Proprietary charging cables became a thing of the past on phones with the introduction of mini USB well over a decade ago (if we ignore iPhones). However, in the laptop world this has not been the case, even today the power ports vary all the time, often the same company will use different plugs dependant on the model. This is partly due to the different power requirements of some laptops, for example, an Acer Predator Helios 500 needs significantly more power than an Acer Swift 5.
Replacing a laptop power adaptor with an original can be expensive and sometimes impossible if it is an old laptop. I have found universal replacements to be questionable at best.
However, with the introduction of USB-C and the Power Delivery, there has been a shift towards universal power adaptors for devices that don’t require too much power.
Nearly all mid-range ultraportables or low powered laptops now use a USB-C port for their charging; this includes the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Dell XPS, and the new iPad Pro.
With the boom in universal power adaptors, we have seen an increase in third-party chargers, two of which include the Inateck 3 Port 45W USB C Charger and the Inateck 60W Power Delivery Charger with dual USB-C ports.
Along with multiple phones, I have an HP Envy X2 and a Dell Latitude that both use USB-C for power, so I have been putting these two chargers to the test for the past week or so.
45W USB C Charger
The first charger I was sent from Inateck has 3 ports with two of them being USB-A that can deliver up to 15W of power and the other a 30W USB-C port.
This charger comes with UK, Euro, and US pin adaptors, so it is perfect for frequent travellers, there is also a long 2M USB-C – USB-C cable giving you plenty of reach for charging the device.
While this is a 45W charger, it can only deliver 30W to the USB-C port, then 15W split over the other two other ports. This is important because my Dell Latitude requires a 45W charger to work correctly. It will still draw power using the 30W, but when you boot up the device, you get a warning that it is not enough and it may still use some of the battery for the remaining requirement.
With the HP Envy, I have no such issue, and it was happy to take the charge immediately. This is likely due to its ultra-low power Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset.
The inclusion of both USB-A and USB-C make this perfect for travelling, and it has become my go-to charger for when I catch the train to London. It allows me to charge my phone and laptop at the same time. I usually use the lower powered HP for trips like this, but it will still keep my Dell going throughout the day.
Priced at £26.99 it is comparable to other brands. However, the swappable plug ends make it stand out from the pack.
60W Dual USB-C Charger
With only 2 ports you are more restricted to what you can charge here, but in general, this is good enough as it will allow you to charge your laptop and phone at the same time.
Total output power reaches 60W (15W + 45W) when two ports are used simultaneously. If you use the second port by itself the charge power goes up to 60W for that port. It is quite a bit larger than the previous charger, this is due to the power delivery capabilities, so it is not quite as bag friendly for day trips. It still has swappable plug ends, and it is perfect for holidays, allowing you to leave the original bulky charger at home.
The charger identifies optimal charging current and switches to safe charging speed. It’s compatible with various devices, with PD protocol supported.
Using this charger, my Dell I had no issues with the power requirements by from the laptop and the charger lives in my suitcase for when I go on longer trips and need to take a more powerful laptop with me.
It is priced at £49.99, but you can get 10% off at the moment. It is not exactly cheap, however it is a lot cheaper than the single port 61W Apple USB charger which costs £69