There is nothing like shopping for a new charging cable for a laptop because you realized it was lost within transition while traveling around, or because one got damaged. Mostly because you are going to panic when you find out how much one of these OEM cables will cost you. Thankfully, many of today’s laptops are coming with the ability to charge via the USB-C port (including Windows, Mac, and ChromeOS models). This is where it can become quite useful to get your hands on something like the RAVPower 120W 4-Port Desktop USB Charging Station (model RP-PC146) that we get to talk about today.
Basically, desktop charging station options are a lot like a normal wall adapter with multiple ports. The only difference is it comes with an AC cord similar to your laptop’s cable that extends those ports to be placed on a desk service vs you having to bring the cables to the outlet on the wall. This means it can be more of a stationary solution.
What makes this a good one, is the fact that it can put out a total of 120W, which can cover a lot of devices, including your laptop. That is thanks to the fact that many laptops are now charging around the 45-65W range, making it easier for USB to be able to deliver just as well as a normal DC to AC connection/cable.
So as it is charging your laptop, you can also charge your tablet, smartphone, and maybe one other device depending on what kind of juice your laptop requires. Making this, possibly, a better option than carrying around the charging cable/brick that comes with your laptop. This charging station is less bulky, likely lighter in weight, and can multi-task.
The reason we chose to cover this one specifically was due to the max amount of wattage it can put out at once for its size and the fact that it does exactly that based on our testing of it. We have a lot of Dell laptops that require 65W to charge. Many of these USB-C solutions can climb up to 60W, which is good for many of these lower-power models, but that still puts us 5W shy of a proper charge during use. This model not only provides the full 65W (or more as a single USB-C port can provide up to 100W!) but continues to do so when you have other devices plugged in.
There are exceptions of course. For example, if you plug in two laptops, you’ll find yourself right back down to 60W per cable (assuming you aren’t trying to plug anything else in as well). This is to be expected, of course, if you do the simple math. I doubt I have to explain that much further, but I will provide you a chart here to better understand how “it” does the math (the various modes it switches through based on what devices are plugged in at once).
|USB-C – PD 60W; USB-C – PD 60W
|1x USB-C + 1x USB-A:
|USB-C – PD 100W; USB-A – QC 18W
|2x USB-C+ 1x USB-A:
|USB-C – PD 65W; USB-C – PD 45W; USB-A – 5V/2.4A
|All ports in use:
|USB-C – PD 65W; USB-C – PD 20W; USB-A – QC 18W ; USB-A – QC 18W
Another exception is the choice of cable. The USB-C to USB-C cable that comes with the charging station works perfectly. However, many other cables may not work so well. We have an unlimited number of cables spread about the office and very few of them could go above 60W. Although, this is a limit of the cables and not the charging station. The exception is that you have to pay close attention to the USB-C cables you buy to make sure they can handle above 60W. Usually, they will say rated for up to 100W when they can.
Thankfully, properly rated cables will (or at least, should) become more common as USB-C is getting a huge boost in max wattage capabilities by the end of the year for newer devices that can handle it.
The USB-A ports can provide up to 18W per port for smaller devices, and all of the ports support multiple voltages. Including 5V, 9V, and 12V (with the USB-C ports also supporting 20V).
It does come with a single USB-C to USB-C cable for your initial laptop or other mobile devices. Anything beyond that you will have to find yourself. Thankfully, you technically only need the one cable that can go above 60W, which makes it quite easy to find anything else you may need unless the cable may ride separate from the charger (then it helps to have more than one in case it isn’t around when you need it).
I think it is kind of obvious that we like this one. It delivers as it should and handles a high load pretty well without noticeably overheating. In fact, it is much cooler to the touch than most of the OEM laptop chargers you’ll find around here.
It is priced well for what it is and what it competes against. At the moment, many of these charging solutions are still a bit on the higher end of cost, but this one doesn’t soar past the competition or anything. We find a lot of 60W-limited options within the $50-$60 range, and some of these only have but a port or two. Some day you may find these for less, but for now, they seem to fit in just right (and still much less than an OEM charger in most cases).
It is smart, powerful, compact, and friendly. The only thing we could complain about was it didn’t have any rubber feet/strips to keep it from sliding around. So we found a few thin rubber strip feet and applied them ourselves. Now, it is a perfect product. A tip of the hat to RAVPower as very few products make it this high in our scoring process.
| Our Rating
| Average Price*
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- 120W Total Output
- 100W Power Delivery for Single Port
- 2 USB-C PD Ports + 2 USB A Ports
- Intelligent Power Allocation
- Advanced GaN II Tech
- Included 1 USB-C to USB-C Cable with E-Mark Chipset
- Keep your devices charged & desk organized
- Universal Compatibility: Almost all USB-charged devices such as PC, Tablets, Magsafe charger, Laptops, Phones
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.
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