There’s a silent battle happening in cafes, offices, and even your own home. It’s about who lays claim to the valuable power outlets. As we carry more electronics with us and the ball and chain of a regular office desk are unshackled, it’s only natural that demand outweighs supply. (And good luck finding three separate outlets at the airport for your laptop, phone, Kindle, and camera.) Zolt’s Laptop Charger Plus, a pocket-friendly adapter, seeks to make it a little easier to power up multiple devices at the same time.
The Laptop Charger Plus features three USB ports and a plug that rotates 90 degrees to make it easier to squeeze into tight power strips and wall outlets. It’s capable of drawing 70 watts of power, which is enough to charge a laptop, phone, and tablet at the same speed as if they were individually plugged into their factory adapters.
When CEO Dinesh Ramanathan founded Zolt, it wasn’t in the electronic power-adapter business; rather, he and his team were thinking about how to make power supplies within electronics smaller and more efficient and the product came after.
“How we do it is we run these power supplies at much higher frequencies than what exists in the marketplace today,” Ramanathan says. “If you look at a switch or router from Cisco, there’s a power system inside. We said, let’s look at it as from the perspective of a power supply by itself with no ancillary thing attached to it. The first things that came to mind are the bricks we carry around for laptops. We thought, let’s look at this brick and figure out how small we can make it.”
Zolt worked with Fuseproject on the industrial design concept and through research found that the product would be most useful for people if they could plug three different devices in to it. (With more ports, it would become more complicated.) It’s capable of drawing about 70 watts of power at once. As Ramanathan explains, an average laptop draws about 45 watts, a tablet draws 12, and a phone draws about five, which is why the devices can charge per normal. Things slow down when you try to plug in electronics that try to pull more than 70 watts combined. If that happens, the Zolt automatically distributes power to where it’s needed most, meaning the device with the lowest charge.
Zolt plays nice with any region’s power standards, and while the company initially thought the adapter’s most obvious utility would be for people who travel a lot, they’ve found broader appeal.
“Everyone at home wants to plug their devices into something small and elegant,” Ramanathan says.
Pre-order the Zolt Laptop Charger Plus from gozolt.com for $100. Shipping starts November 17.