Smartphones that charge slowly suck. And in a world where battery capacities are getting larger by the month, long charge times could become a legitimate gripe. But Qualcomm has apparently been on the case for quite a while now, quietly implementing a technology it calls Quick Charge 1.0 into some of its Snapdragon chipsets.

Quick Charge is actually a physical circuit built into the chipset that interfaces with the USB connector, so this isn't some kind of firmware voodoo. Qualcomm acquired the tech when it bought Summit Microelectronics last June.

Qualcomm claims QuickCharge allows you to charge your smartphone up to 40% faster than one without Quick Charge. Some of the notable devices packing Quick Charge 1.0 functionality are:

  • DROID DNA / J Butterfly
  • One S / SV / VX
  • Nexus 4
  • Optimus G
  • Galaxy S III (US version)
  • Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 / 10.1 (LTE versions)
  • Xperia T / TL

You can find a full list of Quick Charge 1.0-enabled devices at Qualcomm's blog post on the matter, here. The post is actually a teaser, promising "exciting news on the newest advancement in fast charging technology" next week. Quick Charge 2.0, I'm guessing?

Qualcomm OnQ Blog

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • RenatoFontesTapia

    The One S is there... but not the One XL ... this sucks xD

    • ProductFRED

      One S uses a Snapdragon S4 dual. One XL uses a Tegra 3.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        No, the One XL uses Snapdragon S4. I'm guessing its omission was an an error. I doubt it was some kind of weird choice by HTC to omit the feature on its flagship phone, which doesn't make any sense.

        • ProductFRED

          Oh whoops. I was thinking of the One X+. Edited.

        • Sriram Sridharan

          I posted a comment on their blog asking about this. Hopefully, we'll have some answers.

        • Kurt

          I was wondering about the omission of the One XL too, all the other HTC phones with Snapdragon S4 are listed, including the EVO 4G LTE, which is practically the same device.

  • Brandon Fletcher

    I'm really surprised the Note II isn't on the list. That thing goes from empty to full in just a couple hours.

    • ProductFRED

      The Note 2 uses an Exynos 4412 (Quad-Core) chipset, same as the Galaxy S3 i9300 (international version). The US Galaxy S3's use a Snapdragon S4 dual-core chipset.

      • JuanPablo

        I think what Brandon meant is that it charges remarkably quickly despite not being on the list...

        • ProductFRED

          I got that, but he shouldn't be surprised it's not on the list since it doesn't have a Snapdragon chipset in it. That's what I was replying to.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

            u iz sew smarts

          • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

            You missed the point completely. He was simply saying that when he initially read the article he assumed his device must be one of those with this technology because it charges quite quickly. He was then surprised to find that his device actually doesn't have this technology. It's not rocket science...

        • Brandon Fletcher

          Thanks for clarifying Juan, that was what I was saying. I understood that my phone's CPU is not manufactured by Qualcomm, however, it was of interest to me that it charges much faster than all smartphones I've had up to this point. To further elaborate on my train of thought, I wonder if this isn't a technology that is shared in newer phone chipsets, and Qualcomm was just the first company that said, "Hey, all of these newer optimizations allow the phones to charge faster, we should put a name on that and use it as a selling point." Not that I'm accusing them of being deceptive, it's just clever from a marketing standpoint.

    • http://profiles.google.com/dc4316 Ismael Rodriguez

      Really? Lucky you. Ha. Mine takes forever. (But it last forever too, so I'll live.) Could be kernel related...I'm rooted w/ a custom (stock-based) ROM and custom kernel. Gonna have to cross me fingers.

      • aatifsumar

        Are you using the bundled charger with your phone? That should give you significantly better results.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

        probably because you have it rooted...why are people who root their phone surprised when it doesnt do what it was meant to do BEFORE they rooted it?

        • spydie

          George you are a moron. Rooting your phone doesn't change anything except give you "administrator" privileges. It doesn't change how the phone runs or charges. Changing the ROM can change things considerably, though I doubt that would affect the charging as that is a hard-wired thing. My note 2 is rooted and charges just as fast as did before rooting.. which proves my point (but then common sense proves my point, too).

