Rapid charging standards are currently one of the most important elements of competition between smartphone manufacturers. The fight has been going on for a long time and a few players are in the lead, but there is no sign of one final winner emerging. Dash Charge, SuperCharge, Quick Charge, Pump Express… easy to get lost. It’s time to put this chaos in order.
The impact of the mobile revolution on the development of technology can be seen very clearly through the history of the USB standard. Originally, its main task was to transfer data, and the first improvements were related to this aspect. It didn’t take long to make progress, subsequent generations of USB have significantly improved the transfer speed and for many years it has been completely satisfactory. What’s more, most of us don’t really enjoy the benefits of super fast USB 3.0 data transfer, not to mention the cosmically fast 3.2 version (even 2500MB/s). More and more advanced methods of wireless connectivity have made the USB cable has one task for us – to charge the phone and it’s good to do it quickly. As soon as possible.
Fast charging is a priority
The smartphone revolution has completely changed our relationship with the mobile phone (even this name already sounds old-fashioned). A long time ago it stopped being used only for communication, took over the role of a camera, car navigation, payment card or simply a computer! It can be exchanged infinitely. The need to be online 24/7 has definitely increased, which of course brought with it a number of problems. The biggest of them is of course the addiction to social media, followed by battery life and, of course, charging speed.
The importance of the problem is big, users know it, device manufacturers and engineers, who are involved in creating faster, more effective power technologies. The result is a very dynamic competition. Charging speed and battery life are now very important arguments in the ongoing battle between leading smartphone manufacturers. Certainly everyone has heard of Quick Charge, but it is only one of many systems used.
However, before we move on to quick charging standards, we need to clarify two topics that often arise in this context and do not necessarily have something to do with it.
…or actually 0.8, 1.1, 3.2 and some in between. Such markings were assigned to the subsequent versions by the development of the USB standard. These generations are not related to the speed of loading, but to the transfer. Each subsequent version of course significantly increased the capabilities of the standard. Over 22 years of USB history the transfer has improved from 12Mbit/s to 20Gbit/s.
USB-C (as well as USB-A and USB-B and several others)
These letters indicate the types of USB connectors, or to put it simply, the shapes of the plugs. With the advent of the USB standard we received two types – USB-A and USB-B.
The former is a commonly used USB standard and is certainly familiar to everyone. The USB-B type has been used much less frequently, mainly in office equipment. Below both versions, USB-A and USB-B, respectively.
With the successive versions of the standard, the number of connectors also increased, and reduced plugs such as mini USB or micro USB were created. The latter is currently by far the most common in mobile devices. On the left mini USB, on the right micro USB.
USB-C is the latest version and allows by far the highest throughput and charging of laptops up to 100W. The latest charging technologies, such as Power Delivery, are closely related to this type of connector.
The race for fast charging technology
Okay, we can go to the main course. In the glossary below you will find out where the different fast charging technologies came from and what they are about.
- USB battery charging
- Qualcomm Quick Charge
- Power Delivery
- Apple Fast Charge
- Samsung Adaptive Fast Charge
- Motorola TurboPower
- Pump Express
- Dash Charge
- Oppo Super VOOC
- Meizu Super mCharge
1. USB battery charging
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, when the USB standard was created, its task was to be mainly data transfer and not to worry too much about charging devices. Original parameters were 0.5A with default 5V (2.5W). Technological progress over the following years was inevitably heading towards mobile devices, so fast charging became more and more important. The USB battery charging improvement was introduced in 2007 and increased the charging rate to 1.5A (7.5W). Ports commonly found in computers designed e.g. to connect a keyboard or a mouse usually do not even have this theoretically outdated technology and have only basic parameters of 0.5A/5V.
2. Qualcomm Quick Charge
The most popular charging technology currently developed by the processor manufacturer Qualcomm. This system is designed for phones that have one of the Qualcomma processors from the Snapdragon series, but is compatible with other devices. Quick Charge 1.0 debuted in 2013 and its parameters were 5V/2A, or 10W. Version 2.0 already allowed charging at 9V and 12V with a maximum power of 18W. The next stage of the technology introduced the possibility of charging from 3.6V to 20V in 20mV intervals. This allowed for much more accurate adjustment of optimal charging parameters. The current version – already allows charging with 27W (3A/9V).
By the way, QC is worth mentioning one more date, INOV, which means Intelligent Negotiation for Optimal Voltage. This technology was developed while working on the Quick Charge 3.0 version. The INOV algorithm is designed to allow mobile devices to select appropriate charging parameters from the charger for maximum efficiency and extended battery life.
In our shop you will find multi-port chargers with Quick Charge 3.0 technology. They present themselves as 🙂.
3. Power Delivery
The Power Delivery standard was launched in 2012 and is designed to enable charging via USB also of equipment that requires much more power – even 100W. The ultimate goal, of course, is to completely standardize charging technology so that we can use one power supply for all mobile devices. Everything seems to indicate that to some extent this goal will be achieved soon, as can be seen by the growing number of laptops and smartphones charging with this system.
The Power Delivery 1.0 could be charged at three voltages – 5V, 12V and 20V. Depending on the profile, we could charge at 10W, 18W, 36W, 60W and 100W. In the first stage, the standard did not cover a wide range of current, only specific values.
The principle of operation of the PD is that devices adapted to charging with higher power communicate with the adapter and draw current with the parameters they need. The first version of Power Delivery was not used commercially.
Version 2.0 already allowed charging at four voltages – 5V, 9V, 15V and 20V, while the current could already be adjusted much more flexibly from 0.5W to 100W. This version is closely related to USB-C. The next release marked with the number 3.0 did not introduce such significant changes, so we will not spend any more time on it.
