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The interest in low energy, low data-rate communication is growing steadily, e.g., for use in sensor networks, body area networks, localization. The high energy efficiency required for these applications can only be reached by carefully balancing transceiver complexity, power consumption and performance. The quadrature analog correlation (QAC) receiver is an impulse radio ultra-wide-band (IR-UWB) receiver that pursues this optimal tradeoff. In this paper, the QAC receiver is studied into detail. This low complexity receiver benefits from a smartly chosen correlation template and simplified, but powerful channel compensation. Its feasibility is shown and implementation specifications are derived. Secondly, the receiver is compared against other ultra-low-power pulsed UWB receivers. The QAC receiver demonstrates an excellent energy efficiency in realistic channels both in the presence of Gaussian noise and in interference dominated environments.