Quick Chargers: How are they different from normal chargers?

If you have ever wondered how quick chargers work, this article explains that, including the different available Quick Charge versions and compatibility issues.

Not all chargers are the same. Regular USB 2.0 ports on a PC put out 500 mA (that is half of 1A). Regular USB chargers put out 5 volts at 1A. That explains why charging your phone via your laptop is always a slower experience than using a wall charger. A conventional charger delivering 5V/1A, will charge a phone’s battery from 0% to 12% in 30 minutes.

To speed up smartphone charging, various fast charge technologies and chargers have been developed. In this article, we explore how Fast Battery Charging and quick chargers work.

Quick Chargers To The Rescue

Different smartphone and accessories manufacturers have come up with their own branded fast charging solutions. Mediatek calls theirs Pump Express, while Qualcomm calls theirs Quick Charge. Feel free to ignore the branding used by each manufacturer; the principles they work on are similar. They pass more current to the phone to speed up charging.

Here is a list of all available fast charging technologies:

  • QuickCharge by Qualcomm
  • PUMPExpress by Mediatek
  • SuperCharge by Huawei
  • VOOC and SuperVOOC by OPPO – offers 50W fast charging.
  • Dash Charge and WarpCharge by OnePlus
  • Super FlashCharge by vivo, which now has 120W fast charging capable of filling up a 4000mAh battery compeletly in 13 minutes.
  • Adaptive Fast Charge by Samsung
  • Turbo Charge by Motorola
  • Fast Charge by Apple
  • Mi Charge by Xiaomi offers 100W fast charging.

There is also USB Power Delivery, which is a universal fast charging standard for USB devices. If your smartphone manufacturer enables it, you will be able to use any compatible USB cable from any manufacturer to get your smartphone charged quickly.

Fast Charging Technologies and Compatibility Issues

While the principle behind quick chargers are the same, the implementation by different manufacturers is different. The impplication is that the different fast charging standards are not compatible with one another. A smartphone with Mediatek’s Pump Express is not compatible with a Qualcomm QuickCharger.  And a smartphone with QuickCharge technology is not compatible with OPPO’s VOOC. And so on like that.

In order to keep the battery from being overloaded, fast chargers pass more current for a period, so the phone charges faster for that period, and then revert to regular current for the rest of the charging cycle.

But there are different versions of the technology, with each offering shorter charging times than the previous version.

Quick Charge

Qualcomm Quick Charge Versions

Qualcomm’s quick charging technology is in use by many smartphone brands. Let us have a look at its different available versions available on quick chargers today (we keep updating this list with new versions as they are announced):

  1. Quick Charge 1.0 Charges your phone battery from 0 to 30% in 30 minutes, after which charging slows down. Puts out 10W (5 volts at 2 amp). Full charging will happen in a little over two hours.
  2. Quick Charge 2.0 Charges your phone battery from 0 to 60% in 30 minutes and then slows down. Puts out 9 volts at 1.67 amp (9V/1.67A). That’s about 15W. Full charging will happen in a little under two hours.
  3. Quick Charge 3.0 Charges a phone from 0 to 80% in about 35 minutes, and then slows down. Delivers 18W of power. Full charging will happen under 2 hours.
  4. Quick Charge 4.0 Charges your phone from 0 to 50% in 15 minutes, and then slows down. It also charges up to 5° C cooler. Full charging will happen in about one and half hours.
  5. Quick Charge 4 Plus: charges 15% faster or 30% more efficiently than Quick Charge 4.

quick chargers - quick charge - fast charger

Pay Attention To Charger Rating

The point to note is that quick chargers are rated differently to enable different rates of charging. As such, it is important what kind of charger you use with your smartphone. Phones have different charging standards too.

For example, to get Quick Charge 2 charging speeds, both your phone and the charger must be Quick Charge 2.0 compatible. Same goes for all other standards. To get the appropriate fast charge speed, you need to use a compatible charger with your phone.

Is A Higher Rated Charger Dangerous For My Device?

If you use a higher rated charger with your smartphone, are you at any risk? Well, your phone will heat up a bit during charging, because more current is being passed into it. But modern phones have regulators built in and there is no risk of your phone being damaged by higher rated quick chargers. The built-in regulator will let in only the recommended amount of current.

Using a more powerful charger will speed up the charging process, depending on the charging standard your phone is compatible with. At worst, it will charge your phone like any ordinary charger would.

In summary, no matter the rating of quick chargers you use, the smartphone itself decides how much current is drawn.

Samsung fast charger EP-TA300

Quick Chargers: The Summary

The summary of the whole matter is that if possible, get the most powerful charger that you can get your hands on. Whatever the charging standard your smartphone supports, you know you are covered. When you change phones, you can also relax knowing that it does not matter what type of charger is bundled with it. You have a quick charger that has you covered.

There is a range of quick chargers available in the market. For a long time, my default go-to quick charger was a Nokia 5V / 2A charger. I own also own Anker’s 18W PowerPort+  charger and Infinix’s CQ-18YX rated 5V-9V / 2A and 9V-12V / 1.5A. The CQ-18YX is bundled with the Infinix Note 3 and Infinix Zero 4 Plus.

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