You will of course get this type of charger from us – USB-C Power Delivery chargers.
4. Apple Fast Charge
The term appears in the media, but in fact Apple has no special technology to charge its devices. The latest Macbooks and iPhones simply use Power Delivery. Older models don’t charge fast, and only the iPhone 8 was a breakthrough. Unfortunately for apple phones we have to get our own USB-C PD charger, because we will only find a heavily outdated model with only 5W. Yes, even in the latest model Xs. Of course you will find the right equipment here, this 18-watt trick will solve the problem 😀 (there is nothing to think about, 5W is really a very bad result).
5. Samsung Adaptive Fast Charge
The technology used exclusively in Samsung smartphones works on the same principle as Quick Charge and phones from this manufacturer can be charged with Quick Charge chargers. This also applies to many models that do not have a Snapdragon processor. However, this does not necessarily mean that ADP chargers will quickly charge the phones of other manufacturers that work with Quick Charge.
6. Motorola TurboPower
Technology used in Motorola smartphones (what a surprise). Just like Dash Charge, it’s based on increasing intensity. The manufacturer claims that it is possible to obtain even 5.7A, which at 5V gives us 28.5W of power. Very fast as for a smartphone. Unfortunately, a significant problem is a significant increase in temperature during charging, even by over 15 degrees Celsius. As we know, high heat does not promote the health of the battery, so it can be worrying, especially on warm, summer days.
7. Pump Express
The technology developed by MediaTek was supposed to compete with Quick Charge Qualcomma, but there was never any real competition for these standards. Pump Express was supposed to be designed for phones equipped with MediaTek processor, so for example Sony, HTC or Meizu. The first versions of Pump Express were based on changing the charging voltage, just like QC, but from version 3.0 on direct battery charging. The manufacturer assured of a great breakthrough, but this version went completely unnoticed.
Currently MediaTek is already promoting Pump Express 4.0 and its operation is similar to that of TurboPower and DashCharge.
The term Super Charge is the responsibility of Huawei and is a technology used exclusively in Huawei and Honor smartphones. SuperCharge can be charged at 9V or 5V with a maximum power of 22.5W (4.5V/5A). The controller selects the ideal charging voltage depending on the battery.
9. Dash Charge/Oppo VOOC
The Dash Charge system was developed by the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo. Although this brand does not exist in Europe, we are already familiar with OnePlus, which is a subsidiary of Oppo Electronics. Dash Charge itself is promoted in China as Oppo VOOC and hence the slash in the title. VOOC stands for Voltage Open Loop Multi-step Constant-Current Charging. Don’t ask me where the VOOC stands for VOOC.
And yes, I know it’s very confusing, so let’s get to the point. What kind of system is that?
The main difference between it and Quick Charge is the other way to get high charging power. While Quick Charge increases the charging voltage, Dash Charge stays at 5V and increases the current significantly, even to 5A. The maximum system power allows for up to 22.5W of charging power.
This solution avoids heat loss during voltage conversion. The characteristics of this technology allows for much faster charging during intensive use of the smartphone – e.g. during gaming, when the phone usually heats up. In case of charging Quick Charge, we have to reckon with a significant drop in speed, if we want to watch movies over the Internet at the same time.
10. Oppo Super VOOC
We have already mentioned Oppo or OnePlus on the occasion of Dash Charge, but the producer has one more ace up his sleeve. This ace is called Oppo Super VOOC.
Unfortunately, the technology is not yet in use, but undoubtedly it looks very interesting. According to the creators, the Super VOOC standard can recharge an average size smartphone battery (approx. 3500mAh) in just 35 minutes. Declared parameters are as much as 50W (10V/5A). The first phone to have this miracle is the Oppo Find X in the Lamborghini edition, and its price is €1700, so it’s by no means a large-scale production. Although the creators of the phone assured that they didn’t encounter too many technical problems while implementing this technology, I don’t really believe them. Everything seems to indicate that we will have to wait a bit for such good results in “ordinary” phones. So we keep our hand on the pulse and wait for the developments.
11. Meizu Super mCharge
Finally, one more solution for the future. The Chinese manufacturer boasts that it is able to charge a 3000mAh battery in 20 minutes. Unfortunately, we have to take our word for it, because this technology has not yet been introduced to any of the available phones. The first information about Super mCharge came out in 2017, but we still haven’t seen any implementation. We probably have to wait for the next release of Meizu flagship. The maximum power of Super mCharge is supposed to be 55W (11V/5A), which looks like a kind of switch in Oppo nose.
The parameters of the various technologies
Below I have listed the maximum capabilities of the technologies listed above. Please note that it is not the charger that decides how powerful the smartphone will be charged, but the battery controller itself. If your phone does not support a specific fast charging standard, you can’t count on the adapter’s full potential. It happens that some phones despite having Snapdragon processor will not work with the latest versions of Quick Charge. Factors such as cell temperature and cable quality are also very important. It is worth noting that the advantage of Power Delivery is of course due to the fact that the technology is adapted to charge laptops. That is why we can expect that it is this standard that will be most often used in new devices.
How will fast charging develop?
The last two points of the list leave us in a very optimistic mood. Charging your phone with an average size battery of 0 to 100% in even half an hour will probably be available soon. Let’s hope that not only in phones from this top shelf 🙂.
With that positive accent, I leave you.
Soon we will explain the next puzzles related to fast charging. We will take the next topics related to charging mobile devices to the workshop and believe that there are quite a few left. How fast can wireless charging be? How does fast charging affect the condition of the battery? You will soon find out 🙂.
Author: Krzysztof Wołongiewicz