Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Anker provided the product in this review.
Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 – Smallest 30W USB-C PD charger on the market
- Ports: USB-C
- Output: 30W USB-C Power Delivery 3.0 (5V/3A, 9V/2A, 15V/2A, 20V/1.5A)
- Input: 100V–240V, 1.2A, 50/60Hz
- Size: 1.8 x 1.6 x 1.5 inches | 46 x 41 x 38 mm
- Weight: 1.9 oz | 53 grams
Switch Chargers Ratings:
Included In Box:
- Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1
- Charges Switch at the fastest rate in handheld mode
- Among the smallest USB-C PD chargers on the market
- Uses GaN (gallium nitride), higher efficiency at a smaller size
- Supports iPhone fast charging with a USB-C to Lightning cable
- Fits in most Switch carrying cases
- Works worldwide with 100-240V power input (may need a plug adapter)
- Prongs don’t fold
- Doesn’t included a USB-C cable
Compared With Similar Chargers
|Charger||Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1||Anker PowerPort Speed 1 USB-C|
|Anker PowerPort PD 1||AUKEY PA-Y18 18W PD|
|Switch Speed Rating||Great||Great||Great||Good+|
|Switch Safety Rating||USB-IF Certified||USB-IF Certified||Safe||Safe|
|Features||GaN tech||Folding prongs||Folding prongs||Folding prongs|
|Also Good For||Phone, Tablet, Power Bank, 12-inch Laptop||Phone, Tablet, Power Bank, 12-inch Laptop||Phone, Tablet||Phone, Tablet|
|1.8 x 1.6 x 1.5 in|
|2.3 x 2.4 x 1.1 in|
|2 × 1.7 × 1.1 in|
|1.4 x 1.4 x 1.3 in|
- Additional charger for home or work
- Travel charger
- iPhone and Android phones
- iPad and tablets
- Power banks
- 12-inch laptops
The Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 is 45% smaller than Anker’s previous 30W USB-C PD charger. That’s the benefit of GaN. To look at it another way, the Atom PD 1 is 33% larger than an iPhone USB charger. But provides six times the power output. Not a bad trade. And at only $4 more than Anker’s larger 30W charger it is an easy buy. The only downside is the prongs don’t fold like many other USB-C chargers. But at this size how much will that matter in your bag?
Power Meter Readings
The Nintendo Switch charges near its 18W max draw while playing, ~10W when sleeping. While this charger offers 15V there isn’t enough current to power a docked Switch. That requires at least 2.6A, this charger tops out at 2A.
The PD protocol negotiation with the Switch is typical for wall chargers. It connects at 5V and moved up to 15V after negotiations. Current steps up once the 15V connection is made.
The charger supports fast charging the iPhone 8 using a USB-C to Lightning cable. Android phones that support USB PD, like the Google Pixel, will see similar results. Samsung, Motorola, and other Quick Charge enabled Android phones won’t fast charge. They will charge around 9-10W, depending on their individual power draw. That’s a decent rate, but ~40% slower than with an 18W Quick Charge charger.
The Atom PD 1’s 30W can support smaller laptops. Most 12-inch models only need 30W for a full charge. As does the new MacBook Air. Larger laptops, such as the MacBook Pro 13-inch used above, want 45W or more. For 13-inch and 15-inch laptops the Atom PD 1 isn’t an ideal charger. But we can see it provides ~30W and power negotiation is normal. In a pinch it would prolong battery life of the MacBook Pro, allowing me to work longer. Results may vary with other brand laptops.
GaN (gallium nitride)
GaN (gallium nitride) is the potential new silicon of the future. It can sustain higher voltages than silicon and offers less resistance to current. That makes it more efficient (10-25%) and able to handle more heat. In 2014 GaN performed the same as silicon 3-5 times larger. The most recent leap (2017) reduced the size of GaN transistors to half their previous size.
