How it works: Dash Charge fast charging on the OnePlus 3


Battery life is still considered one of the weaker spots of modern smartphones. As we shared in a recent battery life study of ours, the average smartphone does not last any longer between charges compared to counterparts from a couple of years ago, and there's no way we can call this progress. On a positive note, smartphones now charge much faster – about 65% faster on average – and that is greatly thanks to the implementation of fast-charging technologies. For instance, Qualcomm Quick Charge is supported on recent phones by Samsung, LG, and HTC, as well as on recent Moto models.

Now there's this new Dash Charge – a fast charging solution based on OPPO's VOOC – and it is available to owners of the OnePlus 3. Promising "a day's power in half an hour", the technology needs just 30 minutes to replenish two thirds of the smartphone's battery capacity, which is pretty remarkable. But what kind of sorcery is behind Dash Charge and is it any better than other fast-charging implementations? Allow us to shed some light on the matter.

What makes fast charging fast?


Pretty much every modern smartphone uses a lithium ion battery. As a chemical, lithium is both light and highly reactive, thus allowing battery cells to weigh little and store a large amount of energy relative to their volume. However, the element is also very picky, which is why lithium-based batteries need to be treated with care. Mishandling one may not only reduce is lifespan, but also result in a fiery, smokey, smelly explosion. To address these risks, manufacturers implement special circuitry inside their phones, chargers, and batteries to regulate the transfer of power. 

Of course, even though slower charging is safer, nobody likes to wait forever for their phone to charge. This is where fast charging comes into play. On a fundamental level, all fast charging technologies work the same way – by cramming as much power into the battery as it can safely handle. Lithium batteries can be fed more power when they're empty or below a certain charge threshold, and every fast charging methodology takes advantage of this property. Once this threshold is reached, the flow of power is reduced to a safe level. This explains why phones boasting fast charging in any form charge faster from zero up to a certain battery percentage, then slow down the process to prevent damage to the battery. The OnePlus 3, in particular, takes only 30 minutes to charge from empty to 63%, but then it needs another 44 minutes to reach full capacity.

How is Dash Charge special?


From a broader perspective, Dash Charge on the OnePlus 3 is not all that different. Just like other quick-charging solutions, it starts by delivering a massive amount of power to the battery, gradually reducing the rate of charge as the cell is filled up. Where it sets itself apart, however, is in the way power is being sent from the charger to the phone. Quick Charge – the aforementioned technology by Qualcomm, used in recent Samsung, LG, HTC and Moto phones – applies higher voltage to increase the flow of power. Dash Charge, on the other hand, uses greater current. Both solutions get the job done, but they come with a few notable strengths and weaknesses. 


Qualcomm Quick Charge scores points for its greater compatibility. Connect any QC-compatible phone to any QC-compatible charger and boom: you have quick charging. The USB cable that you connect the two with does not matter much, as long as it has the appropriate connectors at its ends. Dash Charge, however, demands you to use both the charger and the cable provided with the OnePlus 3. This is done with safety in mind – an ordinary cable may not be able to handle all the power safely. 

At first, this might not make any sense. Both Dash Charge and Quick Charge carry up to 15-20-ish watts of power, so why does the latter need a special cable? Well, it is because in an electric circuit, greater current requires thicker wires. Greater voltage – not as much. This is why Qualcomm Quick Charge will work with an ordinary USB cable, while Dash Charge requires the thicker cable bundled with the OnePlus 3. If an ordinary cable is used, the phone will recharge at a slower rate.


But why was Dash Charge designed like this despite this obvious inconvenience? Because this keeps the OnePlus 3 cooler while charging. Phones with Qualcomm Quick Charge support have a special circuit in them that reduces the high voltage coming out of the charger to something that the battery can handle. This generates heat inside the phone – heat that might slow down the phone's CPU and GPU and that could slow down the charging process. On top of that, exposing a battery to excess heat is a surefire way of reducing its lifespan. Dash Charge, on the other hand, has most of the voltage- and current-regulating circuitry built inside the charger, so there's very little inside the OnePlus 3 that can produce heat while charging. As a result, there's a lower chance of CPU and GPU throttling if you choose to play a game while your OnePlus 3 is charging. Also, the rate of charging is less likely to be affected.

So, is Dash Charge the better fast-charging technology?


Well, it all depends on how you look at it. Dash Charge has its inconveniences, but thanks to it, the OnePlus 3 charges remarkably fast. Right now, it is one of the fastest-charging smartphones we've ever put to the test, standing firmly in the #4 spot on the chart, above hundreds of other handsets. 15 minutes of charging take the OP3 from zero to 19%. In half an hour, it reaches 63%. After an hour of charging, its battery gauge is already pointing at 96%. Full capacity is reached in just 1 hour and 14 minutes. To put these figures into perspective, the OP3 charges faster than the Galaxy S7, the LG G5, the HTC 10, the iPhone 6s, or the Sony Xperia Z5, and all of these phones have batteries of similar or smaller capacity.



