Review: Anker's 30W 'Atom' USB-C Charger is Tiny, Affordable, and Perfect for Charging iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    With a new material called Gallium nitride (GaN), semiconductor components have been able to be shrunk down, leading to smaller than ever charging accessories. Several accessory makers have been taking advantage of GaN technology for new products, including Anker.

    Anker recently debuted the PowerPort Atom PD 1, a 30W USB-C charger that's much smaller than the USB-C power adapters offered by Apple and, in fact, not much larger than an iPhone charger.

    [​IMG]

    The Atom measures in at 1.4 inches wide and 1.5 inches tall, which is about 40 percent smaller than the similar 29/30W USB-C chargers that ship with the MacBook and MacBook Air.

    Design wise, there's not a whole lot to say about the Atom. It's a small white charger that's almost cube shaped, with a shiny face and a single USB-C port that has "PD" written above it to denote its status as a USB-C PD power adapter. At the side, there's an Anker logo.

    [​IMG]

    The plug at the back is not collapsible, likely due to its small size, which is one minor negative. It doesn't fold down, so the prongs are always going to be sticking out.

    The small size of the Atom is convenient because when you plug it in to an outlet or a power strip, it doesn't take up unnecessary space. In my case, I have a power strip in a cable organizing box, and power adapter size can be a real concern in this kind of situation.

    [​IMG]

    A smaller power adapter doesn't take up more than one outlet, and it can be placed in either the top or bottom slots. It's also not in the way with a power strip, and it's more versatile than Apple's own power adapters.

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    As a 30W USB-C power adapter, the Atom is ideal for charging the USB-C enabled iPad Pro models, the MacBook, and the MacBook Air. It's not powerful enough for the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models, but for all smaller devices, it's perfect.

    [​IMG]
    Atom next to iPad Pro USB-C power adapter​

    It's also ideal for use with the iPhone for fast charging purposes. If you pair it with a Lightning to USB-C cable, it will charge an iPhone to 50 percent in a half an hour. You can also fast charge older iPad Pro models that use Lightning instead of USB-C with a Lightning to USB-C cable and Anker's Atom.

    [​IMG]
    Atom next to 29W USB-C MacBook power adapter​

    On the 2018 USB-C iPad Pro models, you're going to see faster charging with a USB-C to USB-C cable than you do with Apple's standard 18W power adapter.

    With the standard 18W USB-C power adapter that comes with the new iPad Pro models, my 11-inch iPad Pro charged to 45 percent in an hour. With Anker's 30W power adapter, it charged to 66 percent during the same time period. Testing was done both times charging from 1 percent in airplane mode.

    Anker's USB-C to Lightning Cables

    Apple recently began allowing third-party companies to develop Apple-certified "Made for iPhone" USB-C to Lightning cables, and Anker is set to launch its first USB-C to Lightning options in late February.

    I was able to test out the cables, which will be available in two varieties -- the Powerline II and the Powerline+. Anker's cables will come in three and six-foot lengths.

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    Powerline+ is the premium version of the cable, covered in a durable and attractive braided nylon material. The version I have on hand is red, and it's a nice looking cable. Pricing for this cable hasn't yet been announced, but the standard Powerline II will be priced at $15.99.

    I haven't been able to use it for a long period of time to test durability, but Anker's cables are known for being well made. It certainly feels sturdy, and the USB-C and Lightning connectors at the ends are protected with a thick rubber material and an aluminum cap that prevents flexing at vulnerable points.

    [​IMG]
    PowerLine+ Lightning to USB-C cable​

    It's usually the ends of cables where fraying happens, so the protection Anker has added should keep the Powerline+ from breaking with frequent use.

    The Powerline II cable is similar to the Powerline+, but it doesn't have the nylon covering. It's made from the same material as any other standard Apple cable.

    [​IMG]
    PowerLine II Lightning to USB-C cable​

    The connector ends are protected with a rubber material, but there's no aluminum end for added durability. Still, the thick rubber material that extends past the joint where the cable attaches to the connector is more protection than a standard Apple USB-C to Lightning cable offers, and it too should hold up well.

    Pricing isn't available on Anker's USB-C to Lightning cables as of yet, but they're likely to be priced competitively. Apple's 1m (3ft) USB-C to Lightning cable is priced at $19.99.

