Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 tops up thirsty phones faster

Qualcomm's just-announced Snapdragon 835 SoC promises all sorts of performance and battery life improvements compared to its predecessors. The new chip also brings the newest version of the company's Quick Charge proprietary charging technology. Qualcomm claims phones supporting Quick Charge 4.0 will be able to extend running time by five hours by spending as little as five minutes on a compatible charger. Furthermore, the company says a phone's battery can be charged from zero to 50% capacity in "about 15 minutes or less."

Five appears to be a key number in this fourth revision of the Quick Charge standard. Besides the aforementioned "5 for 5" capability, the manufacturer says the new charging technology is up to one-fifth (20%) faster and that devices should be up to 5° cooler while juicing up.

The announcement of the Snapdragon 835 and its Quick Charge 4.0 technology comes just days after Google's Android 7.0 Compatibility Definition got strong wording about proprietary charging standards like Qualcomm's Quick Charge or OnePlus' Dash Charge, first introduced in the company's OnePlus 3 handset:

Type-C devices are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to not support proprietary charging methods that modify Vbus voltage beyond default levels, or alter sink/source roles as such may result in interoperability issues with the chargers or devices that support the standard USB Power Delivery methods. While this is called out as "STRONGLY RECOMMENDED", in future Android versions we might REQUIRE all type-C devices to support full interoperability with standard type-C chargers.

Qualcomm's press release about Quick Charge 4.0 appears to specifically address Google's edict with the note:

USB Type-C and USB Power Delivery (USB PD) compliant. By incorporating these technologies, Qualcomm Technologies standardizes the capabilities of Quick Charge 4 adapters, to help ensure that a single accessory supports multiple charging implementations and mobile devices, and that there is consistent performance when faced with the myriad of available charging solutions.

Although the Snapdragon 835 SoC was just announced, it seems its production is well under way. Phones with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 and Quick Charge 4.0 functionality should start appearing on store shelves in the first half of 2017.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    I heard Quick Charge 10.0 will charge your 10,000mAh cellphone battery in just 10 seconds. It’s so fast it’ll blow you away in more ways than one.

    • watzupken
    • 3 years ago

    I don’t think fast charge is a good solution to fast draining phone. Perhaps a bigger battery is a better solution. I believe “flooding” the battery with power actually shorten the lifespan of the batteries. I’ve seen phones that failed or acted funky because the battery became bloated. If the battery is non replaceable, which is unfortunately becoming the trend, then it is time to get a new phone.

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    So, how many charge cycles would a battery that charges this fast be rated for?

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    My phone has a 5,000mAh battery and, with the charger it came with, can charge from around 10% to full in 2 hours. It supplies 5V/2A, 9V/1.66A, and 12V/1.5A (I think). Most folks will just use the supplied charger, of course, for various reasons but no doubt mostly because it’s what came with the phone (there’s this general belief that it’s best to use that which came with your product, and in most cases this is advisable). While charging quickly is undoubtedly convenient, the phone understandably heats up a lot and that can’t be very good for the battery and most other parts. For this reason I only plan to use the supplied charger when I really need to fill up quickly, and indeed, after a month of owning the phone I think I’ve only used the supplied charger 2-3 times just to get a feel of how fast it can charge the phone and make sure fast charging works, otherwise I use my other chargers that came with other devices that are rated at 5V/2A. It fills up in 3 hours but I reckon most of my other devices take 2 to 3.5 hours anyway so 3 hours to top up a 5,000mAh battery isn’t so bad, and it’ll likely prolong the entire phone’s life.

      • willmore
      • 3 years ago

      Does your phone have a setting in the battery menu to disable quick charging? That could have the same effect as not using the stock charger. It would probably limit you to 5V2A (or maybe 5V1.5A). Then you sill have the option–when you want it–of turning that back on and using the sock charger.

        • ronch
        • 3 years ago

        There doesn’t seem to be a setting to disable fast charging.

          • willmore
          • 3 years ago

          Sorry. ;(

    • just brew it!
    • 3 years ago

    My phone gets warm enough while charging as it is. I don’t *want* it to charge any faster, because that will stress the battery more. If I find myself getting into a lot of situations where I don’t have sufficient juice, I’ll start carrying a portable charger. It hasn’t been an issue yet; I have wireless charging stands at home and work, and park the phone on them when not in use.