But as we already mentioned, Dash Charge has its caveats. It is important to know that the only way of charging the OnePlus 3 rapidly is by using an official Dash Charge wall/car charger and an official Dash Charge USB cable. The two cost $33 bundled, and the only place you can buy them is the OnePlus store. In comparison, there more than a dozen chargers compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge, and most USB cables would get your phone refilled. 

Where do you stand in this clash between charging speed and convenience? Let us know in the comments!

Related phones

3
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3000 mAh

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33 Comments

1. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Anyone want to buy me a OP3

2. TrackPhoneUser

Posts: 256; Member since: Oct 21, 2015

Might lose its spot when the Moto Zs comes out

6. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

TurboPower works like Quick Charge.

16. mafiaprinc3

Posts: 585; Member since: May 07, 2012

Would love me a dual SIM dual active Moto z or moto z force

3. AgentZero

Posts: 314; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

dash charging is better , the only problem with quick charge is that the heat reduces battery life over time , OEMs have to fix that

9. DefinitiveKid

Posts: 264; Member since: May 15, 2013

Is it only the heat, or does any fast charging process damage the battery over time? I've been reluctant to use such technologies because of that. If Dash doesn't damage batteries long term, that's a win/win situation.

21. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Charging in general lowers the capacity of all batteries over time, no matter what kind of charging method you use so just go with a quick charge solution as it is more practical.

29. vincelongman

Posts: 5691; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Actually since dash charging is still 5V like normal charging, so the phone doesn't get hot. But since its 4A, the charger unit gets hot Basically "regular" fast charging, phone gets warm (hot if being used), charger is the same temp as normal charging Dash charging/VOOC charging, phone is the same temp as normal charging, charger gets warm

4. bossman

Posts: 264; Member since: Jan 27, 2016

Will dash charge a.k.a vooc charge work with any phone or just the OP3 and Oppo phones?

5. Nick_T

Posts: 184; Member since: May 27, 2011

If you connect another phone to the Dash charger, it just charges normally, at about 5V, 1A. You will not get any faster charging than that.

7. plasteek

Posts: 265; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

How my v10 charge in 65 min? LG is the fastest!

22. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

The Zenfone 2 is the fastest, sorry bruh lol.

8. Unordinary unregistered

"Dash Charge".... Really?? Lmao. The branding these companies come up with is so silly/cringe worthy sometimes.

11. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Retina is completely different.

15. Unordinary unregistered

Except at the time of Retina Displays, there were few, if any, phone screens to compete with the iPhone. Go ride the herd somewhere else lol.. Oh wait, this is PA. Sheeple breeding grounds.

28. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Is that the excuse to use it for centuries??

12. jngo102

Posts: 50; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

I wholeheartedly agree. Like 3D Touch, as another example.

23. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Force touch sounds much better.

10. Ezio2710

Posts: 548; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

There is no red colour oneplus e model

13. MichiGo

Posts: 173; Member since: Sep 09, 2014

What the hell is Fonearena?

14. jphiller87

Posts: 92; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

i6s and z5 fail LOL

17. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

It wouldn't be such a fail if they make a fair test using the best compatible Fast Charger for each device... For the Z5 would be Qualcomm Quick Charge... but instead they use the regular charger included with no extraordinary properties.

24. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

What buccob said and the iPhone actually charged slightly faster when using an iPad charger.

18. Punchy506

Posts: 129; Member since: Jan 10, 2016

How it works: Dash charge- Only with a $33 proprietary charger and cable. Quickcharge- with any $8 certified charger and cable, and the cable can be replaced with any of the ones you have cluttering up your junk drawer.

19. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

No, this is actually how it works: When you buy a OnePlus 3, you get a dash charge combo bundle with the phone...the only reason you'd be needing it for in the first place.

20. Flame_Hunter

Posts: 28; Member since: Apr 12, 2016

This is bs because my Z5 Premium can charge from 0 to 100% within 115 minutes, so how come the smaller sibling of the Z5 Premium with a smaller battery capacity take 156 minutes to charge. Again haters.

26. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

maybe they include the Quickcharger in the box where you live, at PA, they only have a normal charger with 1500mAh/2A, so it's understandable

25. p51d007

Posts: 704; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

I've never used a fast charger, never will. I prefer to SLOW charge. Better on the cells inside the battery. Plus, there have been times when I've seen the thermal cutoffs (thermal fuse and thermistors) fail, and when you over saturate LiOn cells, BOOM!

32. IVGotten

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 30, 2016

I don't mind carrying the charger, I'm a very heavy use, so no matter the phone I have to carry the charger anyway. At least with my 1+3 it spends less time on the charger, and I get to spend more time enjoying the phone

33. KobaCabana

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 02, 2016

hi, did you have to order the $33 bundle or does it come stock?

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