Qualcomm's new Quick Charge 5 tech boasts a 50% charge in just 5 minutes

Though Quick Charge 5 is compatible with the current Snapdragon 865, phones will need Qualcomm's new power management chips to support the new feature. Expect them as soon as this quarter.

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Qualcomm on Monday announced Quick Charge 5, its latest quick-charging solution to power a compatible smartphone to a 50 percent charge state in just five minutes. That's a whole lot faster than Quick Charge 4's 15-minute claim, but it'll probably be a while before it lands on Android's most popular phones.

Charging may not be the first thing you look for among the feature list of new phones, but it’s a handy convenience if you’ve forgotten to charge your phone overnight and need to dash out the door. Qualcomm announced Quick Charge 4 in 2017, but it's yet to reach most phones.  None of Samsung's flagship phones support the protocol, and you won't find it on Pixels or OnePlus' latest phones either. 

While Qualcomm claims that Quick Charge 5 is up to 70 percent more efficient than its predecessor, compatible chargers will consume up to 100 watts during the quick-charging process. (Quick Charge 4 uses 45W chargers.) Though Qualcomm’s latest Quick Charge 5 is backward-compatible with older phone chargers, they won’t supply enough power to enable the new Quick Charge 5 compatibility. Qualcomm also maintains a list of third-party chargers that support the Quick Charge standard. 

The good news, of course, is that new, upcoming Quick Charge 5-compatible phones will ship with compatible chargers. Qualcomm says that Quick Charge 5 is supported on Snapdragon 865, 865 Plus, and future premium- and high-tier Snapdragon mobile platforms—which probably means Snapdragon 8-series smartphone processors and also the moderately powerful Snapdragon 7-series chips as well. If Qualcomm continues making future PC processors, it's possible that Quick Charge 5 would be a feature on those laptops, as well.

There are some other advantages to Quick Charge 5 as well: chargers will be, on average, 10 degrees (C) cooler than Quick Charge 4 chargers, Qualcomm says. Wireless charging will be supported, though Qualcomm’s not saying whether the charging times will differ materially.

So when can you get it? Qualcomm says that Quick Charge 5 is currently sampling with customers and is expected to appear in phones in the third quarter—which we’re in right now. However, don't expect your existing Snapdragon 865 phone to automatically gain Quick Charge 5, however. The technology is predicated upon the SMB1396 and SMB1398,  a pair of power-management chips that Qualcomm is announcing today. It’s the presence of those chips that will allow future phones to claim “Quick Charge 5” on their list of features.

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