Need a great charger for $100? I may have found the perfect one


Mobile phone companies have divided views on the topic of including a charger in the box. For consumers, choosing sides in this debate has been relatively effortless. While the act has univocally annoyed buyers — and swelled Apple’s revenue by over $6 billion — it has also led to a boom in multi-port chargers that make for a superior choice over multiple chargers.

As an act of rebellion, I have turned to using multi-port bricks that can also charge my MacBook along with most of the phones I use or review, and GaN chargers have served me well over time.

Voltme Revo 140 GaN charger in black color alongside a green Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and a while flower pot against a white background.
Tushar Mehta/Digital Trends

If you haven’t heard the term “GaN charger,” it’s probably a good chance to familiarize yourself. GaN chargers are faster and more compact than regular chargers sold inside the box of — or additionally for — your phone or laptop. Today, we look at the Voltme Revo 140-watt GaN charger, which can top up any device with USB charging at a superfast rate without taking a beating.

Here are some reasons why the Voltme Revo 140W GaN charger can be an asset in your busy life enveloped in gadgets.

Takes up less space

Voltme Revo 140 GaN charger beside Apple's 61W MacBook Pro charger in front of pink fake flowers against a white background.
Voltme Revo 140 GaN charger vs. Apple’s 61W MacBook Pro charger Tushar Mehta/Digital Trends

The primary benefit of the Voltme Revo 140W GaN charger is its compact design. It weighs about 290 grams (roughly 10 ounces) and is about the same size as Apple’s 67W or 96W power adapters that ship with 14-inch MacBook Pro models. Compared to Apple’s 140W charger for the 2022 16-inch MacBook Pro, the Voltme GaN charger is 13 percent smaller (in volume). While that is a slight difference in size, the Voltme charger emerges triumphant for its ability to fast-charge three devices simultaneously.

The use of GaN allows Voltme to make the Revo 140W charger compact. In recent years, GaN chargers have become increasingly popular for their compact size, better thermal and power efficiency, and broad compatibility.

GaN (or gallium nitride) is a semiconductor material used as a substitute for silicon, traditionally used to manufacture electronic components. GaN transistors occupy much less space than silicon, allowing the chargers to be smaller, and carry electric current at a higher speed, making them better at conducting electricity. Most importantly, GaN has higher thermal stability than silicon, which allows chargers with the technology to stay cooler even despite long spans of usage. These advantages apply to every GaN charger (with appropriate quality control) — and it’s the same tech powering the excellent Anker 747 Charger.

The Voltme Revo 140W charger is nothing less than a delight.

Besides being easier to lug around in a backpack — and replacing three separate charging bricks — the compact form factor also allows the Voltme charger to be easily slotted in dingey nooks with tight spaces, making it a favorable gadget for anyone keeping the sockets on the power strips fully consumed. For people like me who use five or more plug points to keep a simple instance of Chrome browser running on their desktops, the Voltme Revo 140W charger is nothing less than a delight.

The charger comes with different plug options, including North American, EU, U.K., and Japan-style pins — suiting users from most regions throughout the world. The plug, however, is not detachable. You will have to buy either a converter or another adapter from Voltme if you travel to other countries frequently; the former option is more economical.

Charges everything incredibly fast

Voltme Revo 140 GaN charger review with all three USB ports plugged in and white power strip in the background.
Tushar Mehta/Digital Trends

Another obvious reason to recommend the Voltme charger is its ability to fast-charge a significantly wide range of devices — even when all ports are engaged. The charger features two USB Type-C and one Type-A port with a total power output of 140 watts.

Each of the three ports has different power ratings and can be used in different orientations, summarized in the table below:

USB Type-C (top) USB Type-C (bottom) USB Type-A
65W 65W
100W 22.5W
65W 45W 22.5W

To charge a MacBook Pro 16-inch at the highest speed — at 140W, you will need to keep the remaining two ports empty. But that is no longer a requisite if you have a 14-inch or 13-inch MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air since the power output is still higher than what these devices support.

Even when all the ports are active, the power being supplied is enough to fast-charge multiple devices simultaneously. For instance, the top port can charge a MacBook Pro (or any other laptop with USB-C charging), a Samsung Galaxy S23, and an iPad or Android tablet all at once. You may even swap out the Samsung flagship with a MacBook Air (2019 or later) and still charge it at the highest speed it supports.

It is worth adding that the charger will not fast-charge smartphones from brands such as OnePlus, Oppo, or Vivo, which use proprietary fast-charging protocols but limit support for the standard, more widely accepted ones. You may, however, be able to fast-charge a Xiaomi smartphone because the company has better support for universal fast-charging standards.

