If you’ve ever had to lug laptops around a plane, office, or (heaven forbid) a crowded convention center, you’re undoubtedly well acquainted with the unwieldy chargers that accompany them. Few chargers are as bulky, hefty, and generally awkward as the computer-compatible variety, and that’s why Menlo Park, California-based FINsix set out to create an alternative: the world’s smallest laptop charger.
The firm released the fruit of its labor, the Dart, last year, with support for devices including Apple’s MacBook, the MacBook Pro, Dell’s XPS 13, the Lenovo ThinkPad 13, and the Asus Zenbook3. But there was a problem: it didn’t support the burgeoning Type-C standard. On Tuesday, that changed.
FINsix announced a new version of the Dart that includes support for the requisite USB Type-C standard. The improved Dart, appropriately dubbed the Dart-C, is a 65-watt laptop charger that the company said is up to four times smaller and lighter than traditional laptop chargers. Uniquely, it allows for simultaneous charging of another device like a phone or tablet.
It’s the dream, really: a compact, single laptop charger compatible with some of the most popular machines on the market. It, like the outgoing Dart, can cycle up to 1,000 times faster than a typical laptop power brick, which speeds up charging.
“With Dart-C, we continue to lighten the load for travelers who want to power up with style and reliability,” FINsix CEO Vanessa Green said in a press release. “The DART family’s newest member demonstrates our ongoing commitment to provide a new class of the smallest and lightest high-performance power electronics to meet the needs of the mobile consumer.”
We had a chance to play around with the predecessor Dart earlier this year, and we came away impressed. The charger features a curved aluminum unibody that seems likely to withstand more than a few bumps and bruises. Like the new Dart-C, it sports a secondary 2.1A USB port that allows you to charge a phone or tablet simultaneously — a feature that worked without a hitch.
The Dart-C will be available on FINsix’s website and through other resellers for $100, starting in January. Among the choices in color are gunmetal, magenta, orange, and silver.
If that sounds a little pricey, you’re right. Apple’s USB-C wall adapter delivers more power (87 watts) for less ($80), and Google’s 60-watt universal Type-C adapter retails for $60. But neither supports the ability to charge more than one device at once.
Also, the company isn’t leaving first-generation Dart owners in the cold. It’s making an accessory cable available to previous Dart owners for $35.
FINsix, a spinout from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology LEES Laboratory, has done well for itself. Since successfully launching the first-generation Dart on Kickstarter, the firm has attracted investment from venture capital firms, including Cornwall Capital, Venrock Associates, Cranberry Capital, Apple Core Holdings, and Marubun Corporation.
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