      • cygnus1
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<] I have wireless charging stands at home and work, and park the phone on them when not in use. [/quote<] Same here. Everywhere I regularly spend time I have chargers. Several at home (in different rooms), in the car, and at work. Even if it's bad for the devices, more often than not they're all at 100% charge. I'm beginning to think other people don't operate that way. The only time I ever have issues with battery life is if I'm on the move for enough hours in the day and using the device hard, like traveling or amusement parks. But honestly, for a phone to actually get 12+ hours of screen time in a day plus heavy cellular data use, it's going to need laptop size batteries in them. That's not an everyday need for very many people and that's why the devices don't have crazy large batteries. Portable chargers (I hate that term for batteries with USB ports, I don't know why) basically fill that role. And I'm fine with that, because I don't want monster batteries in EVERY portable device. I'll bring one monster battery and use it to charge the device I end up needing the extra run time on.

      • Chrispy_
      • 3 years ago

      Li-Ion Battery health 101: Heat is the biggest killer.

      I’m quite happy with my 1.5A charger and I only use my 2.4A fast-charger when I’m travelling and know I’m going to be using my phone heavily with minimal charging opportunity.

        • rechicero
        • 3 years ago

        I’m using a 850 mA charger. With batteries, the slower the better.

      • VincentHanna
      • 3 years ago

      Didn’t read the article, did you?

      > 5 degrees cooler <
      > 30% more efficient <
      > step down technology reduces component stress <

        • just brew it!
        • 3 years ago

        Presumably they’re comparing against QC 3.0? My current phone uses 2.0, not 3.0 so I have no idea how those numbers compare.

        Furthermore, 50% charge in 15 minutes WILL reduce your battery life if done routinely. That will stress the battery, period.

          • VincentHanna
          • 3 years ago

          To the extent that you should ALWAYS keep your battery between 5% and 95% because charging it to full stresses the battery…

          Or that you should not leave your device plugged in after it has been charged…

          Or you should always store your phone/battery in ideal temperature/humidity…

          Yes, I agree.

          To the extent that it will have a NOTICEABLE effect on battery life after ~3 years of use? No. This technology will likely improve the life of the average person’s handset/battery who right now uses a 5v2Ah charger that DOESN’T back off the charge as the battery gets full. Think of a guy at a pie eating contest. Does he eat 2 pies per minute until he’s full? or does he eat 3 pies then 2 pies and then 1 pie? Which method do you believe is safer/ less stressful?

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            Fast charging and deep discharge are the two big ones, and they really are quite big. 100% all the time is only bad because everyone insists on tuning things for capacity at the expense of longevity, and in a sane world that would be handled properly as 110% and it wouldn’t be an issue (see my other comment on this story).

            W.r.t. that last bit: lithium battery charging is a two-stage thing, in which it takes the lower of a maximum current (CC stage) or a maximum voltage (CV stage). Everyone’s trying to figure out how to throw more current at stuff, but once the CC stage brings the voltage up to the CV stage spec (commonly 4.3V now I think?) there is no more cramming anything, and that’s enforced by the controls closest to the battery. If somehow that limit were ignored, it wouldn’t be a matter of the battery wearing out faster, it’d be a fire hazard putting Samsung’s recent troubles to shame. Weaker chargers look like you say because they get to a higher charge percentage before hitting the voltage limit, but once they hit the voltage limit charge rates are the same.

            • just brew it!
            • 3 years ago

            [quote<]This technology will likely improve the life of the average person's handset/battery who right now uses a 5v2Ah charger that DOESN'T back off the charge as the battery gets full. [/quote<] That's not a function of the charger, it's a function of the battery control circuitry in the device. Devices only pull what they need from the charger, regardless of what standard they're using to physically and electrically connect themselves to the charger. My phone (QC 2.0, as I mentioned) shuts off the charging as it approaches 100%; I've actually measured it with a USB power meter. The phone also cools back down to ambient temp as it hits full charge -- another indication that they're not continuing to pump juice into the already full battery. I can also use the same charger with my old Sansa Clip+ music player, which is designed to charge from a bog standard USB 2.0 port and only requires a few mA to top up the tiny internal battery. If that charge wasn't being regulated internally the Clip+ would turn into a flaming puddle of melted plastic in a matter of minutes.

            • VincentHanna
            • 3 years ago

            So your argument, if I understand it correctly is “You are wrong, QC 4.0 is a hoax, any USB device does all this already?”

            Great. Excellent.

            Either you missed my point, or we just rendered this entire news section moot. Too bad though, because it seems surprisingly unpopular among TR readers.

