USB C Charger Reviews

01Jan23

I’ve had a few things that charge from USB-C for a while: my Planet Gemini, Nintendo Switch, Oculus Quest, SteamDeck, GL-MT1300 travel router, and a bunch of Raspberry Pi 4s; but the arrival of my Lenovo X13 has had me kitting myself out with a bunch of new chargers. So here follows some reviews (with affiliate links if you also want to buy the same)…

Power banks

Anker 737

I’ll start with the Anker 737, as I’ve been using its metering and OLED display to measure the output of the other chargers.

It’s a BIG beast of a thing, properly deserving to be called a ‘power brick’, weighing in at 2/3kg, but that gets a LOT of battery with 24000mAh (pretty near the limit for many airlines), and it can output 100W to a single port and 140W across its three ports (2 x USB C PD, 1 x USB A IQ), making it quite capable of charging two laptops and a phone or tablet all at once.

Pros:

  • Huge capacity
  • Can push out a lot of power (which might avoid having to carry multiple power banks)
  • OLED display is great to show what’s going on
  • Comes with a nice little carry bag that has room for a wall charger and a bunch of cables

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Expensive (I paid £99.99, though the RRP is £40 more)
  • Only comes with one cable, though that is a 100W USB C-C

Anker 525

Also known as the PowerCore Essential 20K PD this is a 20000mAh brick with a single USB C PD input/output and a USB A IQ output.

I bought this for a work demo I was doing at Mobile World Congress (MWC) to power a Raspberry Pi 4, which it does perfectly; but when I tried to power my GL-MT1300 travel router at the same time, it turns out that it doesn’t have sufficient oomf, which is why I now have two of these.

Pros:

  • Relatively inexpensive (RRP is £69.99, but I’ve generally paid £40-45)
  • Comes with carry bag and a pair of cables

Cons:

  • Only 20W output, so it’s only suitable for phones and tablets

Wall Chargers

All of these use Galium Nitride (GaN) power components for reduced size and weight compared to traditional silicon based switched mode power supplies. To verify their output I measured their charging watts into the 737 power bank, and in pretty much every case they showed around 5W down on the advertised output, though it was a similar story with the traditional 65W Lenovo power brick that came with my X13.

Ziwodiv 65W

I’ll start with the charger that’s impressed me most. The Ziwodiv 65W is tiny, cheap, and yet kicks out (close to) the advertised power (I measured 60W when charging the 737).

The only thing I don’t like about it is the captive UK plug, with no options for easy travel (which it would otherwise be great for given the diminutive size and weight).

Pros:

  • Inexpensive (RRP for the charger is £22.99, but using a voucher I got the charger and a 2m USB C-C cable for £21.99)
  • Tiny

Cons:

  • Fixed UK plug

Mu Folding Type-C 20W

Even tinier, but not quite so powerful, is the Mu Folding Type-C 20W PD Fast Charger. With it’s innovative folding UK plug it’s small enough to be pocketable.

It’s just a shame that they don’t do a multi plug version of this for travel (like they did with earlier versions).

Pros:

  • Impossibly small for a charger with UK plug when folded
  • Reasonably priced at £29 given the quality and design

Cons:

  • Only 20W, so only suitable for phones/tablets (or in a pinch charging up a power bank overnight)
  • UK plug only

Syncwire PD 67W

I thought this was wonderfully small (until I got the Ziwodiv), and it’s multi country slide on plugs are really neat. It has a US style two blade fold out plug built in, and when folded up those blades can be used to attach UK and EU plugs. That’s won it a place in my US travel bag.

With nothing else connected the C1 output pushed 62W into the 737. It’s presently priced at £42.99, which is a bit steep compared to the £32.29 I paid for mine. It’s probably worth keeping an eye on with a price tracker such as CamelCamelCamel.

Pros:

  • Small
  • Flip out US plug, and comes with slide on adaptors for UK and EU sockets
  • Comes with a solid and long USB C-C cable rated at 100W

Cons:

  • Flip out plug arrangement might not work with tight sockets (or might foul adjacent sockets)
  • Only 2 USB C outputs, so won’t cover a full range of travel devices.

Anker 543

The Anker 543 is a 65W charger with two USB C PD outputs (one rated at 45W and the other at 20W) and two USB A IQ outputs. That’s enough for everything I usually have with me when travelling (laptop, iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch), which has earned it a place in my UK/EU travel bag.

Although intended to be a desktop charger it’s small and light, making it also good for travel. I also like that it’s got a figure of 8 (aka C8) socket, which means I can use it with a EU plug C7 cable that has a UK adaptor. The 45W USB C output put 41W into the 737. RRP is £44.99, and Amazon presently have then at £32.99.

Pros:

  • 2 x USB C and 2 x USB A means not needing to carry other chargers
  • C8 input allows for a small and flexible power cable, which is generally better than a ‘wall wart’ design
  • Supplied with an adhesive strip for desk mounting

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with any cables or carry pouch

Mackertop USB Type C 65W GaN Laptop Charger

The Mackertop has the form factor of a traditional laptop power brick, with a captive braided USB C cable, and a ‘Mickey Mouse’ C6 socket for its mains cable.

I’d have preferred a C8 socket, as the cables don’t carry the extra size and weight of an (unnecessary) earth cable. As part of my US travel kit it’s now paired up with a C7-C6 adaptor. It supplied 61W when charging the 737. These are presently £29.97 on Amazon (though if I recall correctly they were cheaper before the run up to Christmas).

Pros:

  • Captive cable can’t be misplaced
  • Smaller and lighter than a traditional laptop power brick
  • USB A output

Cons:

  • A C8 socket would be better than the C6 ‘Mickey Mouse’ socket, allowing for smaller/lighter mains cable

Samsung 45W UK Travel Adaptor

The Samsung Travel Adaptor is the same form factor as the charger supplied with the Oculus Quest, keeping travel size down by having a slide out earth pin. Mine presently sits in the bag with the 737 so I know I have something to charge it with.

‘Travel’ here would seem to refer to its small size and weight rather than any plug flexibility. These are presently priced at £39.99, but watch out for sales etc. as I bought mine for a much more reasonable £18.63.

Pros:

  • Small and light

Cons:

  • Pricy at RRP
  • UK only plug
  • Single USB C output

Conclusion

There’s no perfect adaptor, which is why I’ve ended up with a bunch of different ones, in different bags for different scenarios. That said, I’d be buying a bunch of Ziwodiv adaptors if they had the same flip out plug arrangement as the Syncwire.



2 Responses to “USB C Charger Reviews”

  1. 1 Jeremy

    Hi Chris, Jeremy here. How often do you find yourself using the Anker 737?

    • I’ve only had the 737 a few days, and barely been out of the house since then; but I expect it will be great for long flights and train journeys.


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