Review: Anker PowerPort III Nano Compact Travel Charger & Anker Powerline+ III USB-C to Lightning Cable

As I pointed out in my iPhone 12 Pro review, Apple made the decision to ditch the charging brick in the box of their latest phone. Their rationale for doing this was that they were saving the environment because they want you to recycle your existing charging brick. But that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because the included cable is a USB-C to Lightning. That means you need to buy a USB-C power brick to use it. Now I guess you could use a USB-A to Lightning cable along with a USB-A charger that you might have lying around. But then your new iPhone will charge very slowly. The bottom line is that this move by Apple smells like a cash grab more than anything else. That’s led me to try out two products from Anker:

Let’s start with the Anker PowerPort III Nano Compact Travel Charger:

This is a tiny 20W charger. To give you a perspective, here’s what it looks like next to the super slow Apple 5W charger:

It’s a tiny bit smaller and a touch heavier than the Apple offering. But given that the Anker product is 20W via USB-C, it will charge your phone way faster:

Now over to the cable. Fast charging is partially determined by the wattage of the charger, whether the charger supports protocols like Power Delivery and Quick Charge, and the quality of the cable that is in use. That’s where the Anker Powerline+ III USB-C to Lightning Cable comes in:

As you can see, it’s a braided cable which tend to be more durable than non braided cables:

A close look at the cable reveals the braiding as well as the molded ends to increase durability. That’s important as Apple’s own cables have a reputation for breaking at the ends.

So, how well does this combo work? Well, since the Anker PowerPort III Nano Compact Travel Charger supports both Quick Charge and Power Delivery, it should charge my iPhone 12 Pro quickly. Anker says I should get 50% of a charge in 30 minutes. To test that, my wife offered up her iPhone XR and let me charge using this combo.

Now some of you might be saying “wait, isn’t this a story about fast charging the iPhone 12?” Well, the fact is that according to this any iPhone from the iPhone 8 onwards supports fast charging. Which to Apple means a 50% charge in 30 minutes if you have a compatible charger and a USB-C to Lightning cable. Which means the iPhone XR is an acceptable test bed. I charged the iPhone XR from 25% to 67% in 30 minutes using this combo. That’s a 42% gain. iPhones tend to throttle back their charge rates when the battery goes above 50%. And it really throttles back once it hits 80%. All of this is meant to save your battery. Thus If this phone was completely dead, I can see that this charger and cable would be able to get you a 50% charge in 30 minutes.

So what does this combo cost? Here’s the Canadian and US dollar prices:

If you’ve just got a iPhone 12 variant and you need a charger because Apple is too cheap to put one in the box, or you want to fast charge whatever phone you have, the Anker PowerPort III Nano Compact Travel Charger & Anker Powerline+ III USB-C to Lightning Cable is worth a look.

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