Why Every Computer Should Come With a Dual USB-C Charger

We just want to charge and go

  • The M2 MacBook Air comes with a two-port USB-C charger.
  • All laptops should offer a spare port on their chargers.
  • GaN technology means chargers can be smaller and cooler than ever.
A laptop, tablet, and smartphone on a glass top desk, all connected to a charging cable.

MoMo Productions / Getty Images

Apple's latest M2 MacBook Air comes with a nice surprise in the box—a two-port 35-Watt USB-C charger which, as soon as you think about it, should come with every laptop computer.

Now that USB-C is a de-facto charging standard, it makes sense that Apple should provide a spare on its new MacBook Air power brick. Apple has also experimented with adding other ports to its chargers in recent years, like the Ethernet port on the iMac charger. With the EU mandate that all phones and phone-like gadgets will have to use USB-C for power in the near future, USB-C will only get more useful. That's why all chargers should come with at least two ports.

"Yes, absolutely all chargers should come with a spare port. Of course, in this instance, the idea is so that you can charge your iPhone or iPad as well. This is genius, considering that no one else has done this to date, as far as I am aware," marketer and USB charger fan Ross Kernez told Lifewire via email.

Port Authority

One could argue that a two-port charger is less useful today than it was in the past. After all, a MacBook can run for at least a day without going near a power socket, so your olde-worlde one-port charger is free to charge phones, Nintendo Switches, cameras, drum machines, or anything else that uses the now almost-universal USB-C standard. It's not like you need that extra port as often as you once did.

On the other hand, with USB-C's imminent ubiquity as a charging standard, more ports are definitely merrier. It's likely you always have your laptop charger at least nearby, so now it doubles as a double-port charger for all your other gadgets. And because these are PD (Power Delivery) rated ports, they can put out enough juice for almost anything, although when they are both in use, you get less juice from the second port.

The Apple dual USB-C charging brick.


Add to this the fact that Apple and other makers have removed the USB chargers from their phone packages—all you get with a new iPhone is a USB-C-to-Lightning cable—and it makes even more sense. Why ship two chargers when you can ship one. It's hardly something that will make people switch to a Mac on its own, but Apple users get accustomed to all these little comforts, which makes us stick around. Plus, with only two USB-C ports on the side of the MacBook Air, it makes sense to have an extra for charging-only duties.

"Apple is once again ahead of their game on this one. Having a spare port would be more convenient and less hassle for users. If you need to charge your laptop and your phone at the same time, you can do so without having to find another charger," tech writer Joy Therese Gomez told Lifewire via email.

GaN Control

Why have chargers suddenly gotten so much smaller? It used to be that tiny charging bricks were relatively underpowered. Apple's own iPhone charger, for example, managed just five watts through its USB-A port and wasn't much smaller than third-party USB-C laptop chargers are today.

The answer is GaN, which has made chargers cool again. GaN chargers use gallium nitride instead of silicon to make critical components, which allows them to run cooler, and therefore be a lot smaller, and potentially live longer because of the lack of heat fatigue. GaN chargers are already an affordable, tiny alternative to big silicon-based bricks.

Another benefit of GaN's shrinking powers is that manufacturers can now fit two chargers into one space. Apple doesn't mention GaN on the page for the charger itself, nor on the product page for the MacBook Air, but it's a safe assumption based on the fact that it includes the qualities mentioned above.

An Anker Dual Charger sitting on a wood slice, on a book, that's on a table with a laptop, iPad, iPhone, and AirPods.


Third Party Party

The new 35W Dual USB-C Port Compact Power Adapter, as Apple calls it, comes as standard with the higher-spec 10-core GPU, 512GB SSD MacBook Air ($1,499). If you want it with the entry-level $1,199 model, it's a $20 add-on.

Or you could just forget the Apple charger and buy a GaN model from a third party. Anker, for example, has a range of GaN chargers with more power, more ports, and even mixed ports for powering old and new gadgets together.

This is one of the big advantages of USB-C for laptops. No longer do you need an expensive, proprietary charger for your computer. Thanks to USB-C, any PD-capable charger will do, and they are both cheaper and more varied than the first-party options.

So, while all computer chargers should probably come with two ports, it's also possible that you don't even need a charger for your MacBook, as you may already have a compatible one lying around. Welcome to the USB-C future.

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