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Tech review: Keep your gadgets charged at home — or away

Dallas Morning News logo Dallas Morning News 6/29/2022 Jim Rossman, The Dallas Morning News
The UGreen Nexode 200 W GaN PD Fast Charger has six USB ports for wired charging. © UGreen/UGreen/TNS The UGreen Nexode 200 W GaN PD Fast Charger has six USB ports for wired charging.

Keeping our gadgets charged is a daily chore that should be pretty easy.

Many of us have jettisoned our landlines in favor of cellphones that need charging. I used to wear a Seiko watch that ran for years on a simple watch battery, but now my Apple watch needs a nightly charge.

I also carry around AirPods that need charging once or twice a week.

Today I’m looking at two gadgets designed to make your charging life easier, both at home and on the road.

UGreen Nexode 200W GaN PD Fast Charger

This heavy-duty USB charger is designed to live on your desktop, although it is small enough to toss in a bag for trips.

The UGreen Nexode 200-watt GaN PD Fast Charger ($199.99, Amazon.com) can provide up to 200 watts of power through its six USB ports. That’s enough to charge a laptop, tablet, phone and several other gadgets at the same time.

The Nexode charger uses GaN technology. GaN stands for Gallium Nitride, which helps the charger conduct power at higher voltages and transfer that power more efficiently.

GaN chargers are smaller and charge faster and produce less heat than older-style chargers.

All this advanced technology comes at a higher price — this charger costs $199.99 from Amazon.

Besides the GaN benefits, the Nexode charger can take the place of all your other USB device chargers.

Keeping one of these on your desk at work or wherever you charge your devices at home is perfect for keeping everything charged up quickly.

Speaking of fast charging, this charger can fully charge a 16-inch MacBook Pro in just 1.5 hours.

If you are charging an iPhone, it’s three times faster than the original iPhone charger.

When I say this is a 200-watt charger, that means the total power delivered to the connected gadgets is 200 watts. If you connect a 100-watt laptop to one USB-C port, you have 100 watts left to charge devices through the remaining ports.

The individual ports are numbered, and they each provide different amounts of power to your gadgets.

USB-C ports one and two can provide up to 100 watts each.

USB-C ports three and four can provide up to 65 watts each.

USB-A ports can provide up to 22.5 watts each.

You can use all the ports at once, but just remember that you have a 200-watt limit.

On the charger’s page on Amazon, there is a graphic showing all the possible connections and how much power you’ll get through each port.

The charger ships with a 6-foot-long power cable.

This is a great charging solution for a large family. Most families have a central location for charging their devices, and this charger can handle almost everything you can throw at it.

It also covered all my charging needs on my busy desk.

It’s expensive, but it is very good at its job.

Pros: Small, plenty of ports, 200 watts of power, fast charging.

Cons: Expensive.

Bottom line: Lots of ports, lots of power. It has what you need.

Lion Eclipse 3-in-1 Wireless and USB charger

This is a rechargeable power station, but instead of just USB ports to charge your stuff, the Eclipse has three wireless charging pads on top to power your Qi-compatible phone, ear buds and watch.

Because of the wireless charging spots, the Lion Eclipse, ($229, lionenergy.com) is a convenient charger to take with you on the road so you don’t have to carry cables.

This battery has a rugged exterior made of plastic and rubber. It resembles an Otterbox case.

The wireless charging spots on top offer 10-watt charging for a phone, five-watt charging for earbuds or AirPods and two watts for a watch.

On the side, there are three USB ports to charge your other devices.

There is one USB-C that can provide up to 85 watts and two USB-A ports that can charge at 5 volts/2.4 amps.

The ports are hidden behind a rubber door, which keeps out moisture and dirt when the ports are not in use.

There are four LED lights to show the charge level. To turn on the power, hold down the power button for about 5 seconds. A green LED will glow when the power is on.

The Eclipse has a 99.9 watt-hour battery, which is just under the Transportation Security Administration’s 100-watt-hour limit for carrying it on a commercial airplane.

The lithium NCA battery is rated for more than 1,000 charge cycles, and it charges with the included 60-watt charger in just 1.5 hours.

The Eclipse measures 8.5 by 3.5 by 1.3 inches, and it weighs two pounds.

This is an expensive battery.

There are certainly battery packs of this size available for less, but they don’t have three wireless charging spots on the top.

According to Lion, the Eclipse can charge a phone 10 times or your AirPods 45 times or a watch 78 times.

Is the Eclipse worth the money?

The three wireless chargers are very nice. The fact it puts out 85 watts through the USB-C means I can charge my MacBook Pro as well. This battery can take the place of a lot of chargers.

Add in the fact the internal battery charges in just 90 minutes, ships with a USB-C charging cable and a 60-watt wall charger, and I can see where the cost is making sense.

It can also charge your devices while it’s plugged into the wall, which is called pass-through charging.

If I traveled a lot, I’d put this one on the list to compare.

Pros: Big capacity, can take it on a plane, charges six devices at once.

Cons: Expensive.

Bottom line: If the price doesn’t scare you, the performance will impress you.

©2022 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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