At CES 2022, Anker announced an addition to its Nano II USB-C Charger line up with this more powerful version sporting two USB-C ports capable of outputting up to 100W, plus an old-school USB-A charging port. Now the $79 Anker Nano II 100W (also known as the Anker 736 charger) has appeared for sale at Amazon (via MacRumors), although it is already shown exhausted.
Nano II chargers use the company’s second-generation version of gallium nitride-based components that replace the previous charger’s silicon components to pump more power into a smaller package with less heat. According to Anker, the 100W Nano II is 34 percent smaller than Apple’s 96W charger, with similar capacities plus two extra ports that help you reduce the number of items you’ll need to keep all your devices powered up. Another plus is that its 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 its USB-C ports have an output power of up to 100W, but that’s only true when you have a device connected to one of them. Many laptops and other devices require much less power to charge or even fast charge, but it’s something to consider if you have a larger MacBook Pro. Simultaneous use of both USB-C ports reduces the maximum output to 60W from the first slot and 40W from the second. Anker has a chart to break it down even further.
Anker isn’t the only company using gallium nitride (GaN) for smaller, more powerful chargers: Apple’s first brick with the technology is the 140W power supply that ships with the 16-inch MacBook Pro — but has been ahead of the pack since it showed its first GaN power adapter in 2018.
In an interview with the edge EiC Nilay Patel at the Decoder Last Fall Podcast, Steven Yang, CEO of Anker explained why his company has been so quick to introduce GaN and iterate products based on it.
Gallium nitride is a key enabling technology that hit the market about three years ago, but we are already talking about the third generation. Is gallium nitride a technology that requires investment in engineering resources? Is there a supplier pipeline or a materials science pipeline? How do you manage that investment?
Anker was actually the first to introduce gallium nitride into the charge for consumer electronics. The way we were able to do that was by partnering with the frontier chipset manufacturers who developed the gallium nitride charging chip. We were almost his alpha client. So when the chip is first developed, there are a lot of hurdles to go through to make it into a product. That requires not only material science knowledge, but also application knowledge, system architecture knowledge, and heat management knowledge. It’s almost a system effort. We accumulate knowledge on that, and combine it with gallium nitride chips and manufacturer to make them into products.
You’ll see GaN2 this year in the 65-watt size and the 30-watt size. We have been working with Power Innovations for almost a year on that. GaN2 is the new generation of chips that we launched in the middle of this year. GaN2’s 65 watt size was a fraction of the competition.
The reason we were able to do this is based on the latest generation of GaN2 from Power Innovations. We’ve been the sole partner for almost a year in developing that – you won’t see similar products coming 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 for other people to be able to buy that chipset.
Anker US head of media relations Tyler Mallery confirmed that the edge that the loader has, in fact, been released and that Anker is waiting for more inventory to arrive. The 736 charger is so rare that it’s not even listed 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.