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Comparing QC 5.0 vs PD 3.1 Specification Differences

Comparing QC 5.0 vs PD 3.1

The two latest charging technologies are QC 5.0 and PD 3.1. Let’s go through the details of each of them:

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QC 5.0:


Qualcomm announced its cutting-edge Quick Charge 5.0 which can complete up to 50% charge in 5 minutes. Since the race for achieving the fastest charging technology is already getting intensified, Qualcomm surpasses in this race with its latest charging technology for future smartphones.

Version
QC 1.0
Connector
USB-A/ micro-USB
Max Power
10W
(2013)(5V,2A)
QC 2.0
(2014)
USB-A/ micro-USB18W (9V,2A)
QC 3.0
(2016)
USB-A/ micro-USB USB-C36W (12V,3A)
QC 4.0
(2017)
USB-C100W (20V,SA)
QC 4.0+
(2017)
USB-CAs above and: 27W via USB PD
(9V x 3A)
QC 5.0USB-C>100W

The latest Quick Charge 5 represents a noticeable improvement on QC 4.0. This is because it supports a maximum of 100W fast charging.

Also Read: Comparing PPS vs PD vs QC

With this latest charging technology, a 4,500mAh battery could be charged from 0 to 50% in only 5 minutes. Moreover, the entire battery can be charged up to 100% in 15 minutes.

This technology uses a dual charging solution for charging up a battery. Up to 100W fast charging, support keeps the battery 10% cooler and is 70% more efficient to boot.

The working of QC 5.0 is such that it splits the battery into two cells connected to charge in series to increase the voltage. Moreover, QC 5.0 even supports a triple charge, and it will divide the cells into three halves.

Note that the QC 5.0 supported charging bricks would need support output voltages in the range of 3.3 and 20V. So, it can be 3.3 or 5A of current or 5+ Amps for the larger ones. Moreover, the QC 5.0 technology is based on USB Power Delivery PPS.

SpecificationCommonly used voltageCommonly used currentMaximum Power
Fast Charging5v2.4A12W
Quick Charge5V, 9V, 12V1A, 2A27W
Power Delivery (PD)5V, 9V, 12V 15V, 20V, 28V, 36V, 48V5A1OOW (3.0), 240W (3.1)

Faster power output and safe delivery:

The chipmaker claimed that the corresponding charging system is relatively safer than the standard Power Delivery system. This charging technology supports 3 levels of current protection, 8 levels of voltage protection, and 3 levels of thermal protection. Also, it supports 3 timer protections and overvoltage protection at 25 V.

Two charge controller chips are released and available for use by the manufacturers. They are SMB1396 and MSB1398.

Note that the wired and wireless input could be used with the 1-cell and 2-cell batteries, based on the manufacturer’s designs.

It is also important to note that one of the cell designs will be restricted to 45W charging at once. The existing Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 865 Plus now support the latest Qualcomm QC5; however, they will require the newest SMB chips. These SMB chips will power the charging bricks to enable the implementation of the latest charging technology.

Backward compatibility:


QC 5.0 is backward compatible with all preceding Quick Charge solutions. This charging technology depicts incredible advances in its charging speed and is backward compatible with prior QC versions.

For example, USB-PD devices can merely obtain the standard charging speed with the help of the QC 3.0 technology, and the iPhone 8 and higher versions of smartphones can go for the same.

But QC 5.0 can charge them with fast charging. Hence, it is suggested that QC 5.0 is not just outstandingly fast in charging but is also backward compatible and helps you to use other devices that used to operate with previous QCs starting with QC 2.0.

Single accessory:

QC 5.0 features a very promising ecosystem because the fast-charging technology allows a single accessory to fulfill the requirements of different charging operations for mobile devices. According to Qualcomm estimates, QC 5.0 has the outstanding potential to support more than 250 mobile devices and more than 1000 accessories.

Specifically, because QC 5.0 fulfills the current and future demands of Android systems. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S20 and LG V30 smartphones support QC 5.0. Moreover, Realme has launched 125W UltraDART fast charging technology.

Those smartphones still using single battery cells would perceive benefits in terms of thermal performance and charging speeds. This is applicable even though Qualcomm stated that usually, these would be restricted to approx. 45W peak power.

Other salient features of QC 5.0:

  • Dual/Triple Charge technology
  • INOV4
  • Adaptive input voltage
  • Qualcomm Battery Saver
  • Latest Qualcomm Smart Identification of Adapter Capabilities technology

All these features and the ones mentioned above work collectively to boost the power delivery efficiency, strengthen safety and prolong the battery life cycle on the device.

PD 3.1:


USB (Universal Serial Bus) has progressed from being just a data interface with restricted power capability to a principal power provider.

Currently, there are plenty of devices that can charge over USB ports equipped in cars, laptops, displays, workstations, docking stations, and wall outputs as well.

