Monday, 21 September 2020 12:08

Belkin first to bring GaN chargers to major Australian retail stores

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GaN is gallium nitride technology, and it is primarily used to make laptop and phone chargers smaller and more powerful, and while I've seen some crowdfunding projects promote them, Belkin seems to be first to bring them to major retail stores in Australia, with two new models.

Billed as "mini but mighty", Belkin's new GaN or gallium nitride chargers are compact and powerful, and they're the first of several new GaN products to come. They were first announced at CES 2020, so have taken a good nine months to get here, but they're the future of charging technology which everyone will eventually be offering.

This new lineup of GaN wall chargers are designed to efficiently charge a wide range of devices, including smartphones and laptops, with the fast charging offering consumers are now used to, but with significantly reduced size when compared with other chargers on the market - which is tremendous for portability and making your backpack or briefcase lighter!

There are two new models that I'll go into more detail in a moment, the first being the Belkin Boost Charge USB-C Gan Wall Charger 30w model for A$64.95 that can fast charge iPhones, Androids and iPads including the new iPad Air.

The second is the Belkin Boost Charge Dual USB-C GaN Wall Charger 68w model for $89.95 that can either charge a MacBook Pro needing 60w of power, or can charge a MacBook Air needing a 30w charger and an iPhone or Android needing an 18w fast charge at the same time.

It will also charge a 13-inch MacBook Pro and iPhone or Android at the same time easily, it's just that the 13-inch MacBook Pro will charge at 50w rather than 60w, but it will still charge more than happily enough. If you just plug in your MacBook Pro, it will charge at 60w, which is what your existing MacBook Pro charger delivers.

More detail on both chargers below, but first a little more info about GaN and Belkin. As noted, Belkin is one of the first major brands to incorporate GaN technology into its products, and this is important, because it isn't some fly-by-night crowdfunded brand that likely doesn't have anywhere near the decades-long track record that Belkin does for quality products.

That's not to say crowdfunded products can't be trusted - there are GaN chargers out there that promise to be smaller or even more powerful than Belkin's, but they haven't been delivered yet and you certainly can't as yet just walk into a major retail store today and buy one like you can with Belkin's new models.

GaN is a breakthrough technology as it is an "alternative manufacturing process delivers powerful charging at high wattage through an even smaller form factor than usual."

Belkin assures us that it is "a high-performance alternative to the traditional silicon used in charging devices. GaN transistors produce less heat, allowing components to be closer together, which means the charger produced is much smaller despite its power.

In particular the highly integrated GaN chipsets with high power density and magnetic components found in the new Belkin solutions convert power much faster than silicon, leading to smaller, lighter and faster charger designs.

The Belkin GaN range also features built-in overcurrent and overvoltage protection, to keep both the charger and connected devices safe, while providing peace of mind.

Indeed, GaN is such a great technology that we're bound to see Apple using it at some point in the future, probably when its price lowers below that of traditional chargers on an industrial scale, or when Apple wants to boast of having tiny but powerful chargers too, but in the meantime, it's great to see these alternatives arriving.

Jamie Laing-Reece, Head of Product Management for Belkin ANZ explains more, stating: "The introduction of these new fast-charging options with GaN technology epitomises our commitment to deliver people inspired products, and informs everything that we do, from design and quality to our user testing and prototyping process, strict adherence to regulatory compliance, manufacturing, and warranty programs.

“We are keeping people powered throughout their day and making their lives easier with our innovation, and GaN technology is one of many ways we continue to bring this to life, especially as one of the first to offer this to Australian consumers.”

Here's more info on the two models:

BOOST CHARGE USB-C GaN Wall Charger 30W - A$64.95

Belkin tells us its "BOOST CHARGE USB-C GaN Wall Charger 30W offers fast charging for devices in an exceptionally compact and convenient size. USB-C PD enabled devices will enjoy fast charging, for example, a MacBook Air will charge from 0-50% in just 70 minutes, or fast charge an iPhone 8 or later from 0-50% in 30 minutes."

Here we're told that USB-C PD technology charges MacBook Air from 0-50% in 70 minutes when paired with a USB-C to USB-C Cable, and that USB-C PD technology charges iPhone 8 or later from 0-50% in 30 minutes when paired with a USB-C cable with Lightning connector.

It is available to buy from the Belkin website, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and major retailers, across Australia and New Zealand.

BOOST CHARGE Dual USB-C GaN Wall Charger 68W - $89.95

Belkin explains its "BOOST CHARGE Dual USB-C GaN Wall Charger 68W offers two USB-C ports which feature Intelligent Power Sharing, enabling the charger to identify when either port is in use and either direct complete power to one or split between both for the most efficient charge to the devices plugged in.

"Charge a USB-C device with a single port and get up to 60W of power, or charge a laptop or tablet up to 50W with one port and as smartphone up to 18W with the other.This device offers the same fast charging rates for USB-C PD-enabled devices as the 30W variant.

It is available to buy from the Belkin website, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and major retailers, across Australia and New Zealand.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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