    • kamiller42

      I find the Note 2 charges pretty fast using a 2 amp charger, which is what comes in the box.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

      It has its own quick charge ability and is stated in its specs. The phone charges very fast for a large battery

  • mgamerz

    No details of what quick charge is or how it works?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      No. But that's par for the course for something like this.

    • http://profiles.google.com/kamilkaminski000 Kamil Kamiński

      I suppose this is a special circuit that allows >500mA power over USB. My PC has a fast charger port that gives up to 1.5A, so if a device supports it - its charging faster.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        Android devices actually charge using 1A, not 500mA. iOS gear uses 500mA.

      • ERIFNOMI

        Wall chargers are already >500mA. This is surelys something different.

        • mgamerz

          I assume it was like what sony did where it charged the battery much faster when it detected it was <80%... the slow charging I think is because of the overcharging protection LiON batteries have.

      • Elias

        You're probably right. There's no black magic regarding electricity. In fact, I have no idea why this hasn't been done before. If you want to charge a battery faster, you just gotta (1) make sure it can charge faster (greater current) without overheating and (2) deliver greater current to it.
        That's exactly what happens to tablets. Try to charge them in a regular usb port, they're slow. Charge them on their own charger, they're fast. Each kind of device knows how to recognize its own charger. To make a charger for iCrap, you put 2.2v on D+ and 2.8v on D- (or vice-versa), and on most Android devices you just short D+ and D-. That's why it will either show "Charging" or "Charging (AC)".
        Beware this kind of fast charging happens to a cost to battery life. Still, you'll probably throw your device out until its battery goes really bad, and even if you don't, probably the added convenience of fast charging is worth replacing the battery once every 18 months.

  • Das Hoff

    And what does that do to battery life?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I doubt it does anything to battery life. Why would it? It might, however, reduce the number of cycles a battery can withstand, but even that is speculation.

  • Michael

    This is already implemented into AOKP

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      AOKP now includes physical circuits?

      • http://www.ellianth.com Ellianth

        You hadn't heard? :P

      • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

        There is a feature called "Fast Charge" that allows the device to take a higher amount of charge in than the normal limits. But yeah, no hardware getting added :)

        • ERIFNOMI

          Fast charge just allows your phone to draw more than 500mA from a PC. This is not the same.

          • Matthew Fry

            Great feature though. IIRC, Android wakelocks the whole time it's connected to what it senses is a "usb connection" (vs wall charge). Higher amperage and deep sleep!

          • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

            Indeed, I was just explaining it to him in case he didn't know :) This is certainly much cooler than fast charge :D

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

          I believe fast charge simply disables the data part of the USB connection to your PC, so that when you plug it in, all it's focusing on is charging - which it can then do at a faster rate.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

            mmm nope not true

      • QwietStorm

        Don't act like you don't know the matrix is real.

    • Brandon Fletcher

      I hope this was clever sarcasm. By the number of downvotes, I don't think people caught that.

  • Logan B.

    Every time I have something that charges fast, it gets really damn hot really damn fast. I know heat isn't all that great for overall battery longevity, so this worries me. Good things I have a Galaxy Nexus and don't have to worry about it, eh?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      That's kind of my guess on the tradeoff here - moar volts = moar heat = reduced cycle life. But I'm guessing that's a tradeoff most people are OK with, if that's even a side-effect of this technology (which is far from certain).

      • Logan B.

        Which could be fine for a while, until one is only getting a few hours off a charge and wonder what went wrong.

      • Bryce Mrozinski

        I have an I747 and I have noticed that it charges pretty quickly, but there is quite a bit of heat generated right at the USB port on the bottom. Its actually very unnerving..

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

        Yeah, that certainly wouldn't bother me because getting a new battery isn't all that expansive. It's not like you have to get a brand new phone.

    • Razormike

      My nexus 4 doesn't heat up at all. The battery also has many more charge cycles than a regular phone.

  • bydavidrosen

    So I have quickcharge on my s3? Now I love it even more!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      If you have an American GS3, yes.

