PD 3.0 vs QC 3.0 – How Do I Choose?
If you’re shopping for a new charger, you probably see a lot of advertising about PD 3.0 and QC 3.0. These technologies have been integrated into a number of products, including various portable chargers. At first glance, they might look the same. After all, both technologies are designed to charge your battery quickly. It’s just two versions of the same technology, right? Well, yes… and no. In a broad sense, you’d be correct. Both PD 3.0 and QC 3.0 will charge your battery faster than traditional USB. At the same time, there are important differences between the two. Depending on your phone, one or the other can be a significantly better choice. In fact, many phones support either PD 3.0 or QC 3.0. So, how do I choose?
PD(short for “power delivery”) 3.0 is a fast charging technology that was developed by the USB Implementers Forum. Because it’s an official part of USB technology, it can be supported by any manufacturer. No manufacturer has to pay extra licensing fees to incorporate PD 3.0 technology into their product. All they need to do is build the circuitry and the battery to the PD 3.0 specifications. The technology is capable of delivering up to 100 watts of power, far more than any smartphone requires, which can also be used to power laptops, like Apple’s new MacBooks. In addition to 100-watt power, there are four other wattage levels: 7.5, 15, 27, and 45 watts are all supported. This makes the PD standard exceptionally versatile. Manufacturers can build a wide variety of devices and still get top-tier performance.
On the other hand, QC (short for “quick charge”)3.0 is similar to PD 3.0 in that it offers better charging performance than standard USB. Also like PD 3.0, both the charger and the device must be compatible with QC 3.0 for it to work. If your phone supports QC 3.0 but your charger doesn’t, you won’t gain any benefit. Similarly, if you use an older phone with a QC 3.0 charger, you’ll only charge at standard USB rates. QC is a proprietary technology developed by Qualcomm. The reason this is significant is that it requires a license for use. If a manufacturer isn’t willing to pay Qualcomm’s licensing fee, they won’t be able to integrate QC 3.0 technology. As a result, many devices that support PD charging don’t support QC charging. QC 3.0 was designed with efficiency as well as speed, thanks to Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage (INOV) technology, which is also proprietary. INOV works by intelligently detecting the exact amount of voltage required by your device. By detecting the precise voltage your device needs, QC 3.0 provides two significant benefits. First off, it maximizes your charging performance. For instance, if your device requires an unusual voltage like 19 volts, the charger will deliver it. You won’t be left flat by a 12 or 18 volt charge. Secondly, the technology avoids any wastage. You won’t be feeding 20 volts of power to a 19-volt device. Not only does avoiding waste, it’s also good for your device for excess energy is shed as heat, which can cause damage. By avoiding this, QC 3.0 prevents overheating.
So, which is faster, PD 3.0 or QC 3.0? In a nutshell, it depends on your device. Most newer Android phones support PD charging, and more than half also support QC 3.0. Keep in mind, though, that this will depend on your phone’s manufacturer. If you’re using a cheaper phone like an LG Stylo, you’re still limited to Micro USB charging. This won’t allow for either PD 3.0 or QC 3.0.
That said, for Android devices that support both standards, QC 3.0 is generally faster. The reason for this is INOV technology. PD charging won’t always have an exact wattage or voltage that matches your device’s needs. If it doesn’t, it will default to the next lowest power level. With QC 3.0’s INOV technology, you’ll always get the maximum voltage. Again, the exact difference will depend on your device. On some phones, the difference is not noticeable, while it can be significant on other devices, in other words, it depends on your device. For example, older Apple devices like the iPhone 7 don’t support any kind of fast charging. But with the iPhone 8 and newer, you get full PD compatibility. Be aware that you won’t get any benefit whatsoever from a QC 3.0 charger. Apple phones simply aren’t compatible with the technology. Same with Google Pixel phones, which also use PD 3.0 only.
While looking at various electronic devices, you may have seen the term “fast charging”. What does this have to do with PD 3.0 or QC 3.0? In a word, nothing. It’s simply a measurement of how fast a battery can charge. The main advantage of fast charging is that you can charge very quickly when the battery is very low. Generally, you’ll see something along the lines of “one hour of use from 10 minutes of charging”. The reason you won’t see a rating for a full charge is that the speed drops as the battery fills. To maximize charge speed over the course of a full charge, you need PD 3.0 or QC 3.0 technology.
As you can see, PD 3.0 and QC 3.0 are similar but remain distinct. They’re fundamentally different technologies. Which one is better? It really depends on your device. In theory, QC 3.0 is best for smartphones. But only certain Android phones currently support the technology. On the other hand, most modern smartphones support PD charging. These include all Apple phones starting with the iPhone 8. PD charging is also ideal for laptops and other devices that require higher wattages. With support for up to 100 watts, you can even charge while you’re using your device. Keep in mind, though, that not all PD chargers are created equal. Many don’t support 100 watts, which means they won’t work for all laptops. Again, check both your laptop’s specs and your charger’s in order to get the best results.