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I fell hard for GaN charging and got rid of my laptop adapter: Here’s why

This pint-sized GaN charger is the MVP of my tech arsenal.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Rs. 2,999
gan charger game changer cmf power 65wI never knew lightweight charging could make such an impact. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)
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I fell hard for GaN charging and got rid of my laptop adapter: Here’s why
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If you’re rocking a laptop that’s not exactly from the current decade, then you’re likely acquainted with the classic charging apparatus that features a massive brick in the middle with wires sticking out of either side. While considered reliable, this kind of charger has a substantial heft, tipping the scales at 300 grams and can even reach the half-kilogram mark for those beastly gaming laptops.

For the stationary user, this may not sound like much. But for someone like me who has to haul my laptop around alongside a bunch of other electronics, every gram takes a toll on my shoulders. That’s why when CMF introduced a GaN charger for Rs 2,999, it got my weary self more excited than any other tech product has in the past few months.

I have been using the CMF Power 65W GaN charger for over a month now and here’s why I think charging bricks of this kind are the most significant tech invention in recent times.

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First, what even is a GaN charger?

GaN stands for Gallium Nitride, which is a semiconductor material that has been making waves in the tech industry for its remarkable efficiency and power-handling capabilities. This material has now made its way into transistors, replacing the current industry-favourite material – silicon. GaN transistors are not only smaller than silicon transistors but also carry more power, have faster switching speeds, and generate far less heat.

gan game changer cmf power 65w Three-in-one. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

When we talk about GaN chargers, we’re referring to a new breed of power adapters that use GaN transistors to offer a more compact, efficient, and powerful charging solution. These properties also enable GaN chargers to pack components closer together, which is why most of them are capable of charging multiple devices at once.

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Why GaN chargers are a game-changer

It’s the versatile multi-port capabilities that really make GaN chargers such an invaluable and useful device to have in your tech arsenal. The CMF Power 65W GaN charger, though no larger in size than your average fast charger, packs not just one but three full-powered USB-C ports into that compact frame.

As a busy tech journalist who essentially lives out of my backpack, travelling from event to event with my essential array of devices including TWS earbuds, smartwatch, laptop and of course my phone, having a charger like this is an absolute game-changer.

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gan game changer cmf power 65w No separate charging bricks needed for each. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

Earlier, I used to head out equipped with just one charger, optimistically assuming that only one device would deplete its battery at any given time. But assumptions often miss their mark. When two or even three of my devices inevitably ended up blinking red, I’d have to make difficult choices: either compromising by charging both turn by turn or picking favourites and leaving one device completely uncharged. But now with the CMF Power’s triple independent port setup, I no longer have to deal with this.

gan game changer cmf power 65w It’s barely palm-sized. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

I am not exaggerating when I express that ditching my clunky laptop charger and 30W fast phone charger for a tiny GaN unit has been one of the best tech decisions I’ve made. Before, I’d be lugging around nearly half a kilo of chargers in my bag every day. But now I just toss my featherweight 150-gram CMF Power brick in my bag and barely even notice it’s there.

Do all devices charge at 65W?

I get this question a lot from folks who notice my peculiar charging setup. The answer is no – 65W is the peak charging speed, meaning you get that only when a single device is connected to the unit. The CMF Power smartly distributes the power according to the number of devices plugged in. For example, with two devices charging it will do a 45W + 20W split. And with three plugged in, it goes into a 45W + 7.5W + 7.5W configuration.

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gan game changer cmf power 65w My laptop complains when the juice is shared with another device. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

Now sure, my greedy laptop starts complaining as soon as I connect a second device and the power dips from 65W to 45W, but the difference is barely noticeable. Even my Pixel 8 still says it’s “Charging rapidly” at 20W. Honestly, I only notice slower charging if I’ve got a third device plugged in. There’s barely any noticeable heating as a plus.

So, should you get a GaN charger?

With more and more phone companies skimping on shipping chargers in-box these days, it makes more sense to invest in one solid GaN charger instead of having to buy first-party chargers – they cost nearly the same anyway. Sure, there are some minor charging speed compromises here and there. But as someone who’s out and about all the time, the portability and convenience far outweigh any small disadvantages. And oh, did I mention they’re also friendlier for the environment?

Zohaib is a tech enthusiast and a journalist who covers the latest trends and innovations at The Indian Express's Tech Desk. A graduate in Computer Applications, he firmly believes that technology exists to serve us and not the other way around. He is fascinated by artificial intelligence and all kinds of gizmos, and enjoys writing about how they impact our lives and society. After a day's work, he winds down by putting on the latest sci-fi flick. • Experience: 3 years • Education: Bachelor in Computer Applications • Previous experience: Android Police, Gizmochina • Social: Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn ... Read More

First published on: 22-11-2023 at 17:11 IST
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