      • bydavidrosen

        sure do. it does charge pretty damn fast. i always figured it was because it's awesome.

  • ProductFRED

    Some custom kernels for non-Qualcomm devices implement something called "Fast Charging", which as far as I know is a software solution. The only thing, though, is that it usually disables the data portion of the USB connection (say if you're connected to a computer) until you disable the option and reboot the phone. So this hardware solution is a nice mix between the two, even if it requires a Qualcomm-based device.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

      Yes, but by disabling the data part of the USB connection, all you're actually doing is matching the speed you would get from a standard outlet. This hardware solution isn't really a "mix between the two," since it would positively affect both charging scenarios.

  • Ruperto17

    No wonder my N4 charges so damn fast.

    • CuriousCursor

      You wrote what I was just thinking. :D

    • TylerChappell

      Same for my Droid DNA!

  • jammer

    So if it's a hardware circuit that does the magic then it should be somewhat automatic if you have the proper charger and cord, right?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      It doesn't require any special gear. I'm guessing a standard 1.5-2A wall charger and pretty much any mUSB cable will work.

      • Elias

        Probably not. Try to charge with an apple charger and it will probably be slow. apple and Android devices have different ways to tell the device that it's being charged by an adapter capable of delivering high currents, as I explained in another comment here (usually android just shorts the data lines, while apple is much more tricky). Also, if you have an adapter capable of 2A but it doesn't have the proper way to warn the device about it, you'll still charge slowly. For more info, http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/icharge.html

    • SK

      Not necessarily. That special HW might also need some drivers to manage it. Just laying out the possibilities.

  • Austin X

    The DNA has this feature? Could have fooled me. Mine and others ive seen on xda charge slow as hell!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I definitely noticed this when I reviewed it, as well.

  • Aaron Stevens

    So this is something that is already on our Nexus 4? Not noticed it really, still takes the usual 2 hours 30 minutes to charge up, same as my previous HTC Desire device.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Your Desire also had a significantly smaller battery. 2h30m for a 2100mAh battery != the same charging speed as 2h30m for a 1400mAh battery.

      • JonJJon

        I noticed a much longer time in charging for the GS3 than my previous Desire S, but then realised it does have a much larger battery so made sense, did think I had a rubbish charger for a little while though....doh, lol. Still selling the GS3 atm to buy a Nexus 4, looking forward to it!

        (edit: I am in the UK so not a Quick Charge S3)

  • Chronus719

    This would seriously explain why my Nexus 4 charges like a beast. I'm always surprised at how quickly I can charge the phone from near-death to not having to worry about it any more.

  • Not fast with jelly bean

    There is a bug going around with charging from a 4 pin micro. This just happened to my gfs phone. It is so slow unless charging with a 5pin

  • Guest

    This would explain why my N4 charges like a beast. I have always been astounded by how quickly it can go from near-death to ready for a long night out.

  • Brian Walker

    I have a 2A charger at work, so I'm used to fast charging, but after getting the N4 I feel like I'm fully juiced up REALLY quickly. This explains it.

    • mgamerz

      As far as I know the device will draw the same amount of power from the charger as long as it supports that current. If you have a 800mAh and a 2A and it only draws 700mAh the 2A isn't going to charge any faster.

  • jer85008

    I suspected my RAZR M charged much quicker than it should - seems to only take about an hour or so from 20-30% to full. Nice!

  • Scott

    My Razr Maxx HD take 2-2.5 hours to charge (coming from 1-5 percent) which isn't that bad considering how beefy the battery actually is.

  • Soham Dongargaonkar

    My HTC One V and One X charge extremelly fast- about in an hour to full- and it has a snapdragon processor. So i'm sure it has this too.

  • BrainOfSweden

    No SGS2 :( But the new ROM I recently switched too seems to actually charge faster.

  • http://profiles.google.com/traedani Tshifhiwa Raedani

    trickster mod ---> force fast charge....empty to full in 20 minutes on my GNexus

  • Youri van Dijk

    I was already, pleasantly, surprised when charging my nexus 4!

  • Elias

    Weird. I feel like my n4 charges slowly.