            • Ari Atari
            • 3 years ago

            I understood it as the statement: “charger that DOESN’T back off the charge as the battery gets full” includes ALL chargers because it’s not the charger that’s, err, in charge of that aspect. just brew it then gave an example of a device that has nothing to do with QC 1,2, 3, or 4 and said that it regulates its charging independent of charger. Nothing of hoaxes, unless you want R&P.

            • just brew it!
            • 3 years ago

            No, QC 4.0 obviously brings some useful features to the table. My argument is that some of the features they (and you) seem to be touting really fall more into the realm of battery management, and can be implemented regardless of what version of QC is being used.

            Really, I was specifically objecting to your statement that “This technology will likely improve the life of the average person’s handset/battery who right now uses a 5v2Ah charger that DOESN’T back off the charge as the battery gets full.” This is not a function of the charger at all. It is a function of the battery management circuit in the phone.

    • synthtel2
    • 3 years ago

    Batteries hate being charged fast. I don’t want faster charging, I want the electronics in my phone to respect the battery and make it last more than 3 years. I use low-power chargers for specifically that reason, and if I could set the CV-stage voltage 0.05V lower on all my devices I’d do it in a heartbeat (trading capacity for longevity). That doesn’t sell phones, though. 🙁

    • hasseb64
    • 3 years ago

    Burn baby burn!

    • deniro444
    • 3 years ago

    I think most people need quick charging because they need a charged phone so they can have something to do while taking a dump. Am I right?

      • Flying Fox
      • 3 years ago

      You mean the place you take a dump does not have a power outlet? 😛

        • just brew it!
        • 3 years ago

        The place I take a dump at work has marginal cell signal and no WiFi coverage, so that would be a no-go. Maybe I should aim a high-gain Yagi at the men’s room from my desk and set up my laptop as a WiFi repeater… 😉

          • curtisb
          • 3 years ago

          When you’re over the network infrastructure you can fix these kinds of problems. 🙂

    • willmore
    • 3 years ago

    I really with Qualcomm would stop doing stuff like this. There’ s spec out there and it can provide more than enough power for a cell phone (100W!). There’s no need for going outside of the USB-PD spec. All you do is risk bad interactions with otherwise compliant devices–both on the phone and charger side.

    It understandable that Qualcomm wants something to market their charge controller chips. How about they try to compete on things that really matter? Like where they say they’re USB-PD complaint. That’s a huge feature. How about they push how they can help the phone charge cooler? That’s not only a normal feature, but it’s an increasingly important *safety* feature. They could compete on being early to market or integrating well with popular chipsets (which they also produce).

    There’s so many good areas where they could promote the benefits of their product, why do they insist on doing something that’s frankly a risk to the end customer?

      • EndlessWaves
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah, we don’t want Qualcomm to ‘help ensure that a single accessory supports multiple charging implementations’, we want there to just [b<]be[/b<] a single implementation.

      • VincentHanna
      • 3 years ago

      The thing about QC 2.0/3.0/4.0 isn’t that they are necessarily trying to eek out more power across the line. Having 100W available is nice, but it doesn’t decrease charge times like you seem to think it should. You can’t just dump 50v50Ah onto a smartphone.

      The “innovation” behind QC 2.0/3.0/4.0 is not oh, hey, we have more power now, it’s oh, hey, this battery is actually kindof full. We should back off. That kind of 2 way negotiation is allowed for within the USB standard, but it isn’t a part of the standard.

      I’m honestly confused by your post, because you claim that being able to charge cooler is an important feature… well, it’s a byproduct of the Q.C. standard which exists outside of USB and allows devices to draw/waste less power/heat. Qualcomm can’t change USB. Can’t force other chip manufacturers or power adapters to use heat sensors and “Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage” and run their proprietary algorithms, all they CAN DO, is make their own standard, call it something catchy like QC4 and market it… which is what they did, and what you have said you don’t want.

        • EndlessWaves
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]Qualcomm can't change USB.[/quote<] Why not? I'm not aware of the views of the organisations behind it but they certainly issue updates frequently enough. I would have thought Qualcomm could get it implemented into USB Power Delivery 2.1/3.0 if it was a significant improvement. Also, every device I've ever charged as charged more slowly as it's gotten full.

          • VincentHanna
          • 3 years ago

          Well, for one reason, USB is an open standard, and QC is proprietary. It’s like Gsync, and it won’t be adopted by the displayport standard anytime soon for the same reasons.

