Ugreen Nexode 140W charger review: good for 16-inch MacBook Pro owners

Lately, I’ve had this idea of ​​crafting separate ready-made tech backpacks that make me feel prepared for any unpleasant situation. One of those bags would be my light pack containing a laptop and a small Nintendo Switch kit, minimal cables, a battery bank, a mini tool kit and, very importantly, a charging brick that can power any gadget I throw at it.

Ugreen’s 140-watt Nexode charger is a strong contender to be that charging brick. It’s a three-port GaN charger with folding edges and charges up to 140W for a single USB-C device. Its ability to charge a device at this speed is due to its support for the relatively new Power Delivery 3.1 (or PD 3.1) protocol.

The Nexode doesn’t support the state-of-the-art PD 3.2, but Ugreen is kind enough to include a 1.5m braided USB-C cable that supports future 240W devices. But the Nexode supports just about any other USB-C protocol you might use , including Samsung’s largely fast-charge friendly PPS, Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0 Plus (and 3.0 / 2.0) and even Huawei’s SuperCharge (SCP and FCP).

This makes it a good match for my lightweight backpack because it should support almost any device I might come across in the office or elsewhere and be able to charge multiple devices at once. I also need it to support Apple’s newest 16-inch MacBook Pro, which is one of the few devices on the market that supports 140W charging — though you’ll need to use Apple’s MagSafe 3 to USB-C cable to get this speed.

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In terms of portability, Ugreen says the Nexode is “20 percent smaller” than Apple’s 140W charger, and it certainly looks that way, as the Nexode is closer to the dimensions of Apple’s 60 / 61 / 67W bricks. The Nexode is about 3 by 3 by 1.4 inches and weighs about 14 ounces, while the Apple 140W charger is larger but lighter, at about 3.8 by 3 by 1.1 inches and about 9.8 ounces.

I tested the Nexode at full speed with my 16-inch MacBook Pro. Starting the charge from 33 percent, it estimated a full charge in 1 hour and 20 minutes. After 31 minutes, the MacBook Pro rose to 91 percent and updated its estimate to 29 minutes until fully charged. Nexode is fast.

But Nexode’s speed unlocked another form of energy: heat. This brick got almost uncomfortably hot. Even our resident laptop reviewer Monica Chin was surprised at how warm it felt — and she’s handled several charging bricks. I could smell the Nexode — that’s how warm it got.

In a second 140W charge test, I found the Nexode to get as hot as 124 degrees Fahrenheit using an infrared thermometer — and it didn’t smell much that time. I also took the temperature of Apple’s 140W charger, which is also based on GaN, and it only warmed to 99 degrees.

During general multi-port use, however, the Nexode didn’t run as hot. A 140W device can only be fully charged when it is plugged in just your MacBook Pro (or any PD 3.1 device). Roger Wan, Ugreen’s director of public relations, told me that the Nexode is designed to reduce power to avoid overheating when the temperature reaches 95 degrees Celsius (203 degrees Fahrenheit) — and will resume charging once it returns to 75 degrees Celsius (167 degrees Fahrenheit). .

With a MacBook Pro connected to the C1 port (the only one that supports 140W), I connect a pair of AirPods Max to the USB-A port. Then the MacBook Pro said it was charging at 100W, down from 140W. I then plugged in an Apple Watch USB-C charger (the newest generation) and put in an Apple Watch Series 7 – when the MacBook Pro said it was charging it was down to 65W. I also noticed when plugging/unplugging devices into the charger, there is a delay of about five to seven seconds before the Nexode redistributes power.

The super power user/video editor will probably need to have a dedicated power brick that isn’t interrupted by extra devices like their smartphone. For my needs, Nexode serves me well. It can even power a Nintendo Switch dock for TV operation while simultaneously charging two pro controllers — although it would black out the TV screen for up to 10 seconds when plugging in / unplugging.

At Ugreen’s list price of $149, the Nexode is on the expensive side. That amount could get you Satechi’s 200W charger which has twice as many ports as the Nexode and can support 140W non-stop charging, along with a second 20W device connected. (Though we haven’t tried that yet.) Or you could buy an additional 140W charger from Apple for $99, which leaves you some money to buy a few more bricks for your other devices.

But as is often the case with these kinds of products, list price is rarely what you have to pay to get one. At the time of writing, Amazon is selling the Nexode for around $90, a much more attractive price that’s also cheaper than Anker’s 140W single-port charger. And if the goal is to carry light with the large 16-inch MacBook Pro, Ugreen has a very good option here with the Nexode.

Photo by Umar Shakir / The Verge

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