    Bottom Line

    If you need a USB-C power adapter for the purpose of fast charging an iPhone or as a secondary charger for an iPad Pro, MacBook, or MacBook Air, the Atom is an ideal choice. It's small, compact, and affordable, priced $15 less than Apple's 30W Power Adapter.

    Most USB-C PD chargers from established companies on Amazon are priced in the neighborhood of $25 to $30 anyway, so the Atom is competitively priced and shelling out a few extra dollars for portability and convenience seems well worth it.

    Anker's upcoming USB-C to Lightning cables offer the durability that Anker customers have come to expect from Anker cables, and will be a solid choice for those who need a USB-C to Lightning cable.

    How to Buy

    You can purchase the PowerPort Atom PD 1 from Amazon for $30, and it is expected to be back in stock later today or tomorrow. The first of Anker's USB-C to Lightning cables will be launching in February, and the Powerline II is available for pre-order on Anker's site for $15.99.

    Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

    Article Link: Review: Anker's 30W 'Atom' USB-C Charger is Tiny, Affordable, and Perfect for Charging iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks
     
  2. jazz1 macrumors 68000

    jazz1

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    #2
    Is fast charging an iPhone with this PowerPort Atom PD 1bad for the battery? Device looks good. I'm tempted.
     
  3. TheAppleFairy, Feb 1, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019

    TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

    TheAppleFairy

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    #3
    This is what I have been waiting for. I am ordering the 30W charger, but I want a red braid USB-C to lightning cable and red USB-C to USB-C. I am not seeing those on Ankers site yet. I only see the white USB-C to lightning. Did I miss it?

    EDIT: I see the PowerLine+ is the braided one...Price hasn't been announce so I guess no pre-orders yet.
     
  4. JGIGS macrumors 65816

    JGIGS

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    #4
    Still kind of expensive for a charger when you also need to buy the cable.
     
  5. TheAppleFairy, Feb 1, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019

    TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

    TheAppleFairy

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    #5

    A little bit, but it's going to be my go bag mac/iphone charger.
     
  6. jclo Editor

    jclo

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    #6
    Yeah, no pre-orders for that one just yet.
     
  7. B-Mc-C macrumors newbie

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    Irvine, California
    #7
    Considering the prongs are not retractable, it doesn’t seem to save much space over the Apple chargers.
     
  8. ignatius345 macrumors 68000

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    #8
    Yikes, good catch. Always-out prongs are just awful in your bag.
     
  9. bflowers macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    The iPhone controls how fast it charges. It will throttle charging as it gets closer to full. From what I've heard listening to tech podcasts, you might shave a week or two off the battery life by fast charging and leaving it charge overnight, but that is about it.

    An example I've heard was this: Imagine you and all your friends are going to cram into a car. The first 4 people can all jump in at the same time. The next few can get in pretty easy too. By the time you shove numbers 10, 11, and 12 in, it gets kind of hard. Your batteries are like that. When empty, they charge pretty quick. That last 5-10% you really have to cram in. That's why some suggestions are to run your battery down to 25%, then charge up to about 75%. Keeps it in the "fairly easy" range.
     
  10. ignatius345 macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Thanks -- clearest breakdown I've read yet on why this is so!
     
  11. Mizouse macrumors regular

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    #11
    If I got this or the Apple 30w charger and a lightning to USBC cable, would I be able to fast charge my 10.5” iPad Pro?

    Wonder how much faster it would charge vs the stock 12w charger.
     
  12. RevTEG macrumors 6502a

    RevTEG

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    #12
    I finally got one of these ordered. The other two times I tried they sold out fast. I messaged Anker and was told they would be back in stock soon. Placed my order backorder on Amazon the last week of January. Looks like my arrival time has been moved up to February 6. I do wish the prongs folded. Honestly, I have 4 of the Apple 30w bricks with Apple extensions on them. I didn't really need this new Anker one. It's just small and I wanted to try it out.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 1, 2019 ---
    I don't have actual numbers for you but I can tell you this. I can tell a real difference between Apples new 18w brick and their 30w brick on my 3rd gen 12.9. Enough difference that I passed the 18w to the backup box.
     
