GaN Charging, Simplified

Ever realize that your phone’s almost dead just as you’re heading out, or that your MacBook’s low on juice right before a long meeting? Or what about that gut-wrenching feeling when your AirPods run out of battery and you have to go about your day without your personal soundtrack?

With our array of devices always on hand, we’ve all encountered charging emergencies, calling for a charger that keeps up with the speed and efficiency of our modern lives with tech.

Recently, we’ve seen progress on that front with the introduction of multi-port charging hubs and the development of Power Delivery. But with so many options available, it’s hard to know which one’s best suited for your everyday needs.

All that’s solved with GaN – it’s your answer to everything. You might’ve heard the term popping up in connection to charging, as innovative tech set to change the way we power up. We’re inclined to agree, so let’s breakdown why.   

HOW DOES CHARGING WORK?

To fully appreciate how GaN is changing the charging game, we’re going back to basics. In short, charging is a chemical reaction. Our electronic device contains batteries that charge when a current passes through them, by converting raw electricity into power.

But as you may remember from Physics class, every energy transfer also releases energy that’s unusable. In the case of charging, electricity not converted into power is wasted as heat.

So since the rise of electronics, there’s been a search for a material that most efficiently converts electricity into power, with as little heat energy wasted as possible. Eventually, the industry landed on semiconductor transistors, with silicon as the go-to material because of its relative availability, low cost, and electrical conductive properties.

Though silicon’s been great so far, the problem now is that it’s approaching its full theoretical potential, and it looks like technological developments will soon outgrow silicon’s capabilities. This is where GaN steps in.

WHAT'S GAN AND WHY'S IT BETTER?

While only starting to be used in chargers, gallium nitride, or GaN, is a semiconductive material that’s actually been around for some time, having risen in popularity in the 90s for its use in LEDs. Remember Blu-ray? GaN powered the laser beams that read the DVDs.

GaN’s selling point when it comes to charging is its wide bandgap. A bandgap is the energy range where no electrons can exist in a material, which is related to how well electricity can be conducted. GaN’s bandgap is three times wider than silicon’s, so more energy is required to conduct electricity, meaning that GaN can withstand higher voltages and temperatures.

Long story short, GaN is better at conducting electricity. Here’s where all the magic happens.

GaN’s higher voltage capacity allows a stronger electrical current to pass through the charger faster, which in turn charges your device faster. At the same time, because of GaN’s greater thermal stability, less electricity is lost to heat and is instead converted more efficiently to power, so GaN chargers don’t need as much energy as silicon chargers do to deliver the same output. All in all, it’s faster and more powerful.

Because GaN chargers emit less heat, components of a GaN charger can safely be closer together without overheating – so not only are GaN chargers stronger and faster, but this can all be achieved in a smaller, more compact form.

Less heat emission also means that your GaN charger will last you a lot longer, and as we always say – buy less, but better.

HOW DO YOU BENEFIT FROM GAN?

The most visible benefit of a GaN charger is its size. Gone are the days of lugging around your laptop’s chunky power brick for a full day out and about. GaN tech unlocks more convenience with this new standard of pocket-sized power, a welcome development for the age of working from anywhere.

But of course, there’s more to it than being space-saving and travel-friendly. With its better conducting capabilities, most GaN chargers on the market – ours included – utilize USB-C Power Delivery, or PD. 

Like the benefits of GaN, PD’s main draw is how it makes everyday with tech faster and more efficient. PD incorporates the increasingly universal USB-C charging hub and supplies higher levels of power compared to standard chargers.

What does this mean for you? Well, just one GaN charger alone will be all you need for your entire range of devices, from your AirPods all the way to your MacBook. It’s streamlined charging like never before.

It’s faster, too. Integrating PD into GaN chargers enables fast-charging for compatible Type-C devices. Catering to life constantly on-the-go, you can fast-charge your iPhone up to 50% in under 30 minutes, and even fast-charge your MacBook with a PD-enabled cable, like our Desk Cable or Belt Cable Pro.

And what’s so special about the Native Union solution? For starters, like our other charging accessories, our GaN chargers come equipped with LED indicators. You’ll always know when you’re charging, solving the everyday frustration of plugging in your phone only to realize hours later that it’s still dead.

What’s more, our Fast GaN Charger PD 65W comes with two ports. Not only can you charge all your devices with one charger, but you can also charge them simultaneously. Fast-charge your MacBook while powering up your Snap 2-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charger, for a fully functional desk setup. All powered by a charger that fits in the palm of your hand.

WHAT'S THE FUTURE OF GAN?

If you look to the evolution of phones, computers, and TVs, the question that the industry continues to ask is how to get the same capabilities in infinitely smaller forms, how to achieve more with less. GaN puts power on the same track, giving the material the potential to stick around for a while.

More compact chargers are a start, but we can only imagine what’s to come. Will GaN replace silicon elsewhere, for example replacing the silicon chip in our devices? We’ll have to wait and see.

For now, we’re thrilled by this new development that makes our everyday with our devices a little bit better, a little more convenient every time.

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