Why Anker’s new Nano chargers are a no-brainer purchase

CNN —  

Anker’s latest Nano II chargers are tiny and zippy.

With three distinct models that deliver power between a range of 30 watts and 60 watts, Anker aims to offer a model for any device you may need to charge. We’ve spent the past few weeks with the Nano II 30W, 45W and 65W and are calling these the ultimate tech accessory. Not only do they build off of the original $16.99 Anker Nano brick, but with improved hardware inside they’re more efficient and run even cooler.

Here’s the neatest thing, though — the Nano II 65W is a bit more hefty, but about a quarter of the size of an Apple 61-watt brick and can push out nearly the same amount of power. It’s a truly pocketable brick that can power a MacBook Air, Surface Laptop 4, Surface Book 2 or even a 16-inch MacBook Pro, which is seriously impressive. Let’s break these down.

Which Nano II is right for you?

All three of Anker’s Nano II chargers deliver on the promise of fast charging times in a design that doesn’t weigh you down or get overly hot during use. In our eyes, these are the ultimate tech accessory and we think adding these to your collection makes a lot of sense.

Best for phones

For those who want to charge a phone or tablet with ease, with fast charging times on the latest iPhone and Samsung phones.

Best for tablets and smaller laptops

If you’re looking to charge a phone, tablet and a smaller laptop or portable console, the 45W is an excellent option that isn’t much larger. ​

Best for bigger laptops

If you want to ditch that large 65W charger for your laptop, the Nano II 65W is an affordable and more pocket-friendly option. It can also easily fast charge an iPhone, iPad or Android device.

And if you just want a better way to charge your phone, the original Anker Nano is still an excellent option.

The secret sauce

As we said when we previewed the Anker Nano last fall, the secret behind a tiny fast charging brick is a change in hardware. Anker is effectively swapping silicon electrical components for gallium nitride (GaN), creating a new set of parts that run cooler and more efficiently. For Nano II, Anker is using GaN II, which can run twice as fast — hence the major watt improvements — and still as efficient.

These all have Anker’s Power Delivery system in place to ensure safe operation and to minimize the risk of overheating. On that latter point, these three new bricks also run a bit cooler and in our testing only got warm to the touch during a long charging session.

Every Nano II charger offers a single USB-C port on the front but doesn’t include a cable in the box. That’s because if you pick up a smartphone this year, iPhone 12 or Galaxy S21 included, you’ll receive a cable with a USB-C end that can be used with these chargers. Similarly, the iPad Pro, Galaxy Tab S7 and many laptops opt for this standard as well. We also have our top picks for USB-C cables and Lightning cables.

Three power options with serious charging speeds

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Rather than a classic white build all around, Nano II goes for a sleeker (in our humble opinion) silver and dark gray color scheme. You get the sense that these can deliver some serious power. The $29.99 Nano II 30W is about the same size as a 5-watt charger and the original 20W Nano charger. It’s become our new go-to, namely for the power it can deliver for the size of the wall brick.

In our testing, the Nano II 30W charged an iPhone 12 to over 50% in just 25 minutes. Larger devices like a Nintendo Switch or iPad take a bit more to get going but will eventually pick up the charging pace. It’s all worth noting that while many devices might be quick to show a larger amount of percentage, the charge does slow down when they reach closer to 100%. This is the case for most lithium-ion devices.

The $35.99 Nano II 45W delivers the same fast charging times with an iPhone or Android device but pushes along with the keen ability to also charge some laptops and tablets. In our testing it was up to the challenge of a MacBook Air, Surface Laptop Go, iPad Pro, Galaxy Tab S7 and the eighth-gen iPad. It’s a large range, but don’t expect super-fast charging times here. The Nano II 45W is also a bit larger than the 30W but features foldable plugs, which aids in portability. It’s similar to the design of Belkin’s 30-watt fast charging plug.

The most impressive of the bunch is Anker’s $39.99 Nano II 65W, which can handle charging full-size laptops with some extra speed. It’s also seriously fast at charging an iPhone, able to hit 50% on an iPhone 12 in about 20 minutes. The 65-watt brick is the largest of Anker’s Nano chargers but also quite small in comparison to the Apple 61W brick. It’s about a fourth of the size and stays much cooler when charging a laptop, even a 16-inch MacBook Pro.