Sunday, 21 Oct 2018

NewerTech NuPower 60W USB-C charger, more news

Some time ago, we wrote about receiving the NewerTech NuPower 60W USB-C charger. We were quite curious about this charger, since the prime seller, OWC, is heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem and does some genuine innovation as well. So we ordered the NuPower charger from one of their resellers in Europe and the first one had to remain untested because it seemed have a loose cover on the AC end. After notifying the reseller, we received a replacement and tested it with the 2016 15″ MacBook Pro with TouchBar that we have here.

Alas, the charger doesn’t work with the 15″ version. After plugging in, the MacBook keeps playing the chime sound, as if the charger is repeatedly connected/disconnected. After some research, it turns out that we could’ve known this. On the OWC website, on the NuPower product page, there is a compatibility tab. And indeed, it’s stated that this charger is not compatible with the 15″. It’s easy to overlook this, especially because the various resellers in Europe don’t display any such warning.

Some more testing

The whole idea of USB-C is really that you can connect any charger to any device. As the end user, it’s supposed to be a care-free experience. The device and charger negotiate between the two of them. We were quite disappointed that this is not working with the NewerTech NuPower charger. And we aren’t the only one. GTrusted came to the same conclusion and collected the USB-PD (Power Delivery) packets. On Google Plus, Nathan K. has also done some analysis based on that traffic. He concludes: “If this was a traffic accident, and I was the cop, I’d attribute blame 90% to NewerTech, 2% to Apple, and 8% to the USB-IF for poorly defined language about edge cases in their spec.”

On the plus side, GTrusted tested the charger for the 2016 13″ MacBook Pro and it works fine. They also added an unboxing gallery.

Conclusion: a look inside

We contacted the reseller for a refund and they asked us send everything back. While packing the first charger we received (the one with the build issue), we disconnected the AC cord and accidentally pulled out the whole inner body. We can’t help but show a picture of this!

NewerTech NuPower

See also this gallery on imgur for a higher-resolution version of the above images.