Hands on: If you have a USB-C Mac you need the RavPower GaN charger

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
Apple has moved its entire portable line of Macs to USB-C, abolishing MagSafe. For a while, Apple's chargers have been the best option for powering these machines -- until now.

RAVPower 61W USB-C PD Charger
RAVPower 61W USB-C PD Charger


Apple's chargers are some of the best out there. They are reliable, safe, and guaranteed to charge a Mac as efficiently as possible. In the world of MagSafe chargers, there was no alternative to Apple's own. After the switch to USB-C, however, it has opened up the market to third-parties.

RAVPower 61W USB-C PD Charger
RAVPower 61W USB-C PD Charger


Most chargers we've seen haven't been worth a second glance, but that was before gallium nitride chargers took off.

As we said in our explainer, "Gallium nitride, also referred to as GaN, is a semiconductor that can be used to produce chips for electronics, in a similar manner to silicon". The difference being that with GaN, more power can be transferred at a far higher efficiency than silicon.

Apple's 30W charger (left) VS RAVpower 61W charger (right)
Apple's 30W charger (left) VS RAVpower 61W charger (right)


All of this yields smaller, faster chargers.

That's why we were thrilled to upgrade our Mac's charger with the new 61W RAVPower GaN charger. It is half the size of Apple's own 61W USB-C charger making it ideal for tight places and travel.

Our Mac is designed to be portable, and it charger should be as well.

Apple's 61W charger (left) VS RAVpower 61W charger (right)
Apple's 61W charger (left) VS RAVpower 61W charger (right)


To date, this is the smallest 61W charger available and if you have a MacBook, MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, you should undoubtedly upgrade your charger to this mighty RavPower alternative. At $45, it is also costs more than 30-percent less than Apple's as well.

If you have a 15-inch MacBook Pro, under most loads it will either not deplete the battery, or do so very very slowly. When charging, it is slightly slower than the 87W charger that comes with your Mac -- obviously -- but the compact size and weight makes it better suited for tucking in a pocket.

We are seeing more and more GaN chargers hit the market. Eventually there may be better alternatives, but for now, this is the best MacBook or iPad Pro charger out there. Grab one.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,743member
    They should release a 30 watt one.

    61 watts seems like overkill for my iPad Pro. I haven't yet gotten a USB-C charger for my iPad yet, but I will eventually. As a matter of fact, I don't have a USB-C anything yet.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 30
    gutengelgutengel Posts: 341member
    I think they released this charger on The Verge with a good discount, but I simply don't need such power yet, only got an iPad Pro. Let's see what discount they offer on Cyber Monday!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 30
    mld53amld53a Posts: 12member
    What does this mean?

    ”At $45, it is also costs more than 30-percent less than Apple's as well.”
    gutengelJapheymbenz1962
  • Reply 4 of 30
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 268member, editor
    apple ][ said:
    They should release a 30 watt one.

    61 watts seems like overkill for my iPad Pro. I haven't yet gotten a USB-C charger for my iPad yet, but I will eventually. As a matter of fact, I don't have a USB-C anything yet.
    Anker has a smaller one, RAVPower may as well. The extra power also won't hurt your iPad in any way, so if that is a concern, don't let it scare you.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 30
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 946member
    To the author:

    Size and speed is nice, but safety is of prime consideration.  Remember that fairly famous teardown of the original iPhone charger (from righto.com) that concluded its electrical engineering design was second to none?

    I know you're enthusiastic about this new geegaw, but is there any independent check on its comparative electrical design robustness?
    edited July 10 caladanianStrangeDaysFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 30
    iOS_Guy80iOS_Guy80 Posts: 255member
    The latest iPad Pro 12.9” has an 18 watt charger and with USB-C charges very fast. Cannot wait for iOS 13 to see what new features the USB-C connector will have and new accessories for the connection. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 30
    M68000M68000 Posts: 130member
    This is still somewhat new,  hopefully stable and reliable tech.  There may be another advantage besides smaller size of power packs.  If I read correctly,  gallium nitride devices generate less heat.  If that’s true it may mean less electricity is wasted which may translate into cheaper $$ to charge your devices!  That would be something if true.
    longpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 30
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,743member
    Anker has a smaller one, RAVPower may as well. The extra power also won't hurt your iPad in any way, so if that is a concern, don't let it scare you.
    I wasn't too worried about hurting the iPad, but I was thinking mainly about the price.

    I'd rather not pay extra for something that I don't need or will ever be using. 

    I've seen the Anker one on Amazon. That's also on my list of candidates.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 30
    noraa1138noraa1138 Posts: 15unconfirmed, member
    mld53a said:
    What does this mean?

