter stages of battery charging is much lower regardless of the charging tech used, hence why Quick Charge can boost your battery to 50 percent or more rather quickly, but will still take over an hour to fully charge your smartphone.

Quick Charge 3.0

Qualcomm boasts a fourfold increase in charging times over conventional chargers with Quick Charge 3.0, up from the 40 percent speed increase offered by its first generation technology. However, one of the interesting things to note is that Qualcomm isn’t touting massive increases in charging times over version 2.0, instead the company is focusing on improved efficiency this time around.

The major new feature with 3.0 is INOV (Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage), which allows for a fined tuned power output and a more optimized charging cycle. Firstly, different batteries require different charging voltages. Version 2.0 supported four modes at varying power levels, 5 volts/2amps, 9V/2A, 12V/1.67A, and a 20 volt option. Quick Charge 3.0’s INOV communicates with the device to request any voltage between 3.2V and 20V at 200mV increments, allowing for a wider selection of voltages.

INOV has the added benefit of being able to dynamically adjust the charging voltage over the battery charging cycle. As a battery charges up, it slowly draws less and less current, which is partly why it takes longer to charge the last 20 percent than the first. Qualcomm states that its new technology allows the phone to request just enough voltage to reach the desired charge current, thereby maximising efficiency.

This is useful as it reduces the amount of energy wasted during charging. Previously, extra power not used to charge the battery would be lost as heat, warming up your phone and reducing the longevity of the battery. By exerting more control over charging efficiency, less power is wasted, resulting in less heat. Qualcomm states that version 3.0 is up to 38 percent more efficiency than 2.0, which is a substantial energy saving.

Energy efficiency is really the major new feature with Quick Charge 3.0, but this is still very important as cooler batteries will last longer than hot ones.

3.0 vs 2.0 vs 1.0

Perhaps the best way to look at this is to compare the charging values between each of Qualcomm’s Quick Charge revisions.

 Quick Charge 3.0Quick Charge 2.0Quick Charge 1.0
Voltages3.2v - 20v dynamic5V / 9V/ 12V5V
Max Power18W18W10W
SoCsSnapdragon 820, 620, 618, 617, and 430 Snapdragon 200, 400, 410, 615, 800, 801, 805, 808 and 810Snapdragon 600

Here we can see that the amount of current offered by Quick Charge has remained relatively consistent, but increasing the charging voltage has helped allow for faster charge times. With 3.0, the range of voltages will allow for fast charging and better efficiency.

For smartphones, the actual maximum amount of power available has not really changed from Quick Charge 2.0’s 18W maximum. Newer 9V models will still take the same 18W peak power as before, although lower voltage batteries may receive a power boost, allowing them to charge up a little faster than before. But this all depends on the exact hardware.

quick-charge-3-0-available-chips

Importantly, Qualcomm has retained backwards compatibility with its 2.0 and 1.0 standards. As the power draw is handled on the smartphone side, you will safely receive the maximum amount of power for your device using any of the certified chargers. However, you won’t achieve full charging speeds if you try charging newer phones with older lower power chargers.

Although Qualcomm supports Quick Charge in all of its new SoCs, it is still up to smartphone and tablet manufacturers to implement the specific circuitry required to make full use of the fastest charging speeds available. Keep an eye out for Quick Charge 3.0 devices appearing in early 2016.

  • JaggedXJ

    First paragraph under Quick Charge 3.0 heading: first and third instance of “increase”, you mean decrease. Second instance is ambiguous. All three could just as easily be changed to “improvement”.
    Hire a bleeping copy editor…

    • Shirley Walter

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    • Gibbs

      lol, didn’t notice it!
      they still haven’t changed it :S

      • Yadwinder Gill

        There are other grammatical errors too.

  • Guaire

    Snapdragon 618 and 620 featured Quick Charge 2.0 according to official pages.

  • Steven Yan

    I have found that Tronsmart have released their Quick Charge 3.0 Charger. Really amazing:http://www.tronsmart.com/news/tronsmart-quick-charge-30-wall-charger-released This is the need of the day. I LOVE quick charger!

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  • So where does Motorola’s Turbo Power 25 charger for the Moto X Pure fit in with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge? It can do 5V at 2.85A (15W), 9V at 2.85A (25W) and 12V at 2.15A (25W) which exceeds Qualcomm’s stated specs, though I heard it is Quick Charge 2.0 certified. Of course the Pure has the Snapdragon 808 which has the Quick Charge 2.0 but did Motorola do something proprietary to make it accept higher wattages?
    I use this charger for quick fill ups before heading out, but overnight I use my first gen’s charger running at 5V at 1.15A (6W). It takes 3 hours to fill it, but it produces like no heat so it’s probably the healthiest in the long term.

    • We have got the Moto X Style, and we confirm the new turbo power 25 also follow the the quick charge 2.0 standard. Actually, quick charge 2.0 just rule the volt, and not current. The turbo power 25 also just have 5V/9V/12V, and As QC3.0 standard, the volt should change every 0.2V. but we don’t see this volt change in the Turbo power 25. We are guessing Moto just improve the current, and they also redesign the micro usb port to accept high current.

      • Btort

        I have a quick charge 2.0 aukey portable battery and a zerolemon quick charge 2.0 wall charger that doesn’t work well with moto x pure edition and it stops charging after 10 seconds. There’s a thread about it on XDA Moto X Pure Edition under accessories

  • Jonathan King

    Here’s hoping the new nexus phones have this.

    • The new nexus still use the quick charger 2.0, xiaomi mi5 might be the first device which support qc3.0.

      • Blue Knight

        The HTC A9 has a SnapDragon 617…
        Its the first device capable.
        We’re just waiting on chargers, like when 2.0 came out.

        • They’ve been out for a while from what I know.

  • thank you ….. I translate this post to my blog http://www.robapikia.com

  • KeyserSoze

    What the hell is a battree, British people? The word has THREE syllables, no two. So you guys like to skip a syllable here but you go and add an unnecessary syllable in aluminum?

    • Btort

      Just stop, you are making the rest of the americans look very stupid…

      • KeyserSoze

        How so?

        • Btort

          iono i was drunk when i commented that lol

          • Mark Rohaley

            lol I have learned that our dictionaries are different …I always spell your way but I’m in the wrong country…I get a;otta judgement :) btw they say the USA spells it judgment…I like the old :)

    • Hennimore

      As Btort said, it makes Americans look stupid because of the ill informed manner of your comment. It was discovered by a Danish chemist, Danish is a Germanic language, English is a combination of different languages INCLUDING Germanic and therefore Aluminium is correct. Also, simply because one person mispronounces a word, this doesn’t reflect everyone. You made a silly comment, that doesn’t make Americans all immediately stupid.

      • Mark Rohaley

        thank God cuz there are many stupid ones…

  • Jacob

    The most important question of all: Does this hurt battery life or cycle life.

  • why does 3.0 have to skip the 810 chipset?

    • Zp15

      It wasn’t available at the time.

  • Jacob

    Good invention but we need to have a common brand/logo on the chargers.

    We really do not need a situation where HTC phones charge quickly using 18W HTC chargers but not 18W Belkin chargers!

    • onstrike112

      We have a common brand/logo. It’s called Qualcomm Quick Charge.

  • 謝羽翔

    HTC One A9 supports XD

  • Jenny Sommer

    Is there a table that shows maximum charging Amps for some phones (Nexus 5…read it was caped at 1500mA)?