Guide to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0
Quick Charge 3.0 is the latest revision to Qualcomm’s fast-charging technology, and it features in new flagship phones and tablets launching at this year’s MWC 2016, such as the LG G5 and Xiaomi Mi 5.
It has come on significantly over the years. The initial standard, Quick Charge 1.0, could charge up to 40 percent faster than a standard
charge. When Quick Charge 2.0 was introduced it offered up to 75 percent faster charging (you can see a list of compatible devices at tinyurl.com/ n64pua4), and it wasn’t long before we began to see compatible accessories such as the Tronsmart Titan desktop charger and USB Rapid Car Charger and Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB power bank come on to the market.
Such devices were able to speed up charging enough to make a real difference, with less time spent waiting for a phone or tablet to charge before you could walk out the door.
Qualcomm’s latest revision, Quick Charge 3.0, can charge compatible devices up to four times faster than a conventional charger. It uses Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage (INOV), which enables optimum power transfer while maximising efficiency by allowing a device to determine what power level to request at any point in time. Once it has calculated the optimum voltage level to supply to a device, Quick Charge 3.0 can support anything between 3.6- to 20V in 200mV increments.
The first devices to include support for Quick Charge 3.0 are the LG G5 (page 21), HTC One A9, LeTV Le MAX Pro and the Xiaomi Mi 5 (page 34).
A Samsung spokesperson at MWC told Android Advisor that the company regards Quick Charge 2.0 as fast enough, and finds there isn’t enough value in it going for Quick Charge 3.0 right now. It had the same argument with USB-C (the new S7 handsets use Micro-USB), stating that people generally don’t have USB-C accessories just yet.
Products and accessories
Although you won’t have a Quick Charge 3.0-compatible phone or tablet just yet (it will be supported by various devices running the Snapdragon 820, 620, 618, 617 and 430 processors), the standard is backward-compatible with Quick Charge 1.0 and 2.0. If you’re looking to buy a new charging accessory, it makes sense to future-proof your purchase by opting for a Quick Charge 3.0-compatible product.
Anker is one of the best-known USB charging brands, and it already has a couple of Quick Charge 3.0-compatible products on the market. It told Android Advisor: “Rather than a limited “earlier adopters only” first year, Anker expects industry leaders to aggressively push QC 3.0 such that it will be the standard quick-charging technology for mobile devices by the end of 2016.
“As the leading USB charging brand we’re meeting what will be a huge demand for QC 3.0 charging products by integrating this new technology into affordable, practical, high quality products - something that has become synonymous with the Anker brand. We’re covering the three angles of charging – car-, wall- and mobile chargers – with a diverse series of products designed to meet the diverse needs of consumers.”
The Anker PowerPort+ 1 (pictured on page 83) is a compact (56x53x28mm, 70g) Quick Charge 3.0 wall plug that’s ideal for charging a single phone or tablet from the mains – Anker says it will charge a compatible device to 80 percent capacity in just 35 minutes. As well as QC 3.0 it supports PowerIQ, offering the fastest possible charging speed for any plugged in device, and can offer a standard 1A charge to non-Quick Charge devices, such as iPhones. We were sent a US two-pin version of the plug, although a three-pin UK plug is also available. You can buy the Anker PowerPort+ 1 (A2010) from Amazon for £10 (tinyurl.com/zpaz7cj), with improved output is coming soon.
Anker also sells the PowerDrive+ 1, which is currently one of the fastest in-car chargers you’ll get your hands on. It’s good-looking in black with a red trim and unobtrusive, just 48x36x71mm and 60g. The PowerDrive+ 1 has a single USB port for charging your mobile device, but you’ll need to supply your own cable. Quick Charge 3.0 will work with USB Type-A, USB micro, USB Type-C and proprietary connectors – it’s the device itself that must be supported. You can buy the Anker PowerDrive+ 1 for £10 from Amazon UK (tinyurl.com/zp9tb7a).
Tronsmart is another big name in the charging world and has also been touch with Android Advisor to draw our attention to some of its first Quick Charge 3.0-compatible accessories.
The Tronsmart C3PTA (pictured) is a three-port car charger with one port compatible with QC 3.0 and an additional pair of fast-charging ports that operate at 5V/2.4A (12W). These also use VoltIQ technology, which is intended to recognise your
device type and deliver the optimum amount of power. With 42W of available power, the Tronsmart C3PTA can simultaneously support all three USB ports at max speed. It’s available from Amazon for £13.99 (tinyurl.com/z4dwtzr).
If you have just the one device to top up on the move, the Tronsmart CC1T is a much more compact device with just a single QC 3.0 USB output. It’s just two-thirds of the price as well – £8.99 from Amazon (tinyurl.com/zalbhck).
The Tronsmart C2PTU car charger has a single QC 3.0 USB port that can output 18W, plus a 5V/3A (15W) USB-C connection that’s ideal for fast-charging the likes of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. You can pick up the C2PTU from Amazon for £11.99 (tinyurl.com/zd3scs7).
If you have a USB-C phone or tablet that also supports Quick Charge 3.0, such as the LG G5,
instead look to the Tronsmart C2PTE. It looks almost identical to the C2PTU, but this time it’s the USB-C port that supports QC 3.0, while the standard USB output uses VoltIQ tech to output the optimum amount of power up to 5V/3A (15W). It’s just a bit more expensive, at £12.99 from Amazon (tinyurl.com/zeve33q).
Something we love is a good power bank, so we’re really pleased to find this future-proof RAVPower Turbo+ 20100mAH External Battery Pack/Mobile Charger, which has support for both Quick Charge 3.0 and USB-C. It’s also huge in capacity, at 20100mAh. The RAVPower is currently on sale at Amazon in the US for $65.99 and will be coming to Amazon UK soon.
Aukey is another well-known brand for its affordable charging accessories. Its CC-T7 Quick Charge 3.0 Dual Port USB Car Charger is a strong rival to the Tronsmart and Anker versions above, here offering two super-fast USB outputs (one Quick Charge 3.0 and the other rated at 5V/3A or 15W). It’s compact, well made, and comes at a great price. You can buy the Aukey QC 3.0 car charger from Amazon for just £8.99 (tinyurl.com/gosur88).
Also from Aukey is this speedy USB mains charger for your phone or tablet with a UK threepin plug. The Aukey USB Turbo Charger PA-T9 will sit unobtrusively in any room of the house, and is a great buy if you have (or are buying) a QC 3.0-compatible phone or tablet. The Mains adaptor pricing matches that of the company’s car charger, meaning for a score you can get super-fast charging wherever you are. The Aukey costs £11.99 from Amazon (tinyurl.com/zn8dmfa). Marie Brewis