The Qualcomm Quick Charge Technology Explained

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After Apple published the first iPhone in 2007, the mobile phone industry has ushered in an era of significant changes. The physical buttons on the portable phone panel have become fewer and fewer, now they have been removed. By 2020, the screen and the function of mobile phones are getting better and better. However, the battery is moving forward slowly like a turtle. Although many mobile phone batteries are 5000mAh, it is still not enough for some users. So mobile phone manufacturers have sought another way to extend the battery life and speed up the charging speed, known as fast charging.

At present, there are many fast-charging protocols on mobile phones, like USB PD, QC, AFC, FCP, SCP, VOOC, SuperVOOC, PE, FlashCharge, etc. And Qualcomm Quick Charge is the leading and most frequently used one. 

Why is Qualcomm Quick Charge Technology So Popular?

When talking to why Qualcomm Quick Charge is so hot, there are 3 main reasons behind it.

1.It is with strong compatibility. Whether USB A, USB C, or Micro USB, Qualcomm Quick Charge can work for them. So it services nearly all smartphones with the Android Operating System.

2.The current Qualcomm Quick Charge solution is to boost the voltage higher to increase the charging power. Therefore, it reduces the previous cable length issues.

3.Nowadays, most mobile phones can operate with 18w power, which Qualcomm Quick Charge can support them efficiently. 

Versions of Qualcomm Quick Charge

Qualcomm Quick Charge 1.0

The earliest charger’s power was only 5W (5V1A), which may be enough for feature phones in the Nokia era. But it is too stretched for smartphones, especially for the larger screen ones. In 2013, Qualcomm broke the 1.5A current limit of USB-IF for USB Battery Charge 1.2 protocol. By modifying the number of pins inside the MicroUSB interface, the charging current increased from 1A to 2A. So the charging power is doubled. That is Quick Charge 1.0, which is often referred to as QC1.0 fast charging.

Although 5V2A is standard today, it was a revolution before.

Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0

One year after, Qualcomm changed the d+ and d- voltage of the USB interface to realize mutual recognition between the charging head and the mobile phone. The charging voltage increased to 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V, and the current was unchanged. It achieves charging power up to 18W. And the charging speed is increased by 75% even with the same wire. 

Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0

We know that the empty mobile phone battery voltage is 3.7V. If the charging voltage is 9V, the voltage difference is significant. Then it will generate the heat issue, also the low efficiency. So Qualcomm made the Intelligent Voltage Negotiation (INOV) algorithm. The voltage can be adjusted continuously with 0.2V as the decreasing interval until the appropriate voltage improves efficiency. That is QC3.0.

Based on QC2.0’s 9V and 12V voltage, QC3.0 further subdivides the voltage range. It adopts the new unique INOV algorithm and uses 200mV as the interval from 3.6V to 20V. And it is still compatible with QC2.0. Due to the full use of the Type-c interface, the maximum current has also increased to 3A. Because the voltage adaptation can be lower, the efficiency is increased by up to 38%. The charging speed is increased by 27%, and the heat is reduced by 45%.

Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 and Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+

In 2016, Qualcomm launched the QC4 fast charge protocol. The INOV algorithm was more refined and intelligently adjusted with 20mV. But it canceled the 12V voltage gear and is compatible with the USB PD (PPS) fast charge protocol only. Until the 2017 Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit in the following year, Qualcomm launched QC4+ fast charging. Based on QC4.0, it is backward compatible with QC3.0 and QC2.0 in addition to USB PD and PPS.

Qualcomm Quick Charge 5.0

Now it is 2020. In 3 years, the mobile phone fast charging area has developed rapidly. There are already mobile phones that support 120W fast charging. At this time, the pioneer of fast charging once again launched QC5 fast charging, increasing the charging power to 100W+. Compared with the previous 4 visions, it has an enormous improvement. It only takes 5 minutes to charge a 4500mAh battery from 0 to 50%. The charging speed is increased by 4 times, with higher efficiency and lower heat. With upgrading, now the QC fast-charging power is 10 times of 1st version. 

Qualcomm Quick Charge VS Power Delivery (PD)

Power Delivery is another popular protocol from the USB-IF standards organization. It can support up to 100W (20V 5A), which can work for greater power demands, such as tablets and laptops.

Currently, PD is mostly used in Type C ports. It requires a USB-C connector and a USB-C power controller on the charger and device. So if you like to do PD charging for iPhone, you need to buy a USB-C to lightning cable and a USB PD charger.

You may like to know if QC charging is fast or PD charging. But actually, there is no difference between the speed. The factor for manufacturers to make a choice depends on things like cost and user experience.

Although Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 and 4+ are with a 27W limit, they were compatible with Power Delivery. Most smartphones still require less than 18W for charging now, which is why most smartphone factories have accepted Qualcomm Quick Charge.


Qualcomm Quick Charge changes the way we charge our devices. And the charging speed is faster and faster. 

We do not know what will be in the future. But we think Qualcomm Quick Charge will keep grinding. 

Hi, I’m Ryan Gao, a father of 2 kids, also the content manager of I’ve been working on consumer electronics for 8 years now. On this site, I like to share with you the knowledge related to power banks, wireless headphones, and portable power stations from a Chinese supplier’s perspective.

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