Quick Charge 5 takes your phone battery from 0-100% in 15 minutes

Chris Davies - Jul 27, 2020, 8:00 am CDT
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Quick Charge 5 takes your phone battery from 0-100% in 15 minutes

Quick Charge 5 has arrived, and Qualcomm’s latest high-speed charging system promises even less time hovering next to your adapter, not to mention more flexibility with devices. Now supporting upward of 100W, Quick Charge 5 could take compatible 4,500 mAh devices from zero to 50-percent of a charge in 5 minutes, the chip-maker suggests.

That, Qualcomm says, is enough to make Quick Charge 5 the “world’s fastest commercial charging solution.” With that same 4,500 mAh smartphone plugged in, you’re looking at a zero to 100-percent charge in 15 minutes.

All in all it’s 4x faster than Quick Charge 4, the company says, and 10x faster than the original Quick Charge all the way back in 2013. Since then more than 250 devices – initially phones, but expanding to encompass tablets, drones, wireless speakers, and more – and over a thousand accessories support the standard. One of the lingering challenges, however, has been being sure that you’re getting the maximum possible charging rates from your device and charger.

It’s something Quick Charge 5 attempts to tackle, Qualcomm says, using smarter power analysis. Rather than relying on what the power supply itself claims it can deliver safely, Quick Charge 5 now checks things like voltage and current behavior, voltage ranges, thermal protection levels, and other factors. That way it can best choose between 3.3-20 volts, 3A/5A/5+A, and what wattage from 45W upwards, based on the phone or other device you’re plugging in.

That helps deal with things like heat, with Qualcomm saying that the new version is up to 10 degrees Centigrade cooler in operation than Quick Charge 4 using standard cables. It can also be up to 70-percent more efficient. As you’d expect Quick Charge 5 chargers will be backward-compatible with previous iterations of the technology.

It’s designed to use new so-called 2S battery configurations, with stacked cells inside devices. That allows for twice the voltage and twice the speed for the same amount of current. Qualcomm has two new power management ICs (PMIC), the SMB1396 and SMB1398, which support fast wired and wireless charging, upward of 20V input voltage, and upward of 98-percent efficiency. With a pair of PMICs.

As before, it’s the familiar USB Type-C connection that Quick Charge 5 is designed to use. It also supports USB-PD as standard, and uses PPS as the communication protocol between client device and charging adapter. You’ll be able to charge things like USB-PD laptops with Quick Charge 5 adapters too, and even devices that aren’t explicitly Quick Charge compatible – like iPhone 7 (or later) – those same adapters should usually be able to support fast charge, Qualcomm says.

Of course, Qualcomm can provide the technology – and indeed is shipping the new PMIC chips already – but it’s down to OEMs to actually build it into their phones and other devices. Initially that’ll be in the Snapdragon 800 Series flagships, running the Snapdragon 865 and 865 Plus, but it’ll eventually trickle down through the ranges into more affordable fare. First up to offer Quick Charge 5 will be Xiaomi, with Qualcomm suggesting we could see a device there in Q3 2020.


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