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The Elecjet AnyWatt is a great but sketchy USB-C MacBook dongle

The Elecjet AnyWatt is a great but sketchy USB-C MacBook dongle

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Dongles are, as a general rule, terrible. Using them is bad, losing them is bad, from a design perspective they look bad — even the word “dongle” just sounds bad.

But for the past few weeks, I’ve been trying out Elecjet’s AnyWatt dongle — and it might just be good.

What is it?

The AnyWatt was a Kickstarter from earlier this year, but it’s actually shipping now for anyone who missed the campaign. It’s a dongle, designed (like many dongles are) for users who have made the jump to a USB-C device but still want to use their old cables. But the Anywatt isn’t for USB cables — it converts older laptop chargers into a spare charger for your newer devices.

The final version is a little more streamlined than the original, chunkier plastic one promised on the site and it comes in two models: one designed for Windows chargers (with an array of, you guessed it, more swappable dongles to make the various plugs match up) and one for Macs — specifically, one with Apple’s MagSafe adapter.

The good

The AnyWatt has a solid metal case that feels remarkably sturdy for a dongle. It also does what it says on the can, which is charge stuff, and none of my gadgets have burst into flames or exploded yet, so we’ll call that a win.

None of my gadgets have burst into flames or exploded yet

It outputs at a maximum of 60W, automatically adapts the voltage and current to offer the best charging experience, and it even supports USB-C PD. In theory, you plug in your MacBook charger and you get a USB-C charger that can charge basically anything. If you’re someone who’s made the jump to a newer MacBook Pro or other USB-C laptop and still have your old charger around, it’s a good way to get a spare on the cheap. Plus, if you’re someone who dislikes the fact that USB-C doesn’t automatically disconnect like MagSafe does, it’s also a hacky workaround to get that functionality back.

But the AnyWatt is just as appealing for someone like me, who doesn’t have a USB-C laptop but does have a bunch of USB-C gadgets I want to be able to charge. Crucially, the AnyWatt let me continue to play Mario Odyssey when I was visiting home for Thanksgiving weekend and forgot my Switch charger, which is also pretty large and bulky.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The bad

Remember that part where Apple doesn’t let people make licensed MagSafe charging things? Well, this is an unlicensed MagSafe charging thing. Add into that concerns over bad USB-C chargers, and it’s entirely possible that using the AnyWatt is a recipe for the kind of disaster I usually spend a lot of time warning you all to avoid when I write about this stuff.

Again, nothing bad has happened yet, but I can’t say that possibility hasn’t occurred to me.

Should you buy it?

Look, I really like the idea of the AnyWatt, especially when it comes to the MagSafe part of things. And at $23.99, it’s relatively cheap for the benefits it gives.

But the lack of any official sign off does have me a little concerned, especially with the already significant potential of things going wrong with USB-C. But if you’re willing to take the gamble, it’s definitely the best dongle I’ve used all year, at least conceptually.