Talking about charging standards, the Voltme Revo 140W charger supports the latest version of USB Power Delivery (USB-PD), i.e., version 3.1, along with Programmable Power Supply (PPS) and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 5.0 (while also being backward compatible with older versions). USB-PD is designed to ensure an optimal power supply while minimizing the wastage of electricity. PPS makes the process efficient by fine-tuning the current and voltage output values, thereby limiting heating and energy wastage to the minimum.

Even when all the ports are active, the power being supplied is enough to fast-charge multiple devices simultaneously.

USB-PD is a widely accepted standard and is almost supported on every modern smartphone and premium laptop. On the other hand, PPS has remained exclusive to certain laptops and only flagship Samsung phones despite being an open standard.

Besides phones from brands including Samsung, Motorola, Google, and Sony (and some Chinese brands like Xiaomi), the Voltme can also charge iPhones and iPads at their highest supported charging speeds. Besides phones and laptops, the Voltme charger is suitable for handheld gaming consoles like the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck or wearables and other accessories powered by USB.

The company further says the charger comes with surge protection and safeguards against over-voltage, short-circuiting, and overheating.

To disengage a port, you do not need to take the cable out of the port. Just unplug the device from the other end, and the Voltme charger will return to supply the highest possible speeds to the remaining ports.

How it charges all my devices

Voltme Revo 140 GaN charger plugged into a power strip and kept alongside a green Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra on a white background.
Tushar Mehta/Digital Trends

I have been using the Voltme Revo 140W GaN charger for over a month to charge my 13-inch MacBook Pro, along with a catalog of mobile phones and tablets that I use frequently. Since my MacBook supports a maximum of 61W, I can utilize the other ports to fast-charge other devices.

Unlike Apple’s 140W charger for the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 61W charger I got in the box does not use GaN technology and, thus, tends to heat up significantly, especially since I keep it plugged in most of the time. In comparison, the Voltme GaN charger barely feels warm while charging the MacBook and supplying power to two more devices. Incidentally, lower heat generation also allows the adapter to charge the 13-inch MacBook Pro to 100% capacity faster. Compared to the 61W charger, which takes over two hours to fully restock the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s battery, the Voltme adapter charges it in approximately 90 minutes.

Among other devices I have tested with the Voltme GaN charger, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the most noteworthy (no Samsung-derived puns here!). The Galaxy S23 Ultra displays “Super Fast Charging 2.0” while charging with the Voltme charging, which attests to the PPS technology being utilized. The Ultra charges nearly 50% in 30 minutes and takes about an hour to go from 15% to full charge.

Meanwhile, the ZTE Nubia RedMagic 7S Pro — my favorite gaming phone since last year — takes full advantage of its 65W PPS charging capabilities and completes charging fully in about 45 minutes.

The 2021 iPad Pro (M1, 11-inch) — another product I use frequently — takes about two hours to replenish the large 7,500mAh battery with the Voltme charger. Ideally, Apple recommends using an official 30W fast charger to achieve the highest possible speeds. But, many testers have achieved marginally quicker speeds (up to 36W) using third-party chargers. Unlike Android, alas, it is tedious to measure the exact time taken to charge an iOS device, which means I will have to leave you with roughly estimated values.

Voltme Revo 140 GaN charger plugged into a power strip against a white background.
Tushar Mehta/Digital Trends

Lastly, I use the USB-A port to attach to charge my Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. For these devices, the charging times vary greatly, but I have not encountered any problems.

Among potential problems one can encounter is — as mentioned above — the lack of support for proprietary charging standards. In terms of smartphones, that means you will be limited to snail-paced charging on OnePlus phones. If you own one, you will have no option but to carry the official charger in addition to the Voltme charger. A similar issue prevails with Dell XPS and Alienware laptops, which use the company’s exclusive charging standard.

The other limitation is that in order to achieve the highest supported charging speeds for a device — for instance, 140W for a 16-inch MacBook Pro, you will need a cable that supports that power output. While using the official cable supplied with the device is recommended, double-check the cable’s ratings in case you need to buy a new one.

The perfect gadget for all your devices

Voltme Revo 140 GaN charger in black color with a green Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra against a white background.
Tushar Mehta/Digital Trends

In conclusion, the Voltme Revo 140W charger is more than just one of the numerous GaN chargers you can find on the market. Where it excels is its high power output and support for multiple devices, all of which can be fast-charged simultaneously.

At $100, the Voltme Revo GaN charger offers a healthy mix of performance and economy, especially since the Apple official 140W charger comes in . For similar pricing, you can get or spend an additional $60 for a that offer six USB ports and a desk-friendly design.

In all, the Voltme Revo 140W GaN strikes a balance between high speed and value for money while freeing you from the trouble of hauling individual charger bricks when traveling or sitting at your desk.

Editors’ Recommendations


Source link