Hyper has been making Mac-inspired electronics accessories for 15 years. But their latest HyperJuice charger could replace multiple chargers you carry with you, all within the footprint of a credit card thanks to new gallium nitride (GaN) tech.
In a world of thinning laptops, phones, and wireless everything, it seems odd we still carry around clunky power bricks that get hot and take up space in our otherwise-svelte laptop bags. Gallium nitride is a semiconductor that has been around in military (such as active-scanning radar systems) and scientific applications for a while (it’s also responsible for allowing the high-power blue lasers that gave way to Blu-ray), but we’re just now seeing its use trickle into consumer electronics such as batteries and chargers. Eventually, GaN could replace silicon, but for now, it’s serving simply as an alternative in select applications while the world begins to adapt to incorporate it into more products. The main benefit: efficiency.
There are just a handful of GaN chargers such as HyperJuice currently on the market, and they’re all more efficient, producing less heat and wasting less energy in the process. Because of this, electronics with GaN don’t have to be as big and bulky. You’ll find HyperJuice is about the height and width of a credit card with the thickness of three portable SSDs such as the Samsung T5. Chargers this size normally power smaller laptops with a single 45-watt port, such as those for the Apple MacBook Air. Yet HyperJuice features four ports: two USB-C and two USB-A, all with a combined charging capability of 100 watts — more than enough to charge Apple’s most powerful 16-inch MacBook Pro, which comes standard with a 96W charger.
Each USB-C port is capable of 100W, so you do not need to think about which you’re using. Similarly, the USB-A (or “normal” USB for the layperson) ports are each capable of full-speed 18W charging. For those unfamiliar with the latest in charging tech, the 100W limit of HyperJuice means it won’t exceed 100W in total from all four ports combined. But to put this into perspective, it’s still among the most powerful charges of its kind and give plenty of flexibility in charging. You also don’t necessarily need the full charging power of a computer. Laptops such as the 16-inch MacBook Pro can still easily run and simultaneously charge with chargers at or below 60W, for example. They’re simply able to charge at up to 96W and will charge faster at those rates, which you can still do with HyperJuice if it's the only device plugged in.
Chargers like HyperJuice offer more flexibility, however, since you can throw one in the bag and instantly have a solution for a MacBook Air (45W), your 16-inch MacBook Pro (96W), and a smartphone (18W). Plug all three in, and your devices will simply charge at slightly reduced rates. That’s about the maximum power draw I would ever recommend if you’re using all the devices at the same time. But it’s doable. Feel free to plug in yet another phone and any laptops if simply charging overnight. The only thing you’re fighting against is the ability to draw enough power to charge the device while still using it, which is going to require greater power draw. See the following information to see how plugging in multiple devices affects power delivery:
If only 1 USB-C device is connected, all 100W will be allocated to that port. The device will draw whatever power it requires up the maximum of 100W. If a second USB-C device is connected, the first USB-C device will get 65W and the second USB-C device will get 30W. 65W + 30W = 95W
- 1C Device: 100W
- 2C Devices: 65W (first connected) + 30W (second connected)
- 2C/1A Devices: 45W (first) + 30W (second) + 12W (USB-A)
- 2C/2A Devices: 45W (first) + 30W (second) + 12W + 12W
- 1A Device: 18W
- 2A Devices: 12W + 12W
- 1C/1A Devices: 80W + 12W
- 1C/2A Devices: 65W + 12W + 12W
Still, this is the most flexible charging solution around. With a built-in flip-out plug, you get access to four ports of the highest charging power possible — all in a package much smaller than Apple’s largest, single-port laptop charger. The price is more than that large Apple charger ($79) at $99, but you can currently get a discount on HyperJuice where it’s currently being sold through IndieGogo for $69. Yes, crowdfunding campaigns carry a risk, but Hyper has been around for some time and is already shipping this charger to backers of its earlier campaign on Kickstarter. To date, it has raised over $5 million for HyperJuice. Once this campaign is over, it will be released at MSRP through their website, where they currently still sell a variety of other chargers, batteries, and other power accessories, some of which also (confusingly) carry the HyperJuice name.
What I Liked
- Expensive, but understandable for the feature set, and cheaper at the moment
- Well built and clean design
- Great port mix with dual USB-C and dual USB-A
- Maximum charging speed
- Increased efficiency wastes less power
- Comes standard with world plug adapters
- Personally prefer the fold-in/fold-out two-prong plug design instead of one that’s permanently out
- Still discounted if you act fast
What I Didn’t Like
- Currently only one, high-power option; would like even smaller, lower-power, more affordable option
- Still shipping via IndieGogo and not available direct
We will see more products like the HyperJuice 100W GaN charger in the near future. In fact, some already exist such as those by Anker, Aukey, and RavPower. I already own Anker’s PD Atom 1, which is a fantastic replacement for the 12-inch MacBook charger and works perfectly (if a little more slowly) for my girlfriend’s 2019 MacBook Air that can normally get up to 45W from its charger. It’s just slightly larger than the small, measly 5W cube charger that comes with most iPhones, which again reminds me just how pathetic that is (yes, they did finally upgrade to a full-speed 18W charger for those that shelled out for the iPhone 11 Pro).
Anker and the other brands also offer other options in the 30W-60W range that are all a third of the price of the HyperJuice. Aukey’s single-port Omnia 100W charger is a great replacement for Apple’s most powerful 96W charger at nearly both half the size and half the price (with a discount code on their site), but it won’t ship until later this month. RavPower’s PD Pioneer 90W GaN charger comes in the middle on pricing and flexibility with two ports for $55 and is currently in stock on Amazon. So if you’re looking for a single-port solution for half the price or a dual-port solution somewhere in the middle, those are your options. But at the end of the day, HyperJuice is the best option that will still deliver as early as this month if you’re looking for maximum flexibility in spite of a higher price-point.