Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 Review

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1
Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1

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

Model: A2017

Tech Specs:

  • 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
Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 box and contents

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 box and contents

Included In Box:

  • Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1

Good For:

  • Additional charger for home or work
  • Travel charger
  • Fast charging:
    • iPhone 8/X
    • USB-C PD Android phones
    • iPad Pro (pre-2018)
  • Power banks
  • Nintendo Switch (handheld)
  • 12-inch laptop
Top: Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1. Bottom: iPhone 5W USB charger.

Top: Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1. Bottom: iPhone 5W USB charger.

Pros:

  • Among the smallest USB-C PD chargers on the market
  • Uses GaN (gallium nitride), higher efficiency at a smaller size
  • Travel friendly size
  • Works worldwide with 100-240V power input (may need a plug adapter)

Cons:

First Impression

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

iPhone 8
iPhone 8 power meter

iPhone 8 power meter

iPhone 8 power negotiations

iPhone 8 power negotiations

The iPhone 8 fast charges when using a USB-C to Lightning cable. We see the usual power negotiations. Connection starts at 5V, then moves up to 9V. Learn more about fast charging iPhones.

Moto G6
Moto G6 power meter

Moto G6 power meter

Moto G6 power negotiations

Moto G6 power negotiations

The Moto G6 does regular charging via USB-C. This will be the same for Samsung and Quick Charge enabled Android phones. While the 9-10W provided is a decent charge, it isn’t fast charging. The Google Pixel and Android phones that support USB Power Delivery will fast charge on the USB-C port. Learn more about fast charging various Android phones.

Nintendo Switch
Switch gaming power meter

Switch gaming power meter

Switch sleeping power meter

Switch sleeping power meter

Switch power negotiations

Switch power negotiations

The Nintendo Switch charges at its max rate, charging while you play. Its charge rate while sleeping is also normal. While this charger offers 15V there isn’t enough current to power a docked Switch. That requires at least 2.6A, this tops out at 2A. Learn more about charging the Switch.

The PD protocol negotiation with the Switch is typical. It connects at 5V and moved up to 15V after negotiations. Current steps up once the 15V connection is made.

You can read my review of this charger specifically for the Nintendo Switch at Switch Chargers.

MacBook Pro, 13-inch
MacBook Pro 13-inch power meter

MacBook Pro 13-inch power meter

MacBook Pro 13-inch power negotiations

MacBook Pro 13-inch power negotiations

As a 30W charger it can support 12-inch laptops. The MacBook Pro 13-inch comes with a 60W charger, so this 30W charger is not a great option for it. But we can see it provides as much power as it can. And power negotiation is normal. It would extend battery life in a pinch. Learn more about charging USB-C laptops.

Compared To Similar Chargers

ChargerAnker PowerPort Atom PD 1Anker PowerPort Speed PD 30

Review
Apple 30W USB-C Power AdapterAUKEY PA-Y8 27W USB-C Quick Charger
Price$32.99$25.99$49$21.99
Output30W USB-C PD30W USB-C PD30W USB-C PD27W USB-C PD
PortsUSB-CUSB-CUSB-CUSB-C
FeaturesGaN tech
USB-IF Certified
Folding prongs
USB-IF Certified
Folding prongsFolding prongs
CableNo cableNo cableNo cableNo cable
Dimensions1.6 x 1.4 x 1.5 in
1.9 oz
2.3 x 2.4 x 1.1 in
3.6 oz
2.7 x 1.3 x 3.2 in
4.6 oz
2.2 x 2 x 1.1 in
2.6 oz

Prices are from Amazon Product Advertising API, last updated on 2019-08-24.

You can see more USB-C chargers here.

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 with Moto G6. Cable not included.

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 with Moto G6

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 with Nintendo Switch

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 with Nintendo Switch

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 with MacBook Pro 13-inch

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 with MacBook Pro 13-inch

GaN (gallium nitride)

GaN (gallium nitride) is a replacement for traditional silicon. 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.

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 specs

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 specs

GaN is not new. It 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. Since then Anker, AUKEY, Innergie, Mu, and RAVPower have all released GaN chargers. With more on the way.

There isn’t an output advantage for GaN chargers other than their increased efficiency. A 30W GaN charger charges as fast as a 30W silicon charger. And both heat up to similar temperatures. The difference is the GaN charger is smaller and lighter.

Costs have dropped over the years, but it is still more expensive than silicon. As such GaN chargers are usually priced at the high end of their peers. But the reduction in charger size can be significant. If you want the smallest and lightest charger possible GaN is it.

Those Prongs, Though

Reviews of 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.

Top: Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1. Bottom: Anker PowerPort Speed 1 USB-C.

Top: Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1. Bottom: Anker PowerPort Speed 1 USB-C.

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.

Summary

The Anker PowerPower Atom PD 1 is the first low cost GaN USB-C charger on the market. It is a good buy for those wanting a tiny charger without any performance loss. While it costs more for the GaN tech, it isn’t a significant increase in price.

Top: Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1. Bottom: AUKEY PA-Y18 18W PD.

Top: Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1. Bottom: AUKEY PA-Y18 18W PD.

As a 30W USB-C PD charger it can fast charge many small to medium sized USB-C devices. Up to a 12-inch laptop. It won’t fast charge Android phones that use Quick Charge or similar tech. But those with USB-C will charge at a decent rate.

The nearest size USB-C charger I’ve seen to Anker’s is the AUKEY PA-Y18 18W PD. It is smaller, lighter, and cheaper than the Anker Atom PD 1. But it is limited to 18W, which is good for phones and tablets but not small laptops.

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. Its current price is only $4 less than its much smaller sibling.

About Anker

Anker has U.S. based support (web, email, phone) and a 18 month warranty. They are a beloved brand within many USB-C communities.

Bottom Line

The Anker PowerPower Atom PD 1 is one of my recommended 12-inch laptop chargers. And it is great for any smaller USB-C PD device. There isn’t a significant cost increase for the GaN tech. And you’ll get over the non-folding prongs once you see how small it is in person.

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