    ”At $45, it is also costs more than 30-percent less than Apple's as well.”
    Apple's 60W charger costs $69, this one is $45 - i.e. ~30% less than Apple's
    Soliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 30
    noraa1138noraa1138 Posts: 15unconfirmed, member
    I'd love to see an 80W charger for my 15" MBP. As far as safety is concerned, theoretically this charger should be safer than a standard charger (should be the optimal word here). The main reason GaN chargers can be so much smaller than a standard charger is because it produces significantly less heat than a silicon based charger. Heat is one of the main culprits in the cause of chargers failing and shorting out (heat causes the various components to expand, which could lead to a short circuit). Plus, RavPower has a pretty good track record. Time will tell however.
    longpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 30
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 268member, editor
    To the author:

    Size and speed is nice, but safety is of prime consideration.  Remember that fairly famous teardown of the original iPhone charger (from righto.com) that concluded its electrical engineering design was second to none?

    I know you're enthusiastic about this new geegaw, but is there any independent check on its comparative electrical design robustness?
    RAVPower is well-established company that focuses almost entirely on charging technology. This isn't a no-name brand we found in an ally but a highly reputable brand that takes this very seriously. I am always very skeptical of poor chargers but I trust this one with my own gear.
    GG1watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 30
    caladaniancaladanian Posts: 123member
    I hope Apple adapts gallium nitride quickly - for the next iPhone for example: 18 W in the same size as 5 W before but likewise safe. :wink: 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 30
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,034member
    Aren’t third party chargers frowned apon by this forum as being the “sole cause” of Apple battery fires? 🤔

  • Reply 14 of 30
    apple2capple2c Posts: 37member
    noraa1138 said:
    mld53a said:
    What does this mean?

    ”At $45, it is also costs more than 30-percent less than Apple's as well.”
    Apple's 60W charger costs $69, this one is $45 - i.e. ~30% less than Apple's

    Mld, re-read the quote!  Nora is right on target.  As written, it means something quite different.

    If the new device cost $100 vs. Apple's $69, it would cost more than 30% less than Apple's!  

    30% less than $69 = $48.30.  So, in fact, at $45, it costs less than 30% less than Apple's charger!
  • Reply 15 of 30
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,823member
    hentaiboy said:
    Aren’t third party chargers frowned apon by this forum as being the “sole cause” of Apple battery fires? 🤔

    I’ve never heard anyone claim that in such absolute terms, no. But it is true that shoddy chargers have been linked to fires. The tear down of one of them is damning. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 30
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,743member
    hentaiboy said:
    Aren’t third party chargers frowned apon by this forum as being the “sole cause” of Apple battery fires? 🤔

    I’ve never heard anyone claim that in such absolute terms, no. But it is true that shoddy chargers have been linked to fires. The tear down of one of them is damning. 
    Yep, me neither.

    I use plenty of third party accessories, there are some good companies out there.

    What I would not do is buy a "Brand New Genuine Apple Charger" from ebay for $9.99, because I have a brain.
    netmagezoetmbwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 30
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,737member
    hentaiboy said:
    Aren’t third party chargers frowned apon by this forum as being the “sole cause” of Apple battery fires? 🤔

    I’ve never heard anyone claim that in such absolute terms, no. But it is true that shoddy chargers have been linked to fires. The tear down of one of them is damning. 
    I read an article comparing several chargers. Apple's and Samsung's were both well constructed with robust components. The cheap ones were... cheap. internal voltage circuitry in the device can compensate to a certain degree, but only so much. If there are large voltage fluctuations you run the risk of damaging the hardware.

    I hope Apple adapts gallium nitride quickly - for the next iPhone for example: 18 W in the same size as 5 W before but likewise safe. :wink: 
    Apple is still too cheap to even include a 12W charger with a new iPhone; I wouldn't hold my breath on something like a GaN charger.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,517member
    When cycling a 15" MBP between different workloads, having this charger plugged in could be very bad for battery health. If you're going to use the 15" MBP exclusively on battery and only charge with this reduced-wattage charger, you'd be better off than draining/charging/draining/charging/draining, etc. every time you do anything that pushes the power envelope of the system while the charger is plugged in.
    edited July 10 watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 30
    maltzmaltz Posts: 149member
    apple2c said:
    noraa1138 said:
    mld53a said:
    What does this mean?

    ”At $45, it is also costs more than 30-percent less than Apple's as well.”
    Apple's 60W charger costs $69, this one is $45 - i.e. ~30% less than Apple's

    Mld, re-read the quote!  Nora is right on target.  As written, it means something quite different.

    If the new device cost $100 vs. Apple's $69, it would cost more than 30% less than Apple's!  

    30% less than $69 = $48.30.  So, in fact, at $45, it costs less than 30% less than Apple's charger!

    ”At $45, it is also costs more than (30-percent less) than Apple's as well.”
    ”At $45, it is also costs (more than 30-percent) less than Apple's as well.”

    Given the awkwardness and inaccuracy of the first interpretation, it's pretty clear that the second one is the intended meaning, imo. Neither is grammatically incorrect, though, afaik.
    svanstrommld53aFileMakerFellerchiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 30
    mobirdmobird Posts: 317member
    ”At $45, it is also costs more than 30-percent less than Apple's as well.”

    How about -
    The RAVPower is 30% cheaper than Apple's... :*
    ttollertonmld53afastasleepGG1watto_cobra
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