Review: VOLTME 140W PD 3.1 GAN charger

The specifications war in the charging world never ceases to amaze me. And this is the next step, for 2023. 

Freed from the shackles of users charging via whatever came in their phone or laptop's box (since they often don't have anything), third party power solutions have prospered in recent years. I hadn't heard of VOLTME before but I'm impressed by this, the highest rated mains charger I've ever owned.

Especially with the (bulky) UK three pin plug variant here, this isn't the smallest charger on the block, but given the capability I think some bulk can be excused. It's a shame, mind you, that the mains pins aren't a bolt on for international travelling, i.e. have UK or USA or EU mains pins on adapters which can be snapped on - as this would qualify as a perfect travel companion. Oh well.

So we're essentially talking a 'home office' or perhaps domestic travel gadget, one accessory that can charge up to three things at once and with substantial power capability. OK, so you'll have to bring along your own Type C cables, at least, and also make sure they're man enough to carry up to (in theory) 140W, but at least it's one less 'brick' to pack in the briefcase or have using up spaces in your plug bay.

So yes. 140W, in theory delivered over one cable to one device. Gulp. There are no compatible cables on the VOLTME site, as I write this, but there are plenty of 240W-rated cables on most online stores, plus 100W ones will almost certainly work too, just be watchful when maxing things out that nothing gets too hot.

Happily, very few 2023 devices require this much power to charge, so you'll be fine. Plus, as you might guess, if you've got more than one thing plugged in at a time then the 140W gets divided up as appropriate. The various combinations are illustrated on the side of the charger:

It's a good thing that the inputs are enumerated here because the tiny leaflet in the box is almost impossible to find, tucked behind the box's cardboard. But the photo above gives you everything you need to know.

We have two USB Type C ports at 140W and 100W maximums, plus a USB-A port at 22.5W. Then various combinations, as listed above, with power divided and slightly reduced.

All rather splendid though. Back in the day I had a dozen different mains bricks for various things plugged in behind my desk, and thanks to this and a couple of other 'multi' port chargers, far fewer three pin sockets are needed. Plus, when I do travel, in the UK at least, I could just bring this and a handful of cables and be able to charge everything I own, including laptops and tablets.

Above the ports is a logo-shaped status LED, indicating that mains power is coming into the charger - this stays on when this is the case - I guess if it bothers you (it didn't me) then you could put tape over it?

Black plastic and a very slightly wonky USB-A port (which still works) don't scream 'premium' but note that there's also a white version in the UK, which might feel a little 'Apple' and which you might prefer. I did wonder if metal might be a possibility (especially at the price), but then perhaps black plastic better in terms of general heat transfer - 140W of converted power, even with GaN tech, is going to result in quite a bit of wasted heat dissipation. That's physics!

Pricing is a tricky consideration. You can disregard the slightly silly RRP of £120 on Amazon UK, since there are always discounts and promo codes available if you hunt around. My gut feel is that this hardware, with its capabilities, should retail around the £80 mark. And, although I can't quite get it that low, I did find 20% off until the end of March 2023 in the USA and until the end of April 2023 in the UK:

So, with this promo code, it's £96 in UK money, including VAT. It's still a little pricey, but hey, it's the bleeding edge of charging tech, so you pay for the privilege - if you need 'all the Watts', then go on, maybe treat yourself?

PS. In fairness, I also looked around and found a few other 140W chargers at different prices. No doubt they have the same engineering roots in Chinese OEMs (just with different styling and packaging), so do shop around. The VOLTME accessory is the only one I've tried - and, full disclaimer - the company sent it to me without charge for review purposes.

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