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Gear talk: looking at Power Adapters

For many years Three Points of the Compass has used various folding power adapters and plugs for charging phone and power bank at halts. However with recent changes in port type and Power Delivery combined with large capacity phone and power bank that support quick charging, alternative solutions have had to be found. The search continues, but a glance here at three adapters.

The UK is blessed with having some of the largest, most awkwardly shaped and heavy plugs in the world on account of a three pin requirement, which also leads to one of the safest connectors to main power supply there is. All of the power adapters looked at here are of good build quality from reputable suppliers. In a continued attempt to bring together my inlet/outlet ports in my electronic devices to a universal form, I have been looking at those power adapters with USB-C ports. These all fit UK sockets with a 240v supply.

Three power adapters from Samsung, Apple and Anker
Three power adapters from Samsung, Apple and Anker

My current phone of choice is a Samsung Galaxy S20+. This supports ‘super fast charging’ of its 4500mAh battery. This phone comes with the Samsung USB-C 25W Super Fast Charge Power Adapter, model EP-TA800 but at 63g it is heavy and even when folded (as shown here), measures 69mm x 50mm x 27mm so is quite large. This takes up a lot of room in my electronics bag and the pins protrude even when folded. However because they protrude in line with the flattened profile of the power adapter body, they don’t willingly poke holes through the waterproof covering of the electronics pouch. Manufacturer specifications are:

  • Input: 100-240v/0.7A
  • Output (PDO): 5v/3A or 9v/2.77A= 15W or 25W (24.93W)
  • Output (PPS): 3.3-5.9v/3A or 3.3v-11v/2.25A= 7.5-25W (24.75W)
Samsung Super Fast Charge Model EP-TA800. 25W
Samsung USB-C 25W Super Fast Charge Power Adapter, model EP-TA800

My preferred power bank on trail is one of the Nitecore offerings, either their 10000 or 20000 ‘bricks’. I thought it prudent to contact Nitecore and ask if the Samsung 25W quick charge power adapter was OK to charge their power brick and was assured it would be fine.

Apple USB-C 20W Power Adapter, model A2344
Apple USB-C 20W Power Adapter, model A2344
Apple 20W Power Adapter, opened pins
Apple 20W Power Adapter, opened pins

I went looking for a slightly smaller and more compact option that still had a USB-C cable connector port. At 85g the Apple USB-C 20W Power Adapter, model A2344 is heavier than the Samsung product. The three pins on the Apple adapter fold away entirely into the bulky body which makes this item a smaller and less awkward object when stored. When folded this measures 46mm x 49mm x 30mm. Manufacturer specifications are:

  • Input: 100-127v/0.5A
  • Output PD: 5v/3A or 9v/2A (18W)
  • Input: 200-240v/0.5A
  • Output PD: 5v/3A or 9v/2.22A (19.98W)

I have one lighter offering that is still capable of delivering a high charge rate and still supplies my preferred USB-C port. This is the relatively diminutive Anker USB-C 20W Power Port III Nano, model A2633, this power adapter with PIQ 3.0 is non-folding but has a much smaller body than both Samsung and Apple products. Dimensions are 41mm x 48mm x (20mm) actual 43mm, that final measurement sounds worse than it is due to the three fixed protruding prongs At just 48g it is the lightest of the three power adapters by far. However the three protruding pins are obtrusive and ‘pokey’, they are always attempting to force themselves through the sides of my electronics pouch. Manufacturer specifications are:

  • Input: 100-240v/0.6A
  • Output: 5v/3A or 9v/2.22A (19.98W)
Anker 20W USB-C Power Port III Nano, model A2633
Anker USB-C 20W Power Port III Nano, model A2633
Left to right- Power adapters from Samsung, Apple and Anker
Left to right- Power adapters from Samsung, Apple and Anker

So which of these three power adapters is Three Points of the Compass using on longer trails? To be honest, I still haven’t settled on one and have used each this year. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. No doubt there are further options out there, or soon will be. Some of which are positively huge yet still look intriguing. I am sure I am going to be visiting this first world problem again.

Left to right- Power adapters from Samsung, Apple and Anker
Left to right- Power adapters from Samsung, Apple and Anker

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