USB-C has made it easier to plug in and connect things. Although, charging? Charging is still complicated. You get a different amount of power based on the device, port, battery level, and anything else that draws power. It can leave you wishing for a pair of ports that power whatever you plug in, regardless of size.
You used to need a big surge protector, full of charging bricks jostling each other, to get that kind of juice. But these days, gallium nitride-based chargers can deliver serious power from a small space. We’ve scanned the market, tried a few, and have some recommendations for different power needs.
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What we looked for (and how we rated)
It’s not that hard to find a small cube these days that can provide a lot of power, even for a 15- or 16-inch laptop. And there are multi-port chargers that can do that too, though they usually plug directly in, require long and expensive cords, and reduce their power when multiple devices are connected.
We looked for the best mix of size, maximum output, output across all ports, and (to a lesser extent) port variety, such as USB-A or standard A/C plugs. More generally, we were looking for devices that could simultaneously power a laptop and charge a phone, a laptop and, in some cases, a few other occasional gadgets at the same time.
Gallium nitride (GaN) chargers use a newer, more efficient technology that allows for smaller charging circuits while still producing less heat than traditional silicon models. We checked the temperatures of our tested chargers, both by hand and with an infrared thermometer. We also listened closely to the howl of the coil as our chargers were put under heavy load.
We’ll spare you the suspense: none of our tested models felt particularly warm, even close to their peak output for a drained device. And we haven’t noticed any coil whine in chargers, although that’s an issue that can develop over time.
Hyperjuice 245W GaN desktop charger
Buy: $150 from Hyper, B&H, eBay (shipped from Japan)
|Specifications at a glance: Hyperjuice 245 W GaN desktop charger|
|ports||Four USB-C (PD 3.0)|
|Maximum single port output||100 W (two simultaneous)|
|Dimensions||4.13 x 3.93 x 1.28 in (105 x 100 x 32mm)|
|Price (recommended price)||$149|
Hyper’s 245W GaN desktop charger takes the guesswork out of charging. It’s just four USB-C ports, each maxing out at 100W (more than Power Delivery 3.0), sharing a total of 245W. That’s enough for almost any kit with a laptop, phone, and other gear, all of which fits into a low-profile box that’s not much bigger than most battery packs – all for a price that’s reasonable for the category.
If you have multiple devices with dead battery that draw more than 245W across the ports (what a day you’ve had!), you’re getting proportionally less power across these ports. That means you can charge and use a 100W laptop and a 60W laptop and still have room to charge a pro-level tablet and standard-sized phone at or near their maximum charging capacity. Few people use this powerhouse to its full potential.
The front of the Hyperjuice has no branding except at the bottom, just a small power indicator light and four ports labeled with faint 100W markings. They’re a little too dim, so if you’re working in a dark room, the device might need some DIY labels. The shell is a smooth, slightly ribbed plastic, which can slide a bit on a smoother desk texture. The power cord is a simple two-prong C7 cable, so you can swap it for something longer or buy a second one to keep in your bag if you want to take your charging station with you.
Hyper’s charger doesn’t come with any USB-C cables, so you’re on your own to put together a set that works best for you and your gear. Note that Hyper recently issued voluntary recalls for two of its energy products, both due to overheating concerns. We didn’t experience any heat issues over a few weeks of cycling Hyper’s desktop charger on and off our desktop.
- Simple, powerful charging schedule
- No branding on the front or sides, fits most desks
- Standard, easy to replace or duplicate power cord
- No grab points (unless you add them)
- USB-C only (if that matters to you)