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Finsix says a very high-frequency power technology helps make the Dart-C so small. To test that with a worst-case scenario, I plugged the Dart-C into a MacBook Pro 15, set the screen to its maximum brightness, and then cranked up a game on the GPU to consume even more power. The vast majority of them simply don’t support all the needed rails nor put out enough power to charge higher-demand devices such as phones or tablets properly. Finsix says the higher cost is offset by the fact that Apple's power brick is bigger and heavier by comparison and doesn’t actually come with a USB-C cable. It's quite evident when the performance slows down, and simply plugging the cord into an outlet or unplugging the Dart-C from the laptop returns the Spectre's performance to normal. SRC, therefore no timing issues arise and the Dart-C and Pixel are able to negotiate and charge without any issues. Initially I thought the charger had died. USB Power Delivery keeps changing the rules The good news is that my issues with the Spectre and Pixel didn't surface anywhere else. But when the Dart-C was tethered to a power outlet, the laptop charged up as normal. PC chargers are generally cheaper than that, but not always by much. The question is—is it worth it. As a replacement for a lost OEM charger, or even a secondary unit, the answer is yes. Most USB Type C PD laptops we’ve tested will run just fine on undersized power bricks. The Pixel phone, Pixel XL, and Pixel C tablet do not implement try. Running the Dart-C at 75 watts (which is above its stated 65 watt rating) for an hour, I measured parts of the brick hitting 159 degrees Fahrenheit. To get a “better” charger, you basically want one that supports more varied voltage rails with a minimum of 3 amps. USB Power Delivery, or USB-PD, has been a TMZ-worthy messy affair, with ever-shifting “profiles,” and now “rules,” changing every few months. The only negative would be slower charge rates, or possibly a failure to charge at all if the brick puts out less power than you are simultaneously consuming with the laptop. I also discovered that when the Dart-C was plugged into the laptop but not the wall, HP's laptop would slow to a crawl. (Note to MBP 15 owners, this doesn’t work in all cases, as the laptop won’t charge from, say, an HP charger. While some PC chargers come close to the weight of the Dart-C, the typical wall wart puts out a lot less power and is much bulkier. In the Voltage Supported column in the chart above, you can see that few of the OEM chargers support the latest rules. Even more confusing, I found that plugging the Dart-C into the Google Chromebook Pixel while it was sleeping and then waking it would work, but unplugging it and plugging it back into the Pixel while active would “brick” the unit. In fact, of all of the chargers in the chart, only the HP and Dart-C seem to support the current USB-PD Rules. As we understand it, the new rules require that USB-PD chargers support 20 volts, 15 volts, 9 volts, and 5 volts. For example, Google’s Pixel XL, which can fast-charge at up to 18 watts, would be underserved by the chargers here that fall below 11 watts. Chromebook Pixel owners: Don’t buy this charger We encountered more severe problems with Google’s Chromebook Pixel. The first was the HP Spectre x360 13t. HP plays it super-safe, issuing a risk warning when a non-HP charger is being used, but it doesn't prevent the Dart-C from doing its job. (Note: For those who own the previous universal version of the Dart, FINsix offers a USB Type C cable for $35. 99 that lets you convert your older Dart for USB-C use. As its name implies, the Dart-C is a USB-C Power Delivery (PD) charger, so it’s compatible with most devices that use the reversible USB-C port. Those laptop chargers, which can reach 45 watts or higher on a laptop, would charge the Pixel XL at a far slower rate than the wall wart that comes with it would. It wasn’t until I unplugged the cable from the charger's body and then plugged it back in that the charger was revived. It’s so light, I’d slip it into my bag just to charge my Nexus 6P. And if I needed to carry a laptop around, such as the HP Spectre x360 13t, I’d know I already had a charger with me. Carrying the Dart-C is just so easy, while just about every OEM... The Dart-C simply would not charge the Pixel if I plugged the charger in when the Chromebook was booted into the OS. Even worse, the Dart-C subsequently failed to work with any of the other laptops it had previously worked with. The best price I could find for a replacement Asus Zenbook 3 charger was $70. HP and Dell’s chargers push $60, if you can even find them in stock. First, if you’re wondering how you can safely run a quad-core MacBook Pro 15 laptop that comes with an 87-watt charger on a 65-watt charger, you can. FINsix told PCWorld that the problem seems to be rooted in how the Pixel handles a particular USB Power Delivery function: “We have found that the system will charge normally if the charger is connected while the device is sleeping (and continues... If you accidentally left your USB-C laptop charger during a layover at Batman Airport (yes, it’s real), consider yourself lucky, because you now have an excuse to upgrade to a much sexier, much lighter power brick, like the Finsix Dart-C... There’s also a small LED that glows when the brick is powered up so you know you didn’t forget to plug it in. [ Further reading: Our picks for best PC laptops ] Tiny, sexy, and powerful Despite it being really not much larger than a cell phone... Source: www.pcworld.com
How we tested For this test, the laptops were powered on with their screens set to 100-percent brightness. With the power meter, we can see exactly how much power is being consumed, and for the most part it’s enough. I suspect, however, that if you pushed the MacBook Pro 13’s CPU or GPU with the screen maxed out and the SSD going, you’d overwhelm the 45- watt power bricks, and the laptop would start to drain from the battery. Nevertheless, it’s great that you can use just about any PC charger. Conclusion Although we had some bad luck with the Lenovo power brick, I’m comfortable declaring that universal laptop charging has finally arrived. To measure what the charge rate was on each laptop, I used a Satechi USB Type C Power Meter (available on Amazon. Out of eight devices, only the Lenovo Yoga 910’s charger gave me consistent grief. We might as well have been back in the dark ages when cell phones used proprietary chargers, before someone decided to adopt mini-USB and we never looked back. On laptops that had issues, I removed the power meter from the loop and retested without it, to ensure the meter wasn’t introducing an issue in the charging circuit. To the pile of bricks, I also added Innergie’s PowerGear 45 USB-C charger, which was used in the original 2015 plugfest. Today, it’s limited mostly to higher-end laptops—all of the laptops we tested are priced north of $1,000—but that’s going to change soon enough. Finally, I added a Huawei Nexus 6P smartphone to see if the laptops’ chargers would work with a different species. The only other charger that gave me occasional hiccups was the one that came with the HP Spectre x360 13t. The Apple MacBook Pro 13 failed to recognize it most of the time. Google’s second-generation Chromebook Pixel and Apple’s original 12-inch MacBook had no issues working with each others’ chargers, but HP, Dell, and Razer all gave us fits. Last year, the only thing I could report was charge or not-charge, plus an estimated time to complete a charge. The 80 percent The models you see above are from Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo, vendors that represent about 80 percent of the laptops sold every year. The second good news to report is that, according to our USB-C meter, charge rates were high enough that you could use your laptop and charge it at the same time. Is this the fault of the Apple, HP, and Asus or or is it the fault of the Lenovo Yoga 910 charger. Apple’s new MacBook Pro 13, as well as HP’s Spectre x360 13t and the Asus Zenbook 3, refused to recognize the Lenovo Yoga 910 charger. The MacBook Pro 13, which comes standard with a 61-watt power brick, accepted power at a reasonable rate from the other chargers, which were mostly 45-watt bricks. That’s difficult to say, but those laptops have no issues with the seven other chargers used, including the third-party Innergie, so the guilt certainly seems to lie with the Lenovo charger. [ Further reading: Our picks for best PC laptops ] Unlike the Dell Skylake version of the XPS 13, which still ships with a proprietary barrel charger despite supporting USB-C charging, all of the laptops you see come from the factory with USB-C... Source: www.pcworld.com
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