We rely on our phones more than ever before, but battery capacity has been slow to improve. The speed at which those batteries charge, however, has increased by leaps and bounds. Qualcomm has announced the latest increase in charging speed with Quick Charge 5. This standards-based charging technology will start showing up in smartphones soon with support for 100W of power or more. That’s enough to charge most phones from 0 to 50 percent in five minutes or less.
Qualcomm says Quick Charge 5 is the first charging system in the world that supports over 100W charging for smartphones. Oppo recently unveiled Flash Charge, which supports 125W, but the company has no hardware that supports the proprietary technology at this time. Quick Charge 5, on the other hand, is supported by the current-gen Snapdragon 865, and Qualcomm has new power control chips that OEMs can use to enable super-fast charging. So, it’s first with an asterisk.
Like Quick Charge 4 and 4+, the latest QC5 uses the USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) charge negotiation protocol. That means any device that supports USB-PD can fast-charge on a Quick Charge 5 cable. The phone and adapter will simply find the highest safe wattage, and you’re off to the races. For upcoming phones that have the right hardware, Quick Charge 5 will leverage a specific part of the Power Delivery standard called PPS (Programmable Power Supply) to ramp up voltage as high as 20V. With support for 5A of current (or more), you have a 100W+ power supply that’s safe to use in a phone.
This is a huge jump for Qualcomm’s charging hardware. In 2013, Qualcomm announced Quick Charge, which boosted USB charging speeds from 5W to 10W. Quick Charge 3 and 4 moved the needle a bit, but QC5 is now ten times faster than the original Quick Charge. A phone with a 4,500 mAh battery can charge completely (from 0 to 100) in about 15 minutes with QC5. The first 50 percent goes faster (in just 5 minutes) because the wattage necessarily drops as a battery approaches its maximum capacity. At the same time, QC5 is supposed to be 70 percent more efficient than QC4+. Your battery should also stay about 10 degrees Celsius cooler with the new standard.
Just because your phone has a Snapdragon 865 or 865+ doesn’t mean you suddenly have 100W charging. Device makers need to include the hardware to support those speeds, but now they have the option to do that. It’s unlikely you’ll see any devices with Quick Charge 5 support until the rumored Snapdragon 875 begins popping up in early 2021.
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