There are a thousand myths and counter-myths about what is good and what is bad when it comes to taking care of your phone’s battery, but there is something in which there is more or less consensus: it is not advisable to leave the mobile charging at night for many hours. The problem? A full charge takes several hours, and during the day you may not have time to fully charge it.
Luckily, that’s what the fast charge, a technology that with the arrival of batteries of increasing capacity has become little less than essential. The idea is very simple: to charge your phone’s battery much faster, so that your mobile is connected to the power for the shortest possible time.
What is fast charging
The name is highly descriptive, but in case someone is confused, fast charging is the generic name that several similar technologies receive whose objective is to charge a battery (for example, that of your mobile) to faster than usual speed.
The exact method by which the load is faster may vary according to the different systems, but in a simplified way it is something as simple as increase “potency” so that the battery recharges faster by increasing the voltage, the amperage, or both. If the battery were a water bottle, instead of filling it with small glasses of water, you would use a hose to fill it quickly.
“Ah, so keep it simple, all I have to do to charge my phone fast is plug in the most powerful charger I can find.” Yes and no. As a general rule, you should always use the original charger or at least recommended as the manufacturer and, in addition, electronic devices have a regulator to limit how much power they can receive from your charger. In the example of the bottle above, it would be its neck.
It is useless if you plug a pressure hose into your bottle if most of the water cannot penetrate inside and, in the same way, it is useless if you use a tablet charger if your mobile refuses to let in more energy from the normal one. It is not that the manufacturer is stubborn and opposes progress, it is for the device’s own safety, of his battery and yours.
Hardware and software
In this article we are going to focus on the fast charging technologies popularized by manufacturers such as Qualcomm, MediaTek or OnePlus, but the truth is that when charging the phone everything helps, and hardware and software go hand in hand.
The loading speed of any device is a simple mathematical operation between how much energy are you gaining the device via its charger minus the one you are consuming during use. If at that moment the device is completely switched off (its consumption is zero), the charge is therefore the fastest possible.
In our case, these measurements are made in mAh, a unit that you surely recognize as it is the one used to describe the capacity of batteries. Specifically, mAh means milliamps per hour And it is a figure that by itself does not tell you how long your phone will last on: it will depend on how much you spend.
Going back to the math, with a 3000 mAh battery you could keep one device spending 100 mA for 30 hours or another using 150 mA for 20 hours. This is where the software comes in, well reducing the device’s energy use makes charging faster, and it is the premise on which a thousand and one Google Play applications are based that promise to “Boost” your load.
To achieve this, there are many resources available to manufacturers to achieve the fastest charging. From limiting the processor power to lowering the brightness, closing applications or directly entering a mode of super energy saving which is more like a feature phone than a smartphone.
Although a phone in power saving mode – or off – charges faster than one that is in use, with the screen on and a game with 3D graphics, this is not considered fast charging. Fast charging is charging faster, other things being equal. Some manufacturers mix both concepts for greater efficiency.
Quick charge types
There are several types of fast charging on Android, although the most popular system due to its extension is probably Qualcomm’s: Quick Charge. These are, today, the main types of fast charging.
Qualcomm Quick Charge
It is the most widespread fast charging technology given the extent of chipsets Snapdragon in which it is included. Since its first version, revisions 2.0, 3.0 and the recent 4.0 have been released, integrated in the new Snapdragon 835.
Explaining the benefits of fast charging is relative and complex, so it is normal to use simplifications that are easier to understand such as the 5 by 5 of Quick Charge 4.0: with five minutes of charging, you gain five hours of autonomy. At least in theory. In plain words, it is about four times faster than conventional charging.
To achieve this, Qualcomm uses an INOV (Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage) algorithm by which the device can determine how much power it needs at any time and allowing optimize voltage as much as possible that you receive so that the load is as fast as possible.
