The 135W Extreme Charge Station from ZeroLemon, a fairly established charger brand, promises to charge up to 6 power hungry devices simultaneously, including a high end USB-C laptop like a 15” MacBook Pro. It is mainly geared towards Apple users, but only the magnetic Apple Watch charger is specifically for Apple devices. The wireless charging pad, 2 USB-C and 2 USB-A charging ports will work with any device you may have,
It’s an interesting proposition, and could be especially handy for travel, where taking several chargers isn’t always practical. But how well does it work, and can it justify its $99 price tag.
Inside the unbranded box you get the charger itself, a standard figure-8 power cable, a mesh, padded soft case and a user manual. Disappointingly at this price, there are no supplied charging cables.
The standard power lead makes it convenient for travel: you could use this lead with a travel adaptor, or you could just get hold of a lead with the correct plug already on it.
It’s not particularly light weight though at 371g and not all that compact either at 140mm x 100mm x 33mm. But it’s still most likely smaller and lighter than carrying your separate chargers.
It’s well made and the top section has a matte, grippy, rubberised finish that does mark easily and sits on a slightly smaller metal base with 4 rubber feet that rocked very slightly on my unit.
The top has a 10W wireless charger that will charge any Qi compatible device – that is to say almost any current device that can charge wirelessly. Beside it is a slightly recessed magnetic dimple for charging an Apple Watch at 3W.
At the front from left to right, is a voltage status light that I’ll cover shortly, a USB-C port that will charge up to 87W, and another one that will charge up to 20W. Both these ports use the standardised Power Delivery protocol.
Then there are two USB-A ports that can charge at up to 5V/3A or 15W between them – so not at the same time. These don’t use any fast charging standard unfortunately, like Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, that many Android phones support.
If you add up all those spec’ed wattages it does indeed come to 135W.
Finally there’s the power button with a green led below it.
There’s venting around the sides and back as well as the power socket..
Testing the charger
To test out the Extreme Charge Station, I plugged a 15” MacBook Pro into the first USB-C port. This laptop comes with a 87W dedicated charger itself, matching the billed capability of this port. Into the second USB-C port I plugged in a 10.5” iPad Pro that supports fast charging up to 30W with a USB-C to Lightning cable. This port supports up to 20W.
In the first USB-A port I plugged in a Samsung Galaxy S7 which will support fast charging via Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 which the ZeroLemon doesn’t support. But it should still charge at a decent speed. I plugged in a budget UGREEN power bank into the second USB-A port that will fast charge up to 5V/3A over its USB-C input – the full capability of the USB-A ports combined.
I then placed an iPhone X on the wireless charging pad and an Apple Watch Series 4 with the latest 6.0.1 software on the magnetic charger. With a sports band you can lay it flat on the charger and the magnet is strong enough to commence charging. With a sports loop, you can turn the strap inside out to charge it on the flat surface.
Unfortunately my Apple Watch wouldn’t charge. It would chime and look like it’s charging for up to 10 seconds or so, then chime again like charging was again being initiated. This cycle continued indefinitely. I thought maybe the watch wasn’t sitting flush on the charger so removed the strap which proved ineffectual. I also tried charging the watch with nothing else connected which also made no difference. This worked with the Apple Watch Series 4 on the previous version of Watch OS – version 5, so it looks like something in Apple’s update has broken charging on third party devices. ZeroLemon were a little vague on this issue, and said the new upgraded version won’t have this problem, but I’d only just been received this unit straight from ZeroLemon.
I’ll report back in the comments of the YouTube video if a future Apple Watch update fixes this issue, or if I get hold of a newer version of the Charge Station that doesn’t have this problem.
