Despite what Verizon would have you think, many smartphone owners' worst nightmares are not second-rate cell networks, but dead batteries. With external battery packs often forgotten at home and wall plugs few and far between, the difference between a tiny computer and a brick in your pocket on your next vacation or business trip really comes down to charging speed.
To improve your odds, Qualcomm this week introduced an updated version of its Quick Charge technology, which is included in many Android smartphones and tablets. The new Quick Charge 4+ offers a 15 percent reduction in charging time compared to Quick Charge 4, which was announced last fall.
On the hardware side, the speed boost is mostly thanks to a second integrated power management circuit that can divide the charge current, a bit like flooding a ship with water through multiple holes. Quick Charge 4+ also offers more intelligent thermal balancing, which means that current is moved to the battery via the coolest routes possible to prevent inefficiencies caused by an overheated battery.
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Flooding a battery with current as quickly as possible sounds a bit dangerous, so Qualcomm has also boosted safety features with Quick Charge 4+. The system now monitors the temperature of both the phone's case as well as the USB Type-C connector, to help ensure that no part of the device will overheat.
Unfortunately, Americans don't have access to any devices that support Quick Charge 4+ yet. The first phone to do so is the Nubia Z17, a high-end handset that features a whopping 8GB of RAM and a 3200mAh battery that can recharge to 50 percent in 25 minutes, according to The Verge. It's only for sale in China.
For now, the best way to find out when Quick Charge 4+ will be supported on a mobile device you're considering buying is to monitor Qualcomm's lengthy but regularly updated device compatibility list.
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