Is Apple’s New Dual USB-C Compact Power Adapter Worth the Price?

Apple’s recently unveiled dual-port USB-C power adapters, which officially went on sale last week, are the company’s first-ever attempt at dual chargers. At first glance, this may look like a typical compact two-port adapter, but the smart power-sharing capability might just be the bread and butter.

While much of WWDC22’s hardware focus has been on the redesigned MacBook Air and the M2 MacBook ProApple has announced two versions of a dual USB-C adapter — something that has been rumored for a lot since April.

Each of the new adapters comes with two USB-C ports, up to 35W of power and the same price tag. The only difference is a variation in design.

I picked up the compact version to review as it will be the new included adapter with the redesigned M2 MacBook Airs when configured with a 10-core GPU and 512GB of storage or more.

Apple’s 20W single-port USB-C adapter (bottom) vs new 35W dual-port (top)

Oddly enough, the first thing that caught my attention was the weight. Slightly larger compared to Apple’s 20W single-port USB-C plug, the compact 35W dual adapter packs some punch, which is understandable given its capabilities in such a small form factor, and given that Apple’s first on a dual charging adapter.

The design is nothing short of what you’d expect from Apple either: glossy white, prone to scratches, and looks sleek right out of the box. But where this product shines is what it can do on the inside.

Smart power distribution

As explained in the Apple Support Document, both versions of the new dual adapter automatically divide the modest 35W power based on the “power requirements” of both connected devices. Since MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads consume more power than Apple Watches and Airpods, a larger share of wattage will be allocated.

For example, if you plug in both a MacBook and an iPhone, the wattage will be split evenly between the two, both going up to 17.5W. The power will also be split equally between two smaller devices (ie an Apple Watch and Airpods). But when pairing a priority device with a smaller device, the power is split into 27.5W/7.5W.

A gem that works well if your device is ‘compatible’.

The new dual USB-C adapters have very limited compatibility with MacBooks. according to his product page, only 2018-2022 MacBook Airs and the outcasted MacBook, are fully compatible. I say “full” because it still charged my 2020 M1 MacBook Pro and AirPods case at the same time, but it was a little slow and didn’t seem smart to delegate power.

The price. Is it worth it?

Both the standard 35W dual USB-C port power adapter and the compact version cost $59; not cheap compared to alternatives on Amazon. Of course, I don’t think the whole price tag is justifiable, but I do think the power to delegate wattage, depending on the device, works well and sets it apart.

It would have been nice if Apple had done more with the standard dual adapter – the larger size could certainly have meant more wattage, while the compact version stayed at 35W and the price was a bit lower.

What do you think of the new dual adapters? Are you planning to pick one up?

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