USB PD (Power Delivery) is an industry-standard or specification for handling high power. It enables users to charge their devices quickly.

The USB PD 3.1 is the newest update capable of delivering up to 240W through USB Type-C. This charging technology employs intelligent device negotiation of 5A and the variable voltage up to 48V @ 240W.

Note that you can’t use any obsolete USB-C charger or cable to deliver 240W of power. The reason is the latest specification boosts the voltage to 48V, and the existing rating stays the same at 5A.

Watts = Volt x Ampere, so 48V x 5A = 240W

Before this major update, the maximum power delivery rating of the USB PD was only 100W with 20V and 5A. As per the USB IF (Implementers Forum), the chargers and cables with 240W capability will be formally termed EPR (Extended Power Range).

Furthermore, the USB IF has updated the Type-C specifications to specify the requirements for a 240W cable. The latest Type-C 2.1 cables will possess the ability to support the latest USB PD 3.1 protocol.

Specifications of USB PD 3.1:

SpecificationCommonly Used VoltageCommonly Used CurrentMax. Power
Fast Charging5V2.4A12W
Quick Charging5V, 9V, 12V1A, 2A27W
Power Delivery5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V5A100W
Power Delivery 3.128V, 36V, 48V5A240W

From the above table, it is inferred that PD 3.1 supports the maximum power, i.e., up to 240W. Several devices need more power than the previous version of the USB PD protocol (100W). Although a 100W power supply is higher than any smartphone will ever need, the 100W power limit is insufficient for the latest gaming laptops, docking stations, displays, mobile workstations, and more.

Quick Charge is deemed as “non-compliant” by USB IF.

USB Type-C can be used to charge and power garden tools, e-bikes, and laser printers. However, a 100W power limit is insufficient for these tools. But with the advent of USB-C with a 240W power upgrade, you can plug in high-power demanding tools, including LED TVs and 4K monitors. No need to use the old proprietary cables and chargers.

Features of USB PD 3.1 Protocol:

In addition to offering up to 240W power, it supports the following features:

  • The latest 48V, 36V, and 28V fixed values enable 240W, 180W, and 140W power levels, respectively.
  • New chargers and cables will have variable voltage supply mode. Consequently, you can benefit from the intermediate voltages ranging from 15V to 48V.
  • The power direction will not be fixed to enable hosts or peripherals to deliver power.
  • Power management is optimized on various peripherals. This implies that all devices can derive the power they need.
  • It allows flexible and intelligent power management to happen at the system level via the optional hub communication with PCs.

Devices supporting USB PD 3.1 Protocol with EPR:

This protocol is already available on specific devices, including MacBook Pro 14 and 16. This means that the latest charging brick of Apple MacBook Pro laptops would be cross-compatible with every other device supporting PD 3.1 Protocol.

Applications of PD 3.1 Protocol

  • All those devices requiring 240W or lower power can make the most of this protocol. Names of such devices are large displays, cameras, workstations, docking stations, gaming PCs, desktops, larger notebooks, and e-scooters.
  • It removes the dependency on additional power bricks for cases demanding high power. So, you need not use extra power bricks for printers and USB-powered HDDs.
  • Power bricks and USB chargers can operate on USB ports with 3.1 PD on laptops.
  • Laptop USB ports and power bricks will provide high power to devices that work on a battery.
  • A monitor usually requires power from a wall outlet and can operate over USB Type-C cables with PD 3.1 while the laptop display still operates.
  • There will be an improvement in the charging rate for all battery-powered devices.

If a cable is USB PD compliant, it is (likely) more robust and capable than any quick charge only cable.

USB Type
USB 2.0
Connector
USB-A
Voltage
5v
Current
O.SA
Power
2.5W
USB 3.1
USB BC 1.2
USB-C 1.SA
USB-A
?
USB-C
5v
5v
0.9A
1.5A
1.5A
4.5W
7.5W
7.5W
USB-C 3AUSB-C5v3A15W
  • USB BC = Battery Charging (USB A / Micro-USB)
  • Devices without any PD capabilities fall back to default (older) standards.

Backward compatibility:

PD 3.1 is mainly designed to operate with the current standard. This implies that all devices with the new specifications will provide backward compatibility. Moreover, you can use older cables with the latest 3.1 PD ports on the lower power levels and vice versa.

Future of PD 3.1 Protocol:

  • The USB-IF intends to remove the 5A/20V cables.
  • The new specification plans to improve the industry to support ERP-capable products.
  • New devices with PD 3.1 protocol specifications will be visually recognizable to let users conveniently purchase 240W chargers and cables.
  • This newest PD protocol measures the characteristics that evaluate the actual maximum current it can provide. However, the system will keep an eye on thermal dissipation.
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