            • willmore
            • 3 years ago

            As I said in my other reply in this thread, Qualcomm is on the USB committee. They contributed to USB-PD. They did change the standard. Now, like a petulant child, they refust to use the standard that they helped craft.

            That kind of behavior doesn’t deserve respect, it deserves derision.

          • willmore
          • 3 years ago

          Qualcomm is on the USB standards committee. They are part of why USB is as it is today. They’re not some outsider whos brilliant ideas have been spurned by some ivory tower club.

          To make it clear: USB-PD is how it is today because of the input from Qualcomm. They’s one of the reasons why USB-PD can already do everything taht QC 4.0 can. But it does it in a standard way that anyone can implement.

          Qualcomm is just promoting QC 4.0 as yet another way to do the same darn thing as the already exsiting (and four year old!) standard already supports, but to do it in a non-compatable way.

          That’s not innovation, that’s Apple level Not Invented Here.

        • willmore
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]The thing about QC 2.0/3.0/4.0 isn't that they are necessarily trying to eek out more power across the line. Having 100W available is nice, but it doesn't decrease charge times like you seem to think it should. You can't just dump 50v50Ah onto a smartphone.[/quote<] 50v at 50A (Ah is current over time) is 2.5KW. I don't think I was advocating doing that. [quote<]The "innovation" behind QC 2.0/3.0/4.0 is not oh, hey, we have more power now, it's oh, hey, this battery is actually kindof full. We should back off. That kind of 2 way negotiation is allowed for within the USB standard, but it isn't a part of the standard.[/quote<] No, you can always use *less* current no matter what the voltage is to acheive less Watts. Since W=I*V (I is current, V is Voltage). You just draw less current. What QC allows you to do--which the very early USB spec didn't support--was to negotiate for higher power than the port supported. Early USB only supported a max of 500mA at 5V (ideal conditions). USB-BC came along a while later and allowed up to 1.5A (possibly as high as 5A for specially dedicated non-data ports). That was last revised in 2010. [quote<]I'm honestly confused by your post, because you claim that being able to charge cooler is an important feature... well, it's a byproduct of the Q.C. standard which exists outside of USB and allows devices to draw/waste less power/heat. Qualcomm can't change USB. Can't force other chip manufacturers or power adapters to use heat sensors and "Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage" and run their proprietary algorithms, all they CAN DO, is make their own standard, call it something catchy like QC4 and market it... which is what they did, and what you have said you don't want.[/quote<] Charging cooler in this situation is likely a side effect of the ability to use higher voltages into the switching regulator that charges the battery. That is to say, one of the primary sources of inefficiency in a SMPS is the IR lost. That's the product of I (current) an R (the resistance of the switching element and of the primary inductor). Since R is fixed by the design, being able to very I alows them to lower the IR product. I can be decreased because the charging spec allows you to use a higher voltage input. Since W (power) = V*I, increasing V (for a constant W) alows you to decrease I. So, lower IR loss. This isn't something special about QC. USB-PD allows for this. So, when I say that having 100W availabe (20V @ 5A) is already sufficient, I say that because having 20V available means that lower currents can be used--which will lead to lower IR losses. That means cooler charging. There is nothing special about QC that lowers temps while charging. At least nothing that the USB-PD *standard* can't already supply. So why promote a propriatary new QC protocol when the existing USB-PD *standard* already provides all of these benefits? Qualcomm was already under fire for continuing to promote QC 3.0 in the face of an industry standard USB-PD. What does Qualcomm do? Double down on the stupid with another silly non-standard charging system. Heck, *even Apple* has accepted USB-PD--on their new laptops at least. Maybe they'll embrace it on their phones at some date, too.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 3 years ago

    Why? I’ve never emptied my battery in a day, or even gotten below about 50%. I leave it on the charger in my valet stand each night. So quick charge does me no good. What usage models are draining their phone so quick? Or who can’t charge their phone while they sleep?

      • Flying Fox
      • 3 years ago

      What, you haven’t seen people Facebook Messaging every 10 seconds? And in between they watch HD cat videos on YouTube? =)

      I do tethering sometimes, and that is big battery drainer. Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation as well. The problem is, with high consumption apps and plugged in at the same time, the phone will get even hotter, increasing the risk of explosion.

      • smilingcrow
      • 3 years ago

      Myopic.

      • Pitabred
      • 3 years ago

      Pokemon Go, business travelers, or even just technicians and such that use a lot of communications without being near shore power, etc.

