Update April 22, 2017: Please see the important note below regarding a possible safety concern raised with this power supply.
For years I’ve had a second power adapter (or two) to use with my notebooks. The move to USB-C meant I needed to buy all new power adapters for my MacBook Pro, which came with some pros and cons. Apple sells a 61W USB-C Power Adapter for my 2016 13" MacBook Pro for $69.00. However, if you want all the features that came with previous Apple adapters you’ll have to add on a USB-C Charge Cable at a cost of $19.00 and a Power Adapter Extension Cable for another $19.00. This seems more than a little excessive.
Thankfully with the move to USB-C, third party options are now available. I found the NewerTech NuPower 60W USB-C Power Adapter available from Other World Computing. The NuPower adapter provides up to 60W of power to charge the USB-C hardware and has a USB-A port with up to 12W for charging. This means I can charge my MacBook Pro and an iPhone or iPad simultaneously.
Even better, the NuPower adapter includes a 0.5 m (18 in) USB Type-C to Type-C cable and has a 1.8 m (6 ft) two-prong power cable which practically eliminates the needs for the two $20 accessories that Apple requires. All this for less than Apple charges for their power brick. the NuPower adapter retails for $59 but currently can be bought from OWC for $49.
There are a few disadvantages to the NuPower adapter, but I’ve found them to be minor. First, the NuPower adapter provides only 60 watts of power. Apple’s charger provides 61 watts. This difference is negligible when charging a 13“ MacBook Pro. However, if you also are charging an iPhone are iPad that device will take priority and can draw up to 12W and thus will result in longer charge times for a 13” MacBook Pro. Although the NuPower adapter will work with a 15" MacBook Pro, it’s probably not a great option as that machine requires 87W. Glenn Fleishman wrote a review for Macworld where he dives into more detail.
Overall, the price point, USB-C and USB-A charging capacity and included cables made the NuPower a good fit as my second power adapter. For now, the Apple power adapter that shipped with my MacBook Pro stays plugged in at my desk while the NuPower is in my travel bag.
Update April 22, 2017: Since posting this review Thomas Wong on twitter has pointed me to this YouTube video posted by Nathan K which raises concerns that the NuPower 60W USB-C adapter may be unsafe. As of this update, OWC is still selling the product. They responded to the YouTube Video stating "We take this type of issue very seriously and have gone back to re-test 100% of this product. Customer safety and reliability are our top priorities..." OWC in a follow-up comment claims "We have tested 100% of the products and confirmed that this products [sic] is safe and reliable."
Since I wrote and posted this original review I have had one instance where the NuPower 60W USB-C Power adapter had issues charging my 13" MacBook Pro unless I "fiddled" with the connections. At the time I attributed it up to a poor connection with the outlet I was using. After viewing Nathan's video, it's possible my issue could have been a short in the connector.
I'm going to reach out to OWC regarding this issue and my own adapter and will follow-up if additional information becomes available. I've always had great experiences with OWC for their customer support and quality products. I hope if there are issues with this product they will do the right thing. For now, I encourage you all to do your own due diligence before purchase and will withhold any recommendation.
This article first appeared in the March, 2017 Issue of ScreencastsOnline Monthly Magazine. ScreenCastsOnline monthly magazine is packed with hints, tips, articles and links to streamable versions of ScreenCastsOnline tutorials and delivered monthly. Find our more at https://www.screencastsonline.com/membership_benefits