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Gadget of the Week

Gadget of the Week: True power for smartphones

Now that handsets are sold without charging bricks, choice of charger and cable has become critical. Troo has come to the party, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

What is it?
If you’ve bought a “big-brand” smartphone in the past year, chances are it came with a cable, but no charging brick. The typical argument is that customers already have a charger from a previous handset, the usual excuse is that this is more environmentally friendly, and the real reason is that it saves the manufacturer costs. That often leaves the buyer looking for a charger, which can be a challenge when the cable in the box has the wrong USB plug-point. Most current phones use the new USB-C standard for their sockets, and the cable in the box is typically C-to-C. That means even charging bricks no more than 3 or 4 years old, designed with Type-A sockets for A-to-C cables, are suddenly useless.

The solution is a dual-charger, with both type A and C sockets, and alternative cables that will charge from an old brick to a new phone. That is exactly the solution now available from Troo, a South African brand of technology accessories that is best-known for its blue light filtering glasses. While Troo products are manufactured in China, they are made to the brand’s specifications, designed for the South African market. The chargers carry the Troo Certified stamp, meaning the company guarantees it has formally tested them. It makes dual charging units, containing both USB-A and C ports.

That isn’t the big story, though. Troo has for a while been selling dual 33W fast-charging units, similar to those from a brand called PowerUp, which has been selling 36W units in South Africa. The power is split across the two ports, meaning it delivers 18W per port. Now, Troo has released a 65W dual-charger, designed for smartphones that support fast-charging. That should include any current mid-to-high-range Android or iPhone handset. It offers the full charge through the Type-C port, and 18W via the Type-A port. This is the maximum available via Type-A cables, due to the limitations of the USB Power Delivery (PD) standard, designed for USB-C. PD supports charges of up 100W in its current version, while the next version is expected to support up to 240W.However, every step up in power also means a step up in price, and 65W/66W is likely to become an average for fast-charging, for now.
The Troo units offer an ideal balance of price and performance.

Our tests of the Troo 65W Power Adapter were heavily dependent on the charging cables used. Older USB A-to-C cables performed little better than with a regular charging brick. C-to-C cables partly cracked the code, and high-capacity Type-C cables went the rest of the way. When charging two devices at the same time, the Type-C port steps down to 45W, while the A port delivers 12W.

Troo has released several cables that fill the gaps in these requirements. A 2-meter USB A-to-C cable delivers the full 18W charge offered by the adapter via the USB A port. It is compatible with any adapter of up to 30W, and is also a data transmission cable, offering 480Mbps transfer of data.

It proved its worth when we had to test on-board tech on a new vehicle that was still fitted with Type-A USB ports, but demanded a cable connection to access Android Auto from a smartphone. When a standard A-to-C cable was used, the car refused to recognise that anything was plugged in. The moment we moved to the Troo cable, Android Auto kicked in seamlessly on the car’s infotainment system.

This tells us that it is not only a high-capacity cable, but also one that complies with rigorous – some would say finicky – specifications for compatibility. The same applies to Troo’s new 1-meter and 2-meter versions of a PD100W cable. The cables are compatible with any fast-charger up to 100W, and deliver the full power available from the adapter.

As with the charging adapter, all these cables carry a 5-year warranty.

What does it cost?
Troo PD 65W Dual Type-C and A adapter: R699 from
Troo PD 100W C-to-C 1m braided cable: R199
Troo 30W A-to-C 1m braided cable: R109

Why does it matter?
That 5-year guarantee is the clincher. It is only possible to offer such guarantees in products like these if they have been seriously stress-tested, and are built to exacting standards. Troo uses braided cable, which means the cable is braided into a tight spiral, making it more durable and less likely to be damaged. Notice those frayed ends just behind the plug of your old USB cables? Not if you’re using the Troo cables…

What are the biggest negatives?

  • The charging adapter is not a universal solution, in that it will provide fast-charging only so far as the hardware and software of the handset allows.
  • For some high-end smartphones, the 65W adapter charges at the same rate as a 33W brick.

What are the biggest positives?

  • A 5-year warranty, almost unheard of in this product category.
  • The charging adapter is compact and durable, the cables are tough.
  • Charges two devices at the same time, at speed.
  • Can also power a laptop.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of
Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee

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