Charging sounds like a boring subject and we’re here to tell you that you’re not wrong. Charging is something that we do each day, at least, most of us do. The main reason why charging is such a common occurrence is because most of the devices that we use each day are portable, like our phones, laptops, and tablets. If you’re someone that doesn’t own a tablet or laptop, well, you’ll likely be owning one in the future.
The Rise and Spread of USB-C
Just take a look at Microsoft’s newly released devices, the Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro X and the Surface Laptop 3. Each of these new devices introduces more power that is compacted into a small form factor that you can more easily take anywhere. The more important reason that we’re bringing up these devices is that they are now using USB-C ports with them for charging.
If you haven’t already heard, USB-C is a new port that is becoming the standard across different types of devices, it first started with Android phones using the port. One of the first phones to use the USB-C port is OnePlus 2. Quite a shock at the time, because back then the company, OnePlus was rather small and being able to implement the latest port was quite impressive. From there, the USB-C started to be used by every Android smartphone a few years later, and now the USB-C port has moved onto being used with tablets and laptops.
The USB-C port is so powerful in its usage that Apple, a company known to stick to its proprietary tech such as it’s Lightning port, changed from using their port on their iPad Pro to now using a USB-C port for their iPad. The same is true for their MacBook that started to use the USB-C port back in 2016, and so Apple users don’t have to use MagSafe power brick charger. One of the most convenient parts of USB-C how easily other chargers have implemented the charging tech. Now there are plenty of desktop charging stations that use it, many low and high capacity power banks use it and car chargers use it, too. Wireless chargers are one charging electronic that hasn’t heavily implemented it but there are still out there that do use the USB-C port.
Why USB-C a more Viable Option
It’s not just Apple though, other brands have adopted the USB-C port, such as Microsoft as mentioned before with their Surface line of products. There are many Chromebooks on the market that use the USB-C port because they’re not gaming laptops and therefore using the USB-C port to charge from is a great way for flexible connectivity and charging. Speaking of gaming laptops, there is a gaming laptop that does charge from a USB-C port and that would be the Razer Blade Stealth laptop.
So, just how is the USB-C able to cross the boundaries from smartphones to a laptop? This is due to its usage of Power Delivery. Power Delivery charging is a fast charging method that is used with USB-C and it enables the port to be able to output up to 100W of power. When it comes to fast charging USB-C smartphones with this tech, 18W is the standard. Just so you know just how useful USB-C and Power Delivery are, the iPhone can be charged using a USB-C PD port even though the phone itself still uses a Lightning port. This is done by simply using a Lightning to Type-C charging cable. However, you can only fast charge the iPhone if you have an iPhone X and beyond.
Innovations of USB-C PD
So it’s not just the USB-C port that makes it viable to use for other, larger devices, but it’s also the power. It’s also the powerful capabilities that enable you to use the same 60W charger that you would charge your MacBook or Chromebook to also charge your smartphone and that means you can have a universal charger that can fit into your pocket. No, we’re not kidding, USB-C PD chargers can fit into your pocket and they can still hold a lot of power.
This is done by using what has known Gallium Nitride chips, or what we’re going to be calling GaN. GaN chips can take the place of many parts within a PD charger, and doing so, they can output just as much power as if they had many components within them, but the real twist here is that you’re left with a smaller charger.
A great example of GaN in use is the above Anker PowerPort PD 1 GaN charger. The charger only uses a single USB-C port, but what makes it great is its 30W charging output and how all of its dimensions are about 1 inch. Remember, this isn’t just a smartphone charger, it can be used to charge your laptop and tablet.
One other innovative part of Power Delivery charging is that new chargers are starting to use two USB-C Power Delivery ports and offer Dynamic charging through them. In the past few years when it came to Power Delivery, only a single USB-C port would be used on a charger, but now that PD is more common the use of more than a single PD port on a device is necessary.
What you get now is a Power Delivery charger with two ports, and if you’re charging, say, two laptops with each of the ports you may be getting 30W from each port. 30W of charging power for a laptop is a good amount, but it’s not enough for a max charging speed, so what if you want to charge your laptop faster? Well, you just disconnect other devices that are charging from the USB-C port and now that you have only a single laptop charging, the USB-C PD port will output 60W. This way, you’re able to get more power when you need it, rather than looking for a more powerful charger, you already have one that can dynamically change its power output.