In order to be productive on the go, modern workers need to bring along a number of electronic gadgets. A laptop, smartphone, smartwatch, camera, webcam, tablet, set of Bluetooth earbuds, Nintendo Switch, and who knows what more could be part of your daily carry depending on your work habits.
One of the most frustrating aspects of having all these electronics on the move is the potential increase in the number of charges you need to bring, as well as the decrease in the number of available AC outlets.
An innovative new answer to this problem is a desk charger from UGREEN, a Chinese electronics company, which can charge up to six devices simultaneously.
UGREEN has labeled the charger as one that can supply up to 200W of power to your devices at once (100W maximum for a single device), with four USB-C Power Delivery connections ready to handle any technology that needs a bit extra wattage to remain functional.
But first, I'd like to go over the charger's construction and components.
Really not too cumbersome to work with.
The charger, presently available for about US$199.99, is well-made, with a plastic exterior body that doesn't feel cheap and an aesthetic that will probably be able to fit into any work setting. It's also pretty heavy, so it's better suited to sitting permanently atop your desk rather than being carried around on a daily basis (although you can do that if you want, as well).
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The measurements of 3.97 by 3.97 by 1.27 inches may not seem impressive, but when you consider the amount of power it can generate, you'll likely be pleased. Most current chargers have become more compact without sacrificing power because to the incorporation of gallium nitride (GaN) as a semiconductor.
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Also included are a regular wall plug-in power wire and a meter-long braided USB-C cable that can handle 100W of charging power.
Very effective, but also very perplexing.
The charger seems more than capable of meeting the power requirements of the device's primary user base, but figuring out the power output of the six ports (4x USB-C and 2x USB-A) would need consulting a complicated chart provided by UGREEN.
If you look at the schematics, you'll see that the charger's output power varies with the number of devices plugged in and the ports being used. If you simply plug in two devices into the first two USB-C ports, you can get up to 100W of Power Delivery fast charging. Plugging in a third item into the third port reduces the total charging output to 65W across all three ports.
The maximum outputs for each port vary, so you'll need to keep that in mind if you're concerned about whether or not your gadgets are getting enough juice. The first two USB-C ports on the charger should be used for the devices that draw the most power (or that urgently need topped off), with the remainder of the ports being used in a lateral fashion for the less critical devices in your setup.
Charge output is capped at 65W for the first USB-C port, 45W for the second and third USB-C ports, 20W for the fourth USB-C port, and 5V4A (20W) for the remaining two USB-A ports while all six ports are in use.
Naturally, it was not worth the effort to try to recall these specifications, so I relied instead on the accompanying diagrams (listed below).
It has the ability to charge any device.
In spite of its confusing specifications, I found the charger to be more than capable of powering a wide variety of commonplace gadgets. Tested with a laptop with a dedicated graphics card, a 2021 Macbook Air, two iPhones, a Microsoft Surface Pro 7, and an Apple Watch, I found that each device received enough power to go from a low to a full charge in a reasonable amount of time.
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Also, I connected my gaming laptop and my Macbook Air to the first two USB-C ports, which UGREEN claims can send 100W each (both adding up to 200W total), and discovered, via battery reporting software, that this was also pretty true, with the charge rates hovering around the 100W mark when receiving power at the 20-percent charge mark.
Because of its high wattage, the 200W charger may replace bulky charging bricks and adapters, allowing customers to charge all of their portable electronics at once.
To keep my gaming laptop, iPhone, AirPods, and smart watch powered during the day, I simply needed to bring the charger and the accompanying USB cables instead of a bulky power brick and a wall converter.
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Amazingly, the 100W charging from the first two USB-C ports was more than enough to keep my power-hungry gaming laptop topped off all day long as I worked on various things including word processing, viewing movies, and browsing the web.
Dedicated graphics cards, such as an RTX3050, require additional power, so users who buy this charger for their own gaming laptops should keep that in mind (or anything similar or more demanding). In this case, it is recommended that you only use the power bricks that came with the device.
Last but not least, I was impressed that, even charging multiple devices simultaneously, the charger rarely got hot. Once again, this is because of gallium nitride's usefulness as an on-board semiconductor.
There is one thing I would have liked to have improved upon by UGREEN in their charger design, and that is the absence of any LED indicators to show whether or not the charger is functioning properly or if there are any issues. Until then, you'll have to check each device separately to see if power is being supplied.
The charger's design isn't perfect, but given that it's one of the very first of its sort, I can't complain too much. Nonetheless, I anticipate that subsequent models will rapidly improve in both design and cost.
The 200W GaN charger by UGREEN retails for a hefty US$199.99 on the company's official website at the time of this writing, so many will have to give some thought before making the investment.
A high price tag is to be expected given the novelty of such a powerful charger, but I anticipate that its functionality will (for the time being) appeal solely to people who really need something to replace their tangled mass of charging bricks and wall chargers.