Different versions of Quick Charge change the number of voltage and amperage combinations supported by the system and incorporate different technologies for greater efficiency and safety. For example, Quick Charge 1.0 supports 5V and 2A, Quick Charge 2.0 I added 5V, 9V and 12V and 3A, Quick Charge 3.0 reduced heating during charging and Quick Charge 4.0 Among many other new features, it includes support for USB Power Delivery, as recommended by Google.
The technology behind Quick Charge 2.0, the most widespread version, is the same behind other fast charging systems such as Motorola TurboPower or Samsung Adaptive Fast Charge, with some possible slight change via software.
MediaTek Pump Express
Chipmaker MediaTek has its own fast-charging version, which is hilariously called the Pump Express. The slogan of this technology is “load less, live more“, which is translated according to official calculations into figures such as” 75% load in 20/30/35 minutes “.
MediaTek Pump Express follows the same principle as Qualcomm’s Quick Charge and, as you can see in the graphic above, it has also received three revisions to improve its efficacy and safety since 2014.
This Mediatek document even details the technology equivalences between Express Pump and Quick Charge. Basically, MediaTek Express Pump 1.0 is like Quick Charge 2.0, Express Pump 2.0 is like Quick Charge 3.0 and the latest Express Pump 3.0, although in the graph it is not completed, it would be equivalent to the new Quick Charge 4.0, also compatible with USB Power Delivery and with less overheating.
We follow the repertoire of funny names with OnePlus DASH, or Carrera, the exclusive charging technology of the OnePlus 3. In this case, the premise is the following: 30 minutes of charging gives you full power for a day, which is not the same as a full charge, but approximately 50% of the 3,400 mAh battery of the OnePlus 3T.
Dash Charge sends more current than other fast charging systems and does so by causing less phone overheating. This means that you can load it at full speed while playing games or watching high resolution video without affecting performance or getting too hot. The bad news is that you need to use the official charger and cable to get these benefits.
The Chinese manufacturer Oppo has its own special fast charging system under the name VOOC, acronym for Voltage Open Loop Multi-step Constant-Current Charging. Yes, the acronyms don’t seem to match, but that’s another story.
According to official figures, VOOC is four times faster than a conventional charger and should provide you with 75% battery in 30 minutes. A year ago, at MWC 2016, we knew about your review Super VOOC, according to which a 2500 mAh battery would charge to 45% with just five minutes of charging.
VOOC and Super VOOC use a different method than Quick Charge. Instead of increasing the voltage, the amperage is increased. This means that charged devices do not overheat and battery life is not reduced as much as with other technologies. In return, you need to use the official chargers and cables.
We finish our list of fast charging systems with that of the Chinese company Meizu. The premise is this: you can charge a 3,000 mAh battery in just 20 minutes, and without generating a lot of heat in the process.
To achieve this, Meizu mCharge includes a charger that provides a current of 11V and 5A (that is, a power of 55 watts, compared to 18 for Quick Charge 3.0). To reach this charging speed and the phone does not exceed 39 degrees of temperature, you need once again to use your cable and charger.
How do I know if my mobile has fast charge?
All this is very good, but you are probably wondering by now if your mobile is compatible with some type of fast charge. Although it sounds obvious, probably the easiest way to check is to read the Technical specifications of your device, although sometimes incomprehensibly the data is not included.
Another efficient and low-tech way to check if your mobile is compatible with fast charging is take a look at your charger. There you will generally find the technology logo (Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging, Quick Charge …). Of course, it may also be the case that the charger does not include the data … or that the fast charger is not included with the device that is.
There are several requirements for a fast charging technology to be active on the device, so you must not fall into making assumptions Like because your mobile has Snapdragon it automatically supports Quick Charge or because your mobile is Oppo it automatically has VOOC.
You can check the official lists of compatible devices in some of these systems, although there is no guarantee that they are up to date including the latest releases. Qualcomm has this PDF with the list of devices Quick Charge 3.0 compatible and you will find VOOC compatible OPPO phones here. OnePlus DASH is compatible with OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T.
If at this point you still don’t know if your mobile is compatible with fast charging or …