Why we need USB charging on everything


USB Power Delivery charging is coming to more and more devices, after is has been added to the USB standard along with the introduction of USB-C connectors. The standard allows devices and chargers to talk to each other and negotiate what sort of power devices need, while also talking to cables to see how much current they can carry. It’s been adopted as a universal way to charge many kinds of devices by the European Union, but some current devices support it already, even as just an alternative.

Why it is needed

Reason 1: less weight

When travelling it can replace multiple power adapters. Corona now means that i would travel with work and personal laptop, camera, phone and other gadgets. Take a look below: on the left is a 90W USB-PD charger that replaces all the chargers on the right, which are the dedicated chargers for 2 laptops, camera and phone (well this one is USB already). One of the reasons for choosing the Asus G14 as my personal laptop was that I can use it with a USB-PD charger.

The dedicated chargers are 4.5 times heavier than the universal one (245 grams vs 1115 grams). Yes, the weight of the bowl is substracted 🙂

Reason 2: easier to borrow a charger

From a friend, neighbour, colleague or stranger in a cafe. For the laptop, the phone or other things.

Reason 3: less stuff to swap around

The work one stays at work, the home one stays at home because you can use the same one for both work and personal devices. No need  to carry your work laptop charger back and forth or buy 2.

Reason 4: cheaper

Dedicated chargers have inflated prices because they cannot be easily replaced, so of course the manufacturer asks for more.

Update mid-2023

There seems to have been some windows update, and possibly supported by a firmware update, which allows all my laptops (the G14, my Dell 5289 and my Dell laptop from work) to charge even with a tiny 30W charger. There is a message displayed by windows: Slow charger: to speed up charging use the charger that came with your device.

All laptops will charge with such small charger, while in the past they refused to. It also looks like the battery will still drain while charging if the demand is high, since the power profile chosen is likely drawing more than 30W at time.

You probably don’t want to use a powerful laptop in this way too often, since you will age the battery too fast as the battery will be slightly drained whenever the laptop demands a power peak. However, this mode is very good for me during travel, as it further reduces weight.


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