Android Headliner: Quick Charge 3.0 is the Real MVP

Late last year, Qualcomm announced Quick Charge 3.0. The technology was the third evolution of Quick Charge, which they started back in 2013 with Quick Charge 1.0 and was part of the Snapdragon 800 processor. Quick Charge 1.0 didn't make a huge difference for many consumers, seeing as it only charged your device about 40% faster than a conventional charger. It was faster, but not that noticeable. Then Quick Charge 2.0 came along, promising 75% faster charging speeds than Quick Charge 1.0. This was indeed noticeable, and many smartphones with 3000mAh batteries were able to charge up in just over two hours. Something that would normally take about 3 hours. Now that Quick Charge 3.0 is here, Qualcomm says that it can charge up to 4 times faster than conventional charging. That is indeed mind blowing and a life changer.

Now that we've spent a few weeks with Quick Charge 3.0 in the LG G5, it's safe to say that it's the best feature in any smartphone in 2016. Right now there are nine smartphones that support Quick Charge 3.0. Three of those are available or will be available in most countries (particularly the US), include the HTC 10, HTC One A9 and LG G5. Others include the General Mobile GM5+, LeEco Le MAX 2, LeTV Le MAX Pro, NuAns NEO and the Xiaomi Mi 5. HP also has the HP Elite x3 with Quick Charge 3.0, but that runs Windows and not Android. Those wondering, the Snapdragon 430, 617, 618, 620 and 820 all support the new standard. It's just up to the OEM to enable it as well as put compatible chargers in the box. While the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge both run on the new Snapdragon 820 which supports Quick Charge 3.0, neither device actually has Quick Charge 3.0. Why? We don't have a definitive answer from Samsung, but our best guess is to give a uniform experience across the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge around the world. Remember that in some countries, the Exynos 8890 is powering these two smartphones, which does not support Quick Charge 3.0. So that is likely why our brothers in Europe don't see Quick Charge 3.0. However it does support Quick Charge 2.0 which is still pretty darn fast.

Then there's LG. While they did bring Quick Charge 3.0 to the LG G5, they did not put a compatible charger in the box. This shouldn't be surprising, as most manufacturers don't put a Quick Charge compatible charger in their box, even going back to Quick Charge 2.0 and 1.0. This is to save costs and maximize their profit. The LG G5 comes with a "fast charger" which isn't technically Quick Charge 2.0, but it features the same speeds as Quick Charge 2.0. So if you did pick up the LG G5 and are looking to get some Quick Charge 3.0 action, you'll want to pick up some of these chargers. Now when it comes to the new HTC 10, it's tough to say whether it'll have a Quick Charge 3.0 charger in the box, considering it has not yet been released. But our bet is that it won't.

With the LG G5, and a Quick Charge 3.0 charger, you can charge your device from around 20% or lower, to 100% in just over an hour. Now with a Quick Charge 2.0 device like the Galaxy S7, that would be closer to two hours. Sure that's not a huge deal, really, but it does definitely make a difference when you are needing to top off before heading out for the evening. Qualcomm states you can get to 80% in just 35 minutes of charging, and that appears to be completely true here. While battery life on the LG G5 may not be as great as the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge, having Quick Charge 3.0 makes that less of an issue, given how fast it charges now.

There's been a lot of advances in technology in the past 5 to 10 years, but in the smartphone world, it's been pretty stagnant. We've started seeing more metal and glass smartphones, also more fingerprint sensors and even curved displays. But the biggest advancement is arguably Quick Charge. Batteries are getting bigger and bigger, which in turn means that charging times are getting longer and longer. But Quick Charge is changing that theory, and changing it for good. This seems to be the real change we need in the battery department. Smartphones still aren't lasting a full day, even with much larger batteries than what we had about 3 years ago. But the ability to throw your phone on the charger for 35 minutes and get up to 80% charge, is definitely a good thing here.

Right now there are a slew of Quick Charge 3.0 wall chargers and car chargers available. We'll definitely be seeing some more USB hubs as well as power banks available with the technology very soon. Seeing as we already have them with Quick Charge 2.0. Could you imagine plugging your phone into your power bank while you're at the airport waiting for your flight, and seeing it charge about four-times faster than normal? Talk about convenient. Quick Charge 3.0 also supports USB Type-C, as is seen in the LG G5. So you can use a USB Type-C cable to charge up your LG G5 real fast and use that same cable to charge your Chromebook Pixel and not worry about over-charging that Chromebook Pixel.

You see, the great thing about Quick Charge is that it is backwards compatible. So with Quick Charge 3.0, it's backwards compatible with Quick Charge 2.0, Quick Charge 1.0 and conventional charging. So plugging in devices like a tablet to a Quick Charge 3.0 charger won't result in damaging the battery. As the charger will recognize from the tablet, how much current it can handle and give it just the right amount. So you'll see slower charging speeds, but still be able to use that charger without killing the battery in your tablet.

In 2016, when you are looking to upgrade your smartphone and you want to be future-proof for the next two years or even three years - let's face it, most people don't upgrade every year - there are a couple features you're going to want to have. One must have is Quick Charge 3.0. It's great, it really is. Another feature, although maybe not a must have, is USB Type-C. We've already begun to see it in most flagship smartphones and it's going to be hugely popular over the next two years or so. It's a great standard because you use the same cable to charge your smartphone, tablet and even laptop (see Apple's Macbook and Google's newest Chromebook Pixel). How much more universal can you get? Not to mention the fact that USB Type-C is also reversible. Plug it in upside down? Impossible. Because it's reversible. It's a really great standard to have in your next smartphone.

If you haven't had the chance to try out Quick Charge 3.0 just yet, you'll definitely want to try it. It should be a part of just about every flagship announced in 2016. Seeing as most of them will feature the Snapdragon 820 chipset, which does have Quick Charge 3.0 support. Words can only describe how good the standard is, but experiencing it for yourself is a much different thing. There are often sales on Quick Charge 3.0 chargers these days, so you'll want to stock up on them. They are a bit more expensive, and that's due to a couple of reasons. One being the fact it needs more power, and the other being the licensing fees that manufacturers have to pay to Qualcomm - you'd be surprised at how many licensing fees are in chargers, even conventional ones. Once you try Quick Charge 3.0, you'll wonder how you waited nearly 3 hours for your phone to charge to 100%.

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About the Author

Alexander Maxham

Section Editor
Alex has written for Androidheadlines since 2012 as Editor of the site and traveled the World to many of the biggest Smartphone and Technology events. Alex has a background in Technology and IT and Deep Passion for Everything Android and Google. His specialties lay in Smartphones of all budgets, Accessories, Home Automation and more. Contact him at [email protected]