I’ll discuss the results I got in more detail shortly, but the issue with the Apple Watch aside, all devices connected were charging simultaneously and the temperature of the unit didn’t get much over 30° Celcius. Unfortunately keeping the unit cool is noisy. There are two small fans that draw in air for the side vents, and exhaust the warm air out the rear vents. These don’t run continuously but kick in frequently, sometimes for a short time. Even with just one device connected the fans turned on more than I’d expect and they are quite distracting. It’s a shame ZeroLemon couldn’t have developed a passive cooling solution. Even without the fans coming on, there was noticeable mains hum too. You can hear the fan noise in the video at the top of the page.
The iPhone X charged wirelessly just fine. Like most of these Qi chargers you need to be careful with placement, lining up the middle of the phone with the charger. The iPhone X can only charge at up to 7.5W which I confirmed using an energy monitoring plug. The Samsung Galaxy S7 supports fast charging up to the pad’s maximum 10W which I also confirmed and the phone’s display states it’s fast charging wirelessly.
Being able to charge a power hungry laptop like a 15” MacBook Pro is one of the charger’s big selling points, and this worked fine. With a USB tester I measured up to 60W with the charger automatically switching to 20V and adjusting the current depending on the laptop’s requirements. I didn’t quite get the full 87W of the laptop’s dedicated charger in my tests, but it was still enough to charge and use the laptop at the same time.
There’s a nice display to the left of the first USB-C port that indicates the voltage the port is supplying, either 5, 9, 12, 15 or 20V. This is handy to confirm that your device is indeed fast charging, without having to use a USB tester!
So if I plug in an iPhone X that supports fast charging over USB-C Power Delivery with the optional USB-C to Lightning cable, it jumps up to 9V from 5V and draws up to 2A or 18W depending on the iPhone’s remaining battery. This can be 2.5 faster than using the supplied 5W charger, charging a flat iPhone from 0 to 50% in around 30 minutes.
If I charge an iPad Pro that supports up to 30W, it jumps to 15V at up to 2A for fast charging at 30W, again around 2.5 faster than using the supplied 12W charger.
Unfortunately the second port doesn’t have any voltage indicator, but does also support fast charging up to 20W, and I did indeed get close to this even with the MacBook Pro using the first port, charging the iPad Pro at 12V drawing roughly 1.5A. An iPhone was able to charge at its maximum 18W using this port.
There are more and more devices that support fast charging over these standardised USB-C Power Delivery ports including GoPro’s and the Nintendo Switch to name just two.
The USB-A ports as I briefly mentioned earlier don’t support any fast charging standard where the voltage can be adjusted dynamically. Ideally I would have really liked Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0 support that many devices use. And the two USB ports share their output, so for the fastest charging you’ll generally need to connect just one device at a time. You can still use both ports, they just won’t charge as fast.
On its own, I was still able to charge the Samsung Galaxy S7 at 5V / 1.75A or around 9W, not the close to 15W fast charge I could get with the cheap UGREEN power bank that does support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge. And I was able to get almost the full 15W or 3A at 5V, connecting the UGREEN power bank that supports this input over its USB-C charging port. But devices like this aren’t so common.
The ZeroLemon Extreme Charge Station could be very useful to a lot of people, especially Apple users. It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t get the magnetic charger to work with my Apple Watch. And even worse if this turns out to be a hardware limitation with Apple’s latest Watch OS release. As I mentioned earlier, I’ll provide an update in the comments of the YouTube video.
And this is no fault of the charge station itself, but only the Apple Watch charging component is Apple specific since Apple frustratingly use a proprietary charging standard. The wireless charger and all the USB charging ports will work fine with any device. Most newer Android devices and lots of other gadgets now use USB-C fast charging as do many newer laptops like Dell’s XPS 13 and HP’s Spectre; and will all work fine with this charger.
I did find the fans quite noisy and I feel for the retail price it would have been nice to get at least one USB-C cable included. I would also have liked the USB-A ports to support a fast charging standard.
But overall if the issue with Apple Watch charging is resolved, and you can put up with some fan noise, for the overall convenience of having just one charger that almost does it all, the ZeroLemon is worth considering. Even more so if you travel a lot.
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