Kovol 120W USB Power Delivery Charging Mate Review
For the past few years, we’ve taken a keen interesting in charging standards, as they are quietly revolutionizing a major pain point in the growth of the electronics market: the proliferation of proprietary chargers and power supplies! With every new product, there is the potential for a new cable, connector, and wall wart, which none of us want, so the emergence of the universal USB data cable standard (first micro-USB, now Type-C) as a potential universal charging cable standard offered a ray of hope to enthusiasts with drawers full of obsolete or mismatched power supplies. But one more step was required: the chargers had to change too!
The USB Implementers’ Forum (USB-IF) started with a capable 60W Power Delivery standard via USB Type-C for laptops, as there were already existing lower-power standards for phones set by Qualcomm, and others, and generally speaking, those already use the USB cable standard. Laptops, however, can scale well beyond 60W, and the latest standard is 100W, which is what we’re testing here in the form of the Kovol 120W Charging Mate. Still, there’s a bit of a mismatch, as there are few laptops that require this much power that also have USB Type-C charging port, Apple’s high-end Macbooks being among them. So in our testing, we’re going to do some more nuanced testing, including getting into how a 120W charger can exist in a world where 100W is the max standard!
In our YouTube review, we provide a close-up look at the Charging Mate, discuss how it fits into the Power Delivery standard, and perform charging benchmarks. Catch it all here:
Kovol offers an impressive product with the Charging Mate, pushing the current Power Delivery spec to its max. The 100W output on a single Type-C port is great on its own, but the power split of 60W/60W offers even more overall output, and may be a better match for laptops on the market today.
There were just two major drawbacks we noted. First, the size and weight of the device, which is a drawback for people looking to lighten their travel bag. Second, we wish that using two Type-C ports and a Type-A port didn’t drop the Type-C ports down to 45W/45W. A more intelligent split would be 60W/40W/18W, and then when all four ports were in use, 45W/45W/15W/15W, as the device splits currently.
Of course, there’s more to come in the Power Delivery standard, with the promise of up to 240W on the horizon. We look forward to seeing how manufacturers will offer that much power output in a portable, universal form!