Joanna Stern on the Best 20W USB-C Charging Adapters

Joanna Stern, writing two weeks ago for The Wall Street Journal (News+):

If you loved Apple’s 5-watt charger for its cute design that didn’t block multiple power outlets, get ready to be happy: You can now get four times the power in the same size brick.

The Apple 5-watt took nearly two hours to charge my iPhone 11’s battery to 50%. The 20-watt $20 Aukey Omnia Mini and Anker Nano took just 30 minutes. (Apple’s just released $19 20-watt charger should be just as fast, but I haven’t tested it yet.)

I bought an Anker Nano back in April, and at the time, it was only 18W. Anker recently updated it to support 20W, which, I think, means the updated ones will support Apple’s MagSafe inductive charger at the maximum 15W capacity.

What I don’t understand is why Aukey and Anker’s 20W chargers are so much smaller than Apple’s. They’re not just a little smaller, they’re a lot smaller — and about half the weight of Apple’s. They really are just a wee smidge bigger than Apple’s classic dice-sized 5W charger.

So what’s the deal? Are Anker and Aukey just better at making chargers than Apple? Is Apple’s so much bigger because it’s cheaper to produce that way? Or is Apple’s better in some way that necessitates it being bigger that I don’t understand? Because unless I’m missing something there’s no reason not to buy the 20W chargers from Aukey and Anker instead of Apple’s. Update: The apparent answer is GaN.

Thursday, 29 October 2020