Thursday, May 30, 2024
Mobile news

This is the fastest charger I’ve ever used. Here’s why you need it

Ugreen 300W GaN fast charger with four USB-C and one USB-A port.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

I make a living out of testing gadgets and spend a significant portion of my time bouncing between things to charge — and their respective chargers. This is why I find fast charging not only irresistible, but also indispensable for my sanity.

In recent years, I have found solace in fast chargers with multiple output ports, especially because they’re easy to travel with. And I am constantly and eagerly upgrading to faster, more efficient chargers with more ports. In this pursuit, I now arrive at the Ugreen Nexode 300-watt fast charger with five USB ports.

This is the fastest charger I have used to date, and it has replaces multiple chargers on my desk. It could be the ultimate charger for most people looking to find a permanent fast-charging solution for their desks — but only if they can stomach a few caveats.

Why I’m obsessed with Ugreen’s 300W charger

Ugreen 300W GaN fast charger with four USB-C and one USB-A port.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

The Ugreen Nexode 300W charger works on GaN technology, which has been popularized as the next-gen charging technology. GaN, short for gallium nitride, is a semiconductor preferred over silicon for its better electric and thermal properties. GaN allows brands to make chargers that are not only faster and more efficient, but also compact.

While GaN is now widely popular, it is rare to see brands go as far as offering 300-watt output, as Ugreen does in this case. With support for up to five devices, it can be the solo charging solution that drives an entire assemblage of devices, not only on your desk, but also in your room — and accomplish that at consistently blazing fast charging speeds.

Most importantly, the Ugreen charger relies on open charging standards, including USB-Power Delivery (USB PD) 3.1, Programmable Power Supply (PPS), and Qualcomm Quick Charge 5.0. These open standards allow you to fast-charge a practically incalculable number of devices — including laptops, smartphones, gaming handhelds, smartwatches, headphones, audio accessories, wireless keyboards, power banks, etc. — at their highest supported charging speeds.

While Ugreen advertises 300W of power supply, the output is dynamically doled out based on the requirements of the device that is plugged in. We’ll dissect the brand’s claim later, but first, here’s how the charger feels in terms of durability.

Its solid design leaves you untroubled

Ugreen 300W GaN fast charger with four USB-C and one USB-A port on top of cane bamboo furniture.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

This Ugreen 300W tabletop charger shares the same DNA in terms of strength as other Ugreen products we have tested in the past. The charger’s outer shell carries the company’s characteristic gunmetal gray color with “300W” boldly etched on the side. Like other Ugreen devices, this shell is made from a very solid and durable form of plastic — so solid that it feels like metal.

Rubber cushions at the bottom ensure the charger doesn’t slip around due to slack or tugging from the cables or as you move around while using those devices as you charge them.

The front face houses five USB ports (four USB-C and one USB-A), which is the prime merit of this charger. Other than the ports themselves, there is subtle branding on the top of the panel, along with serialization of the ports (probably to easily convey speed limits and intended utilities for each of them).

Ugreen 300W GaN fast charger with four USB-C and one USB-A port on table top.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

The rear face features information about power ratings on each of the ports in a tiny, nonintrusive typeface. At the bottom, there is a three-pin port to connect a cable that delivers power from an AC outlet to the charging brick.

The compatible, roughly 5-foot-long (1.5m long) power cable is included in the box. The cable is thick and feels resistant to scrubbing or scraping. At the end that is closer to the charger, the cable also features a ferrite bead to prevent any interference with other electrical devices. Ugreen also includes two ties on the cable that help keep your setup tidy.

Besides the power cable, you get a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box. This is a braided cable that measures nearly 5 feet and also comes with a tie for better control. It supports charging speeds of up to 240W via the USB PD 3.1 charging protocol, which means it can be used to fast-charge laptops, smartphones (including your new iPhone 15 Pro Max), handheld gaming devices, cameras, and practically any device with a USB-C port.

What charging speeds do you really get?

Ugreen 300W GaN fast charger with four USB-C and one USB-A port with 3-pin power cable.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

While the name may misguide you into believing this charger delivers up to 300W from one port, the power is actually distributed across multiple ports. The maximum output is capped at 140W and limited to only the topmost USB-C port. The second and third (from top) USB-C ports offer a maximum power of 100W each, while the fourth is limited to 45W. Lastly, the USB-A port delivers up to 22.5W.

Irrespective of the number of devices you plug in, the topmost port will continue charging at 140W, thus being ideal for charging powerful machines like the 2021 or 2022 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. However, the other ports will cut back on charging speeds as you plug in more devices. Since the ports can be engaged in numerous permutations, Ugreen shares the following chart to clarify the charging speeds across each port:

Ugreen 300W GaN fast charger configurations.