      • sweatshopking
      • 3 years ago

      I literally go through about 7000mah of power a day on my phone.

    • Flying Fox
    • 3 years ago

    A few rants with battery, device, and fast charging tech in general:
    – Fast charging can be considered as a workaround to address the trend of non-removable batteries. I blame Apple for its thinness obsession for starting all this. Of course, other manufacturers are not blind to the built-in obsolescence “advantage” to them so they follow in droves.
    – Fast charging is (speculating here) probably a major reason why phones seem to be exploding more often. All it takes is a failure in in the current/voltage control circuit/software, the device gets hot to the tipping point, and boom. So if we don’t really need so much fast charging tech with removable batteries, this won’t be a problem in the first place?
    – OS and app makers, tune your software! If your stuff is not burning battery that quickly, then why do we have to charge so often and fast?
    – Battery tech, when are we going to get some real development in terms of safer materials and higher capacity units out? Always “5 years away from being 5 years away”. WTF.
    – On my S7, turning off fast charging is still not quick/efficient enough. Make it a quick toggle, and perhaps, also make it schedulable. So that I can slow-charge while I am asleep, prolonging the battery’s life and less worry about over current/voltage causing explosions.

    I can probably think of some more, but this is probably long enough.

      • shank15217
      • 3 years ago

      Although I support your sentiment on non removable batteries. My replacement battery has never been as good as the primary one that came with the phone.

      • VincentHanna
      • 3 years ago

      On your third point, and also your last one, download greenify.
      You are welcome.

      On Samsung’s battery problems, I don’t think it was “fast charge” per se, just poor battery design. Several of the meltdowns occurred when off the charger.

      On your first point though, anyone who whines about not being able to swap out batteries anymore, is simply lazy. [b<]If your phone were 6mm instead of 3mm, you would still need to charge it every day[/b<], and guess what? Fast charging would be even more necessary because it takes hours to charge a 9000mAh battery at 1A. Apple is responsible for many evils, but lets be real. Batteries going dead at inopportune moments because phones are too thin? No. Go get yourself a power pack and recharge your battery on the go. It's better.

    • rechicero
    • 3 years ago

    Fast charging (and, usually, wireless charging) = more temperature and more stress to the cells. And then, Note 7 happen. If this was a movie, it would it call “For a bunch of micrometres”

      • willmore
      • 3 years ago

      “Now 50% more explodey!

      • cygnus1
      • 3 years ago

      You realize the Note 7 issues had zero to do with temperature right?

        • rechicero
        • 3 years ago

        I wouldnt say zero. At some point Samsung told about manufacturing issues (probably they pressed the battery more than they should and puntured some cells), but it continued happening after the recall and they end up discontinuing the phone. It was probably a mix of a battery too thin for its capacity, some issues with current control while charging and… yes, stress to already fragile cells. And, again, quick charging and wireless charging = more temperature and more stressed cells. And stressed cells = less battery life and more security issues.

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      So many phones have fast charging these days that if it were the main culprit then I think the Note 7 wouldn’t be the only phone blowing up.

        • rechicero
        • 3 years ago

        I didnt say it was. My point is we are going in a wrong direction: 1 mm less in phones that are already less than 10 mm thick means more pressed batteries, with less capacity, that sometimes demand quick recharge. The consequences of the race to make phones usable as razors is Note 7. And quickcharge adds to the issue of stressed cells (an issue that usually means dead batteries after 1-2 years and, sometimes, Note 7). Of course, is great for planned obsolescence: a li-ion battery has a number a cycles… and that number goes down with temperature.

          • ronch
          • 3 years ago

          Sorry, the way I understood your post was: fast charging > more temperature and more stress to the cells > Note 7.

    • NeoForever
    • 3 years ago

    Is this the tech Samsung uses for their “fast charging”? Or is that different?

      • Flying Fox
      • 3 years ago

      There seems to be some suggestion that Samsung’s Fast Charging may be somehow compatible with QC 2.0 (may be not the same though). But I don’t have a QC2.0 charger to verify that observation.

        • NeelyCam
        • 3 years ago

        My Galaxy S5 charges very fast with a QC2.0 charger (faster than regular charges). So, I think it is compatible.

    • wingless
    • 3 years ago

    We really do need a standard so phones stop overheating and/or exploding.

      • drfish
      • 3 years ago

      [url=https://xkcd.com/927/<]I agree.[/url<]

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