Chargesap Zeus packs 270W international power into a small charger
I’ve noted before that gallium nitride (GaN) chargers are a game changer when it comes to how much power can be drawn from a compact PSU – and Chargeasap Zeus takes it to a whole new level.
This is an extremely portable charging brick that delivers a massive 270W total output power – up to 140W from a single port – and the bundled ultra-compact international plug adapter makes it a very convenient travel option…
If you’re traveling with your MacBook Pro, one option is to use it effectively as a travel charger. This is something I’ve done on a few trips, though not always a practical option, so I usually travel with one PSU (actually two, for reasons I’ll get to).
When Chargeasap sent me a prototype of the new Zeus 270W charger, I tried it on two trips – one to the US, the other to Europe – and I was impressed enough to make it my new standard travel charger.
As mentioned earlier, conventional power supplies are silicon based. Gallium nitride, or GaN, is an alternative semiconductor material, which offers three main advantages over silicon.
Their first many more efficient in conducting current. This means that you can put more power into a unit of the same size. Or, in other words, you can squeeze a lot of power capacity into a much smaller brick.
Second, because of lower energy loss, they generate less heat. That’s a good thing in general, as overheating is one of the easiest ways to power down tech devices, but it also goes to show that they don’t need bulky heatsinks like the ones here in silicon chargers. Therefore they can be more compact.
Third, this much better efficiency is better for the environment, with less energy being wasted as heat.
Chargesmoke Zeus: see and feel
The first thing you notice about the charger is how compact it is. It measures hair over 3.5 inches long by 2 inches wide and 1.7 inches deep. It’s less bulky than Apple’s 140W charger, at nearly double the power and four times the ports.
The prototype I received had a glossy white finish, but the company tells me that feedback from Indiegogo investors indicates a matte finish is preferable, so that will carry that change over to the production run.
The next most striking thing about the Zeus is the color OLED display, which is used to show the actual voltage and watts your device is drawing.
It must be said that the charger is heavy! It weighs 1.3 pounds, compared to half a pound for Apple’s 140W charger, but it’s a price worth paying to power all of my Apple devices simultaneously.
What stands out most about the Zeus specs isn’t just the impressive 270W of total power, but how it’s broken down. 140W available from just one of the USB-C outlets, for example, allowed my 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 Max to be fully powered for even the most demanding tasks.
- Dimensions: 90 x 42 x 50mm/3.54″ x 2.17″ x 1.96″
- Weight: 320g / (0.7 lb)
- Power Input: 100-240V~50-60Hz 3A
- Total output power: 270W
- Ports: 3x USB-C and 1x USB-A
- 140W USB-C1: 5~15V⎓3A / 20~28V⎓5A (PPS: 5~21V⎓5A)
- 100W USB-C2: 5~15V⎓3A / 20V⎓5A (PPS: 3.3~21V⎓5A)
- 100W USB-C3: 5~15V⎓3A / 20V⎓5A (PPS: 3.3~21V⎓5A)
- USB-A 36W: 4.5⎓5A / 5V⎓~4.5A / 5V⎓3A / 9V⎓3A / 12V⎓3A
- Protection: Over-current, over-voltage, over-temperature and short-circuit protection
The best thing about the used Zeus is that it really is one charger to do it all – but in one unit that’s compact enough to work well for powering both home and office.
I was able to fully power the 16-inch MacBook Pro, 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max without the devices approaching capacity.
This compactness is a significant advantage for me. I usually travel with two chargers. One main, powerful enough to power and charge all my devices, which I use in my local hotel room or apartment. But since these tend to be large, I also usually pack a second, smaller one for use on the trip itself – to feed seats on a train or plane.
That’s because there’s limited space in my seat, and I only need something with enough power to actively use one device at a time, and charge another or two. A typical example on a long haul flight is turning on my iPad while charging my iPhone and Apple Watch.
Chargeasap Zeus is the first time I’ve owned a charger that’s powerful enough for local use yet compact enough for in-flight use. For both trips I therefore only used one charger.
One thing I like about it is the very compact travel adapter that comes with it. Each slides in and out, and in between covers nearly every country in the world.
I plugged four cables into it anyway, so only one thing to get out of my bag. Here you can see it with my Apple Watch scale.
My MacBook Pro MagSafe cable, my USB-C cable for iPad, my MagSafe charger for iPhone and my Apple Watch charger plugged into it. I could keep things more compact by using shorter cables, but since chair-level power is often low to the floor, I feel the long cable provides the flexibility I need to power devices on my tray table, while charging devices positioned around me .
There is a potential downside to the compact size. All of my previous travel chargers had a figure eight power jack, which allows for shorter or longer power cords. With Zeus, the power supply itself has to be plugged into an outlet. This can limit flexibility and also indicates that the weight of the brick can potentially cause it to pop out of the socket, depending on the angle of the socket. I haven’t encountered this problem so far. This includes use of every other aircraft, two trains, four lounges, two hotel rooms, and several different cafes.
Chargesmoke Zeus: conclusion
It’s rare to find a power supply with enough capacity and ports to keep all my Apple devices powered and fully charged. It’s unheard of to get so much power in a device that’s actually more compact than Apple’s MacBook Pro 140W power supply!
As someone who is completely assimilated to USB-C, I’d ideally like to see all four ports adopt this, rather than three of four. Because of this, it’s very useful to have one USB-A port available for all those friends who may be carrying old cables and need to borrow power to charge their phones. Indeed, I can help the man next to me in the cafe this way.
The display is the icing on the cake here, letting you see live power consumption for each of your devices.
Simply put, the combination of power and portability means I can trade two travel chargers for one – and this one is now in my carry-on bag.
The Chargeasap Zeus 270W GaN charger is available for pre-order on Indiegogo, with early bird prices starting at $129. While we are wary of covering crowdfunded projects, as not all of them submit, Chargeasap has an excellent track record, and certainly the prototype I tested (one in 50) proved it worked.
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