Is Apple’s New Compact Dual USB-C 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. On the surface, this might look like a typical compact two-port adapter, but its smart power sharing capability might just be bread and butter.

While much of the WWDC22’s hardware attention has focused on the redesigned MacBook Air and MacBook Pro M2, Apple has announced two versions of a dual USB-C adapter, something that has been rumored since April.

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

I took the compact version to review, as this will be the new adapter included with the redesigned MacBook Air M2 when configured with a 10-core GPU and 512GB of storage or higher.

Apple’s 20W Single Port USB-C Adapter (Bottom) vs New 35W Dual Port (Top)

Oddly, the first thing that caught my attention was its weight. Slightly larger in size than Apple’s 20W single-port USB-C socket, the compact 35W dual adapter has some weight, which is understandable given its capacity in such a small form factor and considering that it’s the first time Apple has shot a dual charging adapter.

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

Intelligent sharing of power

As noted in the Apple support document, both versions of the new dual adapter automatically distribute the modest 35W of power based on the “power requirements” of both connected devices. As the MacBook, iPhone, and iPad draw more power than the Apple Watch and Airpods, a larger share of watts will be allocated.

When you connect both a MacBook and an iPhone, for example, the power is split equally between the two, both going up to 17.5 W. The power is also split equally between two smaller devices (such as an Apple Watch and Airpods) . But when pairing a priority device with a smaller one, the power is split between 27.5W / 7.5W.

A gem of functionality that works well if your device is “compatible”.

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

The price. Is it worth it?

Both the standard 35W dual-port USB-C power supply and the compact version are priced at $ 59; not cheap, compared to alternatives on Amazon. Of course, I don’t think the full price is justifiable, but I think its ability to delegate power depending on the device works well and sets it apart.

It would have been nice to see Apple do more with the standard dual adapter – its larger size certainly could have meant more watts while keeping the compact 35W version and lowering the price a bit.

What do you think of the new dual adapters? Are you going to get one?

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