  13. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

    TheAppleFairy

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    #13
    When they first announced it it was listed as a 27W charger. I put it on my amazon wishlist too and it was sold out very fast. I think they pull it or something. They must have changed something.
     
  14. RevTEG macrumors 6502a

    RevTEG

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    #14
    I've been using this 10ft USB-C to USB-C cable I've been using. I'm not connected to the company at all. Just adding what I'm using.

    https://www.amazon.com/USB-C-Cable-...49071877&sr=1-15&keywords=10+foot+usb-c+cable
    --- Post Merged, Feb 1, 2019 ---
    I saw the 27w one also. I wasn't interested in since I already had 30w Apple bricks. I'm really only interested in the Anker Atom because of the size. However, as a person thats used to using Apple bricks with 3 prong Apple extensions on them, I'm not sure I like using the 2 prongs. They don't seem to stay in the outlet as well. Small issue though.
     
  15. UltimaKilo macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Here’s hoping Apple catches up and starts making this standard in the 2018 iPhones.
     
  16. RevTEG macrumors 6502a

    RevTEG

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    #16
    I bet Apple doesn't make anything standard as long as people are willing to pay more for upgrades.
     
  17. iSayuSay macrumors 68040

    iSayuSay

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    #17
    Lightning port really is the annoying problem in this situation, the Macbook and iPad Pro has been using the same cable, but this one particular iPhone requires me to bring another extra cable, just for the iPhone! Am I in the same ecosystem or what? LOL
     
  18. kugino macrumors 65816

    kugino

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    #18
    i have one of these chargers...was able to order it before it sold out. itʻs basically as advertised. fairly small and works well charging my ipad pro, iphone, and macbook...nothing much else to add.

    oh, i do wish it was a little larger with the ability to fold down the prongs...
     
  19. Shin-Ra macrumors newbie

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    Jan 3, 2008
    #19
    I think these US power supplies would be better designed half as deep but twice as wide so they're more flush with the mains supply plate. It’d blend better visually and there’d be less leverage on the pins which becomes more of an issue once a USB-C cable’s plugged in and hanging off or tugged during use.
     
  20. playaproved macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I’m waiting on the 4 port version to drop. I travel with two iPhones, an iPad Pro and Apple Watch. It will be perfect to carry in my travel bag and not have to have multiple power bricks flopping around.
     
  21. WilliamG macrumors G3

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    #21
    If this had foldable prongs I’d be all over it. I’d even take a slightly larger body to have foldable prongs.
     
  22. Vjosullivan macrumors 6502a

    Vjosullivan

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    #22
    Two USB ports would make this really useful. Having just one is annoying when you want to charge a watch and phone overnight.
     
  23. az431 macrumors 6502a

    az431

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    #23
    Did you actually read the article? The space savings are when the plug is being used, not when stored. If it's plugged in, whether the plug retracts is not relevant.

     
  24. FairlyKors macrumors member

    FairlyKors

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    #24
    I can’t imagine it not straining the batter more than a slow (normal charge) but I’d like to know more as well.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 2, 2019 ---
    So cut your battery’s capacity in half and keep yourself in a state of perpetual “battery anxiety”? Okay. Not a bad trade. If that’s what my battery wants, that’s whatbill give it (having lives through the battery “throttling” and replacing batteries and going crazy...).
    --- Post Merged, Feb 2, 2019 ---
    I’ve noticed a difference. It’s hard to quantify, but even not paying close attention I can tell it move a lot quicker.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 2, 2019 ---

    I got tired of waiting for the Atom (was it called) and spent $5 less on the same thing—but with a USB A port too, that’s slightly bigger. ‍♂️
     
  25. ksec, Feb 2, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019

    ksec macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Unlikely ( Love to be wrong though ). GaN, while cost is now finally to an acceptable level, is still many times more expensive than Silicon. So it will likely continue to be an additional accessories.

    To all those questions about charging, you can expect roughly half the time to charge on a fast charger. Depending on ( old / newer ) models, On iPhone it was 18W Max, on iPad I remember it was close to 30W.

    And expect the battery cycle to reduce from anywhere between 5 to 10% overtime.

    ( All rough number on top of my head )

    You will be the judge whether it is worth it. ( Which is one reason I guess why Apple never include fast charging out of the box )
     

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