Dash Charge is one of the best fast charging protocols available today.
OnePlus rolled out Dash Charge back in 2016 with the OnePlus 3 and 3T, and it has become one of the best fast charging standards available today. Dash Charge allows the OnePlus 6 to go from zero to 60% charge in just 35 minutes, and while there are other fast charging solutions that let you top up your battery quickly, the advantage with OnePlus’ tech is that it doesn’t overheat your phone.
Dash Charge is licensed from OPPO — OnePlus’ sister company — and is different from the majority of quick charging options available today, most of which are based on Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology. Here’s what you need to know about Dash Charge on the OnePlus 6.
Is it still Dash Charge?
With the OnePlus 6, there has been some contention around Dash Charge’s naming convention. The official listing for the OnePlus 6 makes no mention of Dash Charge, calling the feature Fast Charge instead. However, the bundled wall charger and the USB-C cable still retain the Dash Charge moniker, so we reached out to OnePlus to find out what’s going on.
It looks like the manufacturer’s request for a trademark was rejected by the EU earlier this year, leading to the name change on the website:
Originally designed by OnePlus and submitted to the USPTO and the EUIPO for trademark application in April 2016, "Dash Charge" was first used in conjunction with the release of the OnePlus 3 in June 2016. We used "Dash Charge" for two years until the EU trademark was rejected in March 2018.
This in no way impacts the functionality of the technology itself. Under existing trademark law, registration is not a necessary prerequisite for commercial use, and OnePlus will continue to work towards securing a trademark for our charging technology. We appreciate everyone’s patience in the meantime.
A primer on fast charging
A standard smartphone battery is highly reactive, which is why phone manufacturers have several safeguards built into the charging circuitry. Batteries usually take in more power initially, tapering out as the charge builds. It is on this principle that fast charging works.
Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology delivers a higher voltage to the battery to expedite charging time. Quick Charge 4.0 is fully compliant with the USB-C Power Delivery (PD) spec, and is 20% faster and up to 30% more efficient than Quick Charge 3.0. Qualcomm has introduced a power management algorithm called Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage (INOV) to ensure better temperature regulation, along with safeguards to protect against overheating and overcharging.
Qualcomm uses high voltages, whereas OPPO pushes more amperage.
Qualcomm claims that with its parallel charging technology, you’ll be able to use your phone for five hours with just a five-minute charge. The chip vendor licenses the technology to third-party OEMs, which is how companies like Samsung can offer Adaptive Fast Charging on the likes of the Galaxy S9. In Samsung’s case, the company is still using Quick Charge 2.0, and although there aren’t many phones with Quick Charge 4.0 on the market, most flagships offer Quick Charge 3.0.
Meanwhile, OPPO has its own fast charging solution called VOOC (Voltage Open Loop Multi-step Constant-Current Charging). The fast charging system is used in the F7, R11, R15, and other OPPO phones, and on OnePlus devices as Dash Charge. OPPO uses dedicated circuitry in the charger itself for heat management and dissipation, which is why you can only get Dash Charge speeds with OnePlus-branded wall and car chargers — such as the one that’s included in the OnePlus 6’s box.
The key difference between the two fast charging technologies is that while Qualcomm uses higher voltages to charge batteries, VOOC relies on delivering a higher amperage. For instance, Quick Charge 3.0 goes up to 6.5V at 3A, creating 19.5W, whereas VOOC delivers 5V at 4A to attain 20W. And that has a few advantages.
It’s all cool
One of the main benefits of Dash Charge (and VOOC) is its ability to keep temperatures low while charging. The fast charging option allows you to watch videos or play games while the phone is charging, with no net drop in charging speeds. That isn’t the case with Quick Charge, as the higher voltages invariably lead to the phone reverting to normal speeds to prevent overheating.
With Dash Charge, you can play games or watch videos while charging your phone without worrying about overheating.
Furthermore, even though the OnePlus 6 can charge up to 60% in 35 minutes, it takes slightly over 45 minutes to go from 60% to a full charge. That’s to prevent damage to the battery (and more importantly, you), with the wall charger limiting output at 2A after hitting 75% and going even lower after reaching 85%. The microcontroller unit inside the phone constantly monitors the charge level to determine the desired amperage to be delivered.
The main disadvantage with Dash Charge is that you need to use OnePlus-branded chargers (it sells both a wall and car charger) to get the higher speeds on the OnePlus 6, as OPPO is yet to license the technology to third-party vendors. You can use other chargers to top up the OnePlus 6, and use the Dash Charge wall charger with other devices, but in both cases they will fall back to a lower charging speed.
What do you think of Dash Charge on the OnePlus 6? Let us know in the comments!
Updated in May 2018 with information specific to the OnePlus 6.
May 25, 2018 at 10:02AM