At CES 2022, Anker announced an addition to its Nano II USB-C charger range with this more powerful version featuring two USB-C ports capable of delivering up to 100W, plus an old-fashioned USB-A charging port. Now the $79 Anker Nano II 100W (aka the Anker 736 Charger) is on sale on Amazon (via MacRumors), although it is already sold out.
The Nano II chargers use the company’s second-generation version of gallium nitride-based components that replace the older charger’s silicon components to pump out more power into a smaller package with less heat. According to Anker, the Nano II 100W is 34 percent smaller than Apple’s 96W charger, with similar capabilities plus two extra ports that help you reduce the number of items you need to keep all your devices powered up. Another plus is that the fast charging is compatible with a wide range of devices, with USB Power Delivery 3.0 PPS (Programmable Power Standard) and Quick Charge 3.0 support.
The caveat with this charger is that the USB-C ports can provide output power of up to 100W, but that’s only true if you’ve got one device connected to one of them. Many notebooks and other devices require significantly less power to charge or even charge quickly, but it’s something to consider if you have a larger MacBook Pro. Using both USB-C ports at the same time reduces the maximum output to 60W from the first slot and 40W from the second – Anker has a chart to break it down further.
Anker isn’t the only company using gallium nitride (GaN) for smaller, more powerful chargers — Apple’s foundation stone with the technology is the 140W power supply included with the 16-inch MacBook Pro — but it’s been at the forefront of showing off its first ever since. GaN power adapter in 2018.
In an interview with The edge EiC Nilay Patel on the Decoder podcast last fall, Anchor CEO Steven Yang explained why his company was so quick to introduce GaN and replicate products based on it.
Gallium nitride is a key technology that came on the market about three years ago, but you are already talking about the third generation. Is gallium nitride a technology in which you need to invest technical resources? Is there a pipeline for suppliers or a pipeline for materials science? How do you manage that investment?
Anker was actually the first to introduce gallium nitride for charging consumer electronics. The way we were able to do that was by partnering with the groundbreaking chipset manufacturers who developed the gallium nitride charging chip. We were almost their alpha customer. So when the chip was first developed, there were a lot of hoops to jump through to make it into a product. This requires not only materials science knowledge, but also application knowledge, system architecture knowledge and knowledge about heat management. It’s almost a system effort. We build up knowledge in this and link it together with the gallium nitride chips and the manufacturer to incorporate them into products.
You’ll see the GaN2 this year in the 65-watt and 30-watt format. We have been working on this together with Power Innovations for almost a year. GaN2 is the brand new generation of chips that we launched in the middle of this year. The GaN2’s 65 watts was a fraction of that of the competition.
The reason we were able to do that is based on the latest generation GaN2 from Power Innovations. We’ve been the only partner developing that for almost a year – you won’t see similar products from other brands for at least three to six months because PI and Anker are only working together.
So Anker and PI have had an exclusive relationship to develop the next-generation GaN chipset, and then that window opens three to six months later so that other people can buy that chipset.
Tyler Mallery, Anker’s head of media relations, confirmed that The edge that the charger has indeed launched and that Anker is waiting for more inventory. The 736 charger is so short it’s not even on Anker’s website yet, but if this is the charger you’ve been waiting for, keep an eye on that Amazon page to see when it returns.