Battery still remains as one of the biggest pain points for consumers. Most modern smartphones today offer battery life of a day or maximum two days. This is because there’s a lot of processing power required and smartphone makers have their hands tied as they can’t compromise design for chunky battery units.
Until there is a major breakthrough in battery cell technology, the only so-called solution we can rely on is faster methods of charging. Most vendors use some sort of fast charging technology for instance a lot of Android smartphones come with Quick Charge technology, which is Qualcomm’s patented fast charging technology. Some have rebranded it, like Motorola, which calls it Turbo Charging.
Currently the fastest smartphone charging is offered by OnePlus called Dash Charging. The company made use of Oppo’s VOOC flash charging when it launched the OnePlus 3 back in 2016.
What is Quick Charge?
Before we explain how Dash Charging works, let’s understand Quick Charge as it is one of the most widely used standards.
Qualcomm introduced Quick Charge technology back in 2013 for handsets using its SoCs. The technology works by delivering high voltage to the battery, reducing the time required for charging the smartphone battery.
As years have passed, the company has tried to improve this by pumping more power. Currently Quick Charge 4.0 is one of its fastest charging technologies which is said to be 20% faster and up to 30% more efficient than QC 3.0. It is also USB-C Power Delivery (PD) specification compliant.
Last year it introduced QC 4.0+ exclusively for the Snapdragon 845 SoC which is more efficient than QC 4.0.
The funny thing here is that there are a bunch of phones in the market running on Snapdragon chips that support QC 4.0 and 4.0+, but somehow smartphone makers haven’t adopted the the fast charging technology.
Currently there are only three devices which support QC 4.0, the LG G7, the Razer Phone and the ZTE Nubia Z17. The latter two actually support QC 4.0+.
For reference purposes QC 2.0, which is used by a majority of smartphones, can charge 5V, 9V, 12V at 3A, 2A, or 1.67A delivering maximum power of 18W.
QC 3.0 on the other hand charges dynamically between 3.6V and 20V with 200mV increments to deliver the same 18W of power.
We haven’t found precise numbers for QC 4.0 but sources say that it offers charging at either 5V (4.7A to 5.6A) or 9V (3A) which can deliver 18W of power. It also includes something called Intelligent Negotiation of Optimum Voltage (INOV), which delivers the best voltage depending on the battery.
QC 4.0+ is the latest version and is probably going to be adopted by more smartphone vendors. The reason for that is because it is USB-C power delivery compliant. This is the same tech that Google uses for its Pixel 2/2XL smartphones.
On USB-PD, it can charge 5V or 9V at 3A and on QC 4.0+ it can charge dynamically between 3.6V and 20V with 200mV increments. Qualcomm also says that this is much cooler while charging when compared to the previous generations.
What is Dash Charge?
Chinese smartphone maker Oppo developed its own charging standard called VOOC (Voltage Open Loop Multi-step Constant-Current Charging). The same technology has been rebranded and is used by OnePlus with the name Dash Charge. The difference between Dash Charge and Quick Charge is that while the former delivers higher amperage, Qualcomm’s tech depends on higher voltages.
Dash Charge offers 5V at 4A and it uses special circuitry in the charger to achieve this. This is necessary for proper heat management, hence you can only achieve Dash Charge speeds by using only the company’s proprietary chargers. Speaking of which, Dash charging charges OnePlus phones from 0% to 60% in just 30 minutes. Beyond that it reduces the amperage to protect the life of the battery. Even then the phone fully charges in 45 minutes or so.
This makes it the fastest charging standard available and it’s not just on paper, we have tried and tested this on the OnePlus 3T, OnePlus 5 and the OnePlus 5T. The newly launched OnePlus 6 is getting the same charging standard.
Apart from offering one of the fastest charging speeds, Dash Charge offers another benefit. Since the voltage doesn’t go high, Dash Charge also has the ability to maintain low temperatures while charging. This allows users to play games or watch videos while charging without compromising on the charging speeds or high temperatures.
The only drawback? You need to keep that charger safe as you can’t rely on a third party charger.