Battery life is one of the most talked about areas for improvement in smartphones. Longer life and faster charging are at the top of the want list for many who are frustrated with constant device recharging as our mobile demands grow.
Quick Charge 2.0 promised to alleviate these wattage woes when it was introduced by Qualcomm in 2013, but after its initial announcement, little more was heard about it.
But the Quick Charge 2.0 technology can change your battery charging relationship and alleviate some of those battery woes you might have been having. This is why it's important and why the technology should be at the forefront of your smartphone considerations.
What is Quick Charge 2.0?
Quick Charge 2.0 is Qualcomm's fast charging technology that allows a device to charge the battery faster without frying its innards. It's designed to speed up the charging process, so you spend less time charging your device at the wall. Quick Charge is a proprietary Qualcomm technology, integrated into Snapdragon chipsets.
According to Qualcomm, in a 30-minute test a traditional charger (5V, 1A) managed to power a battery up 12 per cent, while the first generation of Quick Charge (5V 2A) managed 30 per cent, and Quick Charge 2.0 (9V, 2A) filled it to 60 per cent in 30 mins.
That's a significant difference in charging speed.
Quick Charge 2.0 certified adapters come in two classes: A and B. Class A is capable of delivering 5V, 9V and 12V. Class B is capable of delivering 5V, 9V, 12V and 20V. Most adapters with Quick Charge 2.0 are now Class A.
There are two sides to this fast charging arrangement. In order to benefit from Quick Charge 2.0 a device needs to be coupled with a compatible Quick Charge 2.0 wall charger.
Quick Charge 2.0 smartphones and tablets
Although Quick Charge 2.0 is the name Qualcomm applies, you'll see it referred to under other names, as other manufacturers apply their own branding. It's generally spoken about on flagship devices, as a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset has been in most of those high-end devices so far.
Google's Nexus 6 comes with Quick Charge 2.0 and the fast charger included promises to get its 3,220mAh battery to offer 6-hours of use from a 15-minute charge.
The Nexus 6 was built by Motorola and it's no suprise to find that the Moto X, Moto Maxx and Droid Turbo both support Quick Charge 2.0 as well. Motorola refers to it as Turbo Charging.
Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 supports Quick Charge 2.0 which is a good thing with that hefty 3,220mAh battery. You won't see it called that as Samsung has rebranded it as its own "Adaptive Fast Charging". The charger that comes with the Note 4 is able to get the handset up to 50 per cent battery in around 30-minutes, says Samsung.
The HTC One (M8) also comes with Quick Charge 2.0 built-in, but the Desire Eye, Butterfly 2 and One mini 2 also support it, amongst others.
The Sony Xperia Z3 and Z2 support Quick Charge 2.0 but there's a catch, it's only the Japanese variants. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact and Xperia Z2 Tablet all support Quick Charge 2.0 internationally.
There are other certified devices too. The Xiaomi Mi3 and Mi Note support it, as does the Yotaphone 2, so it isn't limited to high-end devices.
You'll need a compatible wall charger
For Quick Charge 2.0 to work you'll need a compatible charger that delivers enough power from the mains. Most chargers are limited to 5V at 1A but Quick Charge 2.0 adapters should be able to support up to 20V at 3A.
HTC has its own charger, called HTC Rapid Charger 2.0. You can buy this direct from HTC for $34.99. There are also a range of Fast Chargers, with a 15W Fast Charger coming to the UK, but few details given about it.
Powermod and Puregear sell wall and car chargers that support Quick Charge 2.0. So if you don't have one with your device one of these could well be worth the investment for a faster charging experience. For the full list of supported chargers visit Qualcomm.
According to Qualcomm any faster charger with the Quick Charge 2.0 compatibility, and the logo, will charge phones packing the battery tech and we've used the Motorola Turbo Charger with a range of devices - with great results.
The best advice, in the first instance, is to use the charger that came with your phone, as older chargers may be less powerful. If you've got a Quick Charge 2.0 compatible handset, then buying a more powerful charger is certainly worth it.
How does Quick Charge 2.0 compare to USB Type-C?
The next iteration of USB will be about enhancing power and data delivery speeds. This means USB Type-C should be able to output at 20V, the same as the top end of Quick Charge 2.0. But it should run at a higher amperage level to result in up to 100W, a considerable amount more than Quick Charge 2.0's 60W. But since Quick Charge 2.0 is connector agnostic, at 20V it can support the same 100W if the connector and cable can withstand 5A of current.
The problem isn't topping out the limit from the wall, rather it's the phone's ability to utilise the charge. Handset manufacturers haven't revealed their plans to utilise USB Type-C yet but we'd expect this to be something that starts getting announced this year.
A time of change for charging
As we said above, now is a time of flux for phone charging. Not only is USB Type-C set to potentially shake things up later this year, but there are other breakthroughs that may appear soon.
Quick Charge 2.0 is here now and a lot faster than traditional charging and likely to be supported in your next handset, even if you have to buy the charger separately. From our experience, spending £25 on a new charger is well worth it.
It's also worth keeping an eye on other chip manufacturers. With Samsung's Exynos perhaps finding its way into the Samsung Galaxy S6, Nvidia, Intel, MediaTek and HiSilicon all appearing in devices, there may be many versions of faster charging available on future devices.