GaN is in the laser diodes of Blu-ray players. And the transistors in various wireless infrastructure. In late 2018 the first GaN USB-C charger hit the market. Further mass-market applications are expected. Currently Anker, Innergie, Mu, and RAVPower all offer GaN chargers. And more are yet to come.
Costs have dropped over the years, but it is still more expensive than silicon. As such GaN chargers are priced at the high end of their peers. But the reduction in charger size is significant.
- Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 (30W, GaN) – 3.36 cubic inches, 2.1 oz, $30
- Anker PowerPort Speed 1 USB-C (30W, silicon) – 6.07 cubic inches, 3.6 oz, $26
- RAVPower PD Pioneer 45W (45W, GaN) – 3.53 cubic inches, 2.6 oz, $55
- ZMI PowerPlug Turbo (45W, silicon) – 5.81 cubic inches, 3.6 oz, $20
If you want the smallest and lightest charger possible GaN is it.
Those Prongs, Though
Reviews of the Anker’s GaN charger keep mentioning the non-folding prongs. We saw it at CES after their debut. It is on this review’s Cons list above. Early reviews love this charger. And even with the prongs it is still smaller than Anker’s last 30W USB-C PD charger. And yet, the larger brick with folding prongs can be more appealing.
I’m a well organized individual. Everything has its place in a bag. I use smaller bags to separate items in my main bag. For me the prongs aren’t a big deal. I’m aware of them, so I organize around them. Once done it is no longer a problem.
A lot of people aren’t as organized. Stuff gets tossed together. With that you can envision the prongs as a problem. Maybe you pull out the charger and your earbuds come with them. Or maybe they don’t fit in the corner, making it harder to put everything back in that fit earlier.
That’s a lot of maybes. And maybe none of that will happen. But the possibility occurs to us. Which generates the comments.
This isn’t the first USB charger made for travel with fixed prongs. Most phone chargers (iPhone, Google, Samsung, and more) have fixed prongs. Consumers have managed to work with those. Whether this charger will work well for you or not comes down to how you’ll carry it. If you’re okay finding a good space for it then you’ll be fine. If you’re going to toss it in you might pull the errant cable once in a while.
The Anker PowerPower Atom PD 1 is the first low cost GaN USB-C charger on the market. It is a good buy for Nintendo Switch owners wanting a tiny charger without any performance loss. While it costs more for the GaN tech, it isn’t a significant increase in price.
The nearest size USB-C charger I’ve seen to the Atom PD 1 is the AUKEY PA-Y18 18W PD. It is 24% smaller and 21% lighter. But the Anker charges the Switch 50% faster. The AUKEY offers the Switch 12V output, which the Switch under draws from. So it charges the Switch up to 12W. While the Anker’s 15V can charge it up to 18W. Either will charge while you play. But the Anker will give you a 3.5 hour recharge while playing.
The charger does get warm despite the new tech. I ran my MacBook Pro off of it for an hour. The laptop charged up 50% while doing office work and Internet browsing. The side of the Atom PD 1 got up to 87.4°F (30.8°C), which is only warm to the touch. The top of the charger got up to 111.1°F (44°C). It wasn’t too hot to unplug and hold, but you could feel the difference between the sides and the top.
The Atom PD 1’s price isn’t unreasonable for the new tech. Anker’s previous 30W USB-C PD charger is much larger and heavier. Its MSRP until recently was $35, more than the Atom PD 1’s MSRP at the time of this review. The Atom PD 1’s current price is only $4 less than its much smaller sibling.
Anker has U.S. based support (web, email, phone) and a 18 month warranty. They are a beloved brand within and outside of the Switch community.
The Anker PowerPower Atom PD 1 is the smallest, best performing charger for a handheld Switch. If you have other USB-C PD devices up to a 12-inch laptop it is one my recommended chargers. There isn’t a significant cost increase for the GaN tech. The question is are the non-folding prongs a deal breaker.
Have more questions about this product? Check out my review at USB-Current for more information on how it works with a variety of USB-C devices.
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