The chart above makes it clearer that despite 300 watts are being shared across the ports, plenty is available on each. The top three USB-C ports provide sufficient power to charge three laptops, even when used together. If you add a fourth load, you can still fast-charge a 16-inch MacBook Pro, two 13-inch MacBook Pro units, and a mobile device.

I’m running out of devices to plug in

Ugreen 300W GaN fast charger with four USB-C and one USB-A port.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

With five USB-C ports at its disposal, the Ugreen 300W charger is a clear candidate for replacing multiple charging bricks. While you would usually imagine it replacing charging bricks with single ports, it replaced two multi-port GaN chargers that I had been using since last year.

Ugreen also projects this charger as a shared charging solution in office spaces because it can fast-charge three laptops, along with at least one phone and one more device. The 300W charger is the perfect solution for in-person meetings or shared workspaces.

Even if you prefer to work alone (like I do), this charger can bulk up multiple powerful machines at once. I juggle between multiple devices, especially when I’m testing new laptops, and this is where I find myself loving this charger’s usefulness.

Ugreen 300W GaN fast charger with four USB-C and one USB-A port.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

Throughout my testing, I used the Ugreen charger to power a 13-inch MacBook Pro, with a power input of 61W, and a Lenovo Legion gaming laptop, which supports up to 140W power input through USB-C. Along with these laptops, one of the USB-C ports charged my iPad Pro, another port charged the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and the USB-A port attended to a Samsung wireless charger I use to beef up wireless accessories such as earphones.

Since these devices are plugged into ports that practically deliver more power than they allow, they all charge at the highest supported speeds. More importantly, since GaN has better thermal stability — meaning its performance does not throttle with rising temperature — you can expect more consistent and unstilted charging speeds.

This charger meets all requirements I have from a desktop charger while eliminating separate chargers for separate devices. For me, the dedicated 140W delivery over one of the ports has been a boon, keeping that power-hungry gaming laptop juiced up.

Since most of the above-mentioned devices do not need to be plugged in constantly, I have developed (a potentially unhealthy, yet enjoyable) obsession of frantically looking for devices that charge over USB-C around my house (as I work from home) and keeping them charged. With power aplenty, I often find myself in a comical predicament where I have nothing to charge.

Great for traveling, but not daily commute

Ugreen 300W GaN fast charger with four USB-C and one USB-A port in hand held against pink and yellow flowers.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

This charger can also prove to be life-changing if you travel for work and carry multiple devices with you. When I travel, my minimum tech carry-ons include my MacBook Pro, at least two phones, an iPad Pro, a smartwatch, a power bank, and sometimes a camera.

To keep all of these charged and ready at my disposal, I must carry at least two charging bricks with multiple ports. By incorporating five ports into one, Ugreen’s 300W charger remedies a major pain point — finding enough power outlets to charge everything at once, especially on the go.

However, I face a dilemma about carrying the 300W brick when commuting locally or going on shorter trips. The primary (and perhaps the only) issue I face with this charger is in terms of its size. According to Ugreen, the charger alone weighs 1.85 pounds, and you can add another hundred grams or so for the cable that comes along with it.

Hauling an extra kilo of weight, especially in a backpack, can compel you to battle between having the fastest charging speeds and being generous to your shoulders. Of course, the device’s ease takes priority if I have to spend more than 12 hours (the usual time after which the Galaxy S23 Ultra starts giving me battery anxiety) outside my home, but for shorter ventures outside the home, the Ugreen 300 charger stays chummy with other articles on my work desk.

Concerns and caveats

Ugreen 300W GaN fast charger with four USB-C and one USB-A port.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

My second peeve with this superfast charger is that there is no indicator or light to suggest it is on. This is a minor inconvenience compared to the weight, but a simple light could make a difference if you have a jungle of cables behind your desk and something goes wrong. While it’s a rare scenario, I have already encountered it in my month of using the 300W charger, and it makes me wish it had a light.

Lastly, one of the decisive factors on whether someone would buy this charger or not has to do with its price. Ugreen has listed the charger for$270 on Amazon and its official website, but you can get an early-bird discount of $70, slashing the price down to $200. This offer, however, only stands for a limited indefinite period.

Even at $200, the Ugreen charger may make prospective buyers feel the pinch. But if you have multiple power-hungry devices around the house or on your desk that need constant tending, this is, hands down, the best charger to buy.

As for me, I’m really enjoying the fact that it declutters my messy work setup (ever so slightly), and I would never go back to a less powerful or less versatile charger.

Editors’ Recommendations


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.