Tested: Case-Mate’s Fuel Brites USB-C Charger merges 30W GaN tech with translucent designs

2 months ago 49

Earlier in the month, Case-Mate revealed its new USB-C charger lineup that arrive to deliver a unique twist on your typical wall adapter. Sporting four different retro colorways that all sport translucent casings to show off the 30W power tech inside, the new Case-Mate Fuel Brites Charger lineup merges modern function with turn of the century form-factors. I was instantly hooked on the designs and am checking out just how these new chargers stack up down below.

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Hands-on with the new Case-Mate Fuel Brites retro charger

Case-Mate’s latest charger just hit the scene and arrives with a build that shines the spotlight equally on form and function. As for the feature set, you’re looking at a fairly capable USB-C wall adapter that arrives with 30W PD tech inside. The Gallium Nitride design is something we’ve seen pretty much all of the big players in the space adopt, and in this case it comes backed by USB-C PD 3.0 certification.

Backed by the industrial design firm Discommon who applied their expertise to the project, the new Fuel Brites Charger from Case-Mate is also delivering a much more eye-catching design than the average wall adapter. Available in four different colors, the charger sports a retro translucent shell that’s reminiscent of those old school electronics from the late 1990s and early 2000s. But are they worth $29.99 each? We’re taking a closer look.

Here’s a closer look at the spec sheet:

30W Output PD 3.0 USB-C Charging Interface Colorful Translucent design High Speed Charging Smart Power Regulator 1 Year Warranty

9to5Toys’ Take

Like I said before, the second that I locked eyes with the new Fuel Brites Charger, I was in love. After checking them out for the past week, I have to say that I am even more enthralled now that the pieces of retro-inspired tech have arrived.

Right out of the minimal packaging, each of the chargers have a very premium build. The two-tone plastic shells are merged quite well into what appropriately feels like a single unit. There’s a pair of AC outlet tongs that fold out of the back with a satisfying click that locks everything firmly in place. But it really is those unique colors and the translucent designs that make the Fuel Brites chargers as exciting as they are.

Available in one of four colors, I’ve been checking out the entire lineup of Electric BlueFrosted WhiteNeon Yellow, and Vibrant Orange colorways. Each one packs that transparent plastic casing that make them feel like 20-year old gadgets than releases that hit the scene just a few weeks ago. Whether you fancy a comparison to Apple’s iMac G3 lineup or Nintendo’s Game Boy Color series, there’s no getting around just how fun these retro chargers are.

As far as the actual technology goes, the GaN silicone that resides within each of the vibrant cases is pretty standard these days. Just about every brand has stepped up to delivering 30W power adapters as something of the standard, which is to say that the Case-Mate Fuel Brites Charger is staying the course compared to the competition. Sometimes when a product leans a bit too heavily into how it looks, the performance can suffer, but that is certainly not the case here.

In fact, 30W of power is plenty for most applications these days. I’ve been using the retro chargers as dedicated power adapters for my iPhone 14 Pro and Apple Watch Series 8 with the speedy refuel times that I’d hoped for, but it can also quickly power up iPads and even M2 MacBooks. All of that makes it a notable addition to your everyday carry, especially if you like to travel light and in style.

The bottom line for the new Case-Mate Fuel Brites Charger is all about the retro looks. While there are other options on the market that look to capture much of the same retro stylings, these undoubtedly capture the nostalgia better with some eye-catchingly colorful designs. Though just because the looks are the main selling point doesn’t mean you’re skimping out on features, as the 30W charger is backed by all of the tech you’d expect. So there might be more affordable options out there, but none are going to look quite as nifty plugged into the wall.

Bottom line is all about the looks, though it packs all the tech you would expect from a 30W charger. There might be more affordable options out there, like the new Anker Nano 3 adapters we just reviewed, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find an accessory that looks quite as good as the Fuel Brites do.

Over the past few months we’ve seen quite a few new retro-themed releases decked out in some translucent stylings hit the scene. I posited that we might be seeing a renaissance of these transparent gadgets making a comeback, and after checking out the latest from Case-Mate, it definitely looks like that is coming true. Consider these new chargers a perfect stocking stuffer for iPhone 14 owners over the holiday season, or just a refreshing way to upgrade your charging kit for just $30.


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