Qualcomm’s quick charge standard is one of the most popular charging standards in the world, and quick charge 5.0 brings a corner-stone improvement to Qualcomm’s platform.
Its core value is to allow ultra-fast charging of phone batteries, with a speed that Ubergizmo estimates QC5.0 to be ~4.5X faster than any other commercially available solutions.
For a battery of 4500 mAh* (what is mAh), Qualcomm estimates that the user could charge from 0% to 50% in 5 minutes, and fully charge your phone in 15 minutes. Charging speed gradually decreases beyond 50% but tends to be linear from 0-50."UBERGIZMO ESTIMATES QC5.0 TO BE ~4.5X FASTER THAN ANY OTHER COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE SOLUTIONS"
Important: all the numbers cited in this article are based on Qualcomm’s evaluation of charging speed for a 4500 mAh battery.
mAh/mn is a measurement that allows people to compare charging speeds regardless of battery size. Never use “% of charge per minute” because it depends on the battery size, and compares Apples to Oranges (it’s just dumb).
If Qualcomm’s numbers are real, and we have no reason to think they are not, it is an astonishing speed of 450 mAh/mn, or 4.5X faster than today’s fastest charging speeds, that hover near 100 mAh/mn.
How does quick charge 5.0 work?
The new protocol relies on dual-stack battery design and high 100W Wattage (2x50W). The concept is not entirely new, and many Chinese companies had previously used dual-stack with 40W charging (2x20W).
The principle is that each battery stack can only accept so much energy being pumped into them, and the solution is to have two smaller batteries charging in parallel.
Qualcomm’s quick charge 5.0 pushes things to the extreme with a higher wattage, making it amazingly fast. The company also says that this design is 70% more power-efficient than quick charge 4.0 and generates less heat for any given charge speed.
Over the years, several companies had claimed they could build this kind of fast-charging, but Qualcomm is poised to have the first commercial solution.
Compatible with USB-PD (USB Power Delivery)
Quick charge 5.0 is compliant with USB-PD, a standard charging protocol designed for both mobiles and laptops. USB-PD compatibility is especially crucial because it supports high Wattage+Voltage as well.
It means that instead of relying on proprietary chargers from your phone’s brand, you will have the option of using 3rd party chargers, including your laptop’s, to charge at full speed or very high speed.
Although I love high-speed charging in the tunes of ~100W today, I don’t particularly appreciate having to use one specific charger, which I may not have on-hand outside of my home or office.
Qualcomm-powered phones will be more likely to charge at maximum speed as USB-PD chargers proliferate (most laptops now have 45-65W USB-PD chargers).
Wireless charging gets a boost too
For those who prefer using Wireless charging, the good news is that this fast-charging pathway also works with wireless charging.
The maximum Wattage may not be as high when using a wireless charger, and I have not seen any specific numbers on that front. However, it probably means that quick charge 5.0 will be at least as fast as any other competing protocols, and potentially much more quickly.
When is it coming out, and for which handsets?
During our conference call with Qualcomm, that was one of the hot questions. Unsurprisingly, Qualcomm said that quick charge 5.0 would come to high-end phones first, then trickle down to lower-tier phones.
Snapdragon 865, the current leading-edge Qualcomm mobile platform, will be the first to benefit from this change.
Battery life and Camera quality have been the #1 or #2 concern of phone buyers for many years, and we do not see this changing in the short-term.
Quick charge 5.0 is not just an improvement. It is a massive game-changer that could affect how we use phones, and how we plan our day around it. Achieving a 50% charge in 5mn, and a 100% charge in 15mn could remove a lot of the battery anxiety."A MASSIVE GAME-CHANGER"
Eventually, that could even lead to phone designs with smaller batteries, and brand-new designs, who knows.
Next: expect this to upend the laptop market since Snapdragon is also powering Always-On, Always-Connected PCs.