Once limited to being giant plastic bricks over-crowding the power strips hidden under our desks, chargers have come a long way in just a few years, shrinking dramatically, gaining new abilities, and some personality to boot. If you’re a die-hard Mac fan, you probably won’t want to hide Shargeek’s latest creation under a desk. The gizmo is as informative as it is a cash-in on retro nostalgia.
Shargeek is an accessory maker that doesn’t yet have quite as much brand recognition as companies like Anker do, but it’s been slowly churning out some unique devices, including the Retro 35 GaN Charger, which debuted back in May, earlier this year. It was a compact gallium nitride-based charger with a single USB-C port for charging devices with up to 35-watts of power. It was also designed to look like a tiny replica of the original Macintosh desktop computer, complete with a pixelated smily face screen that glows when power is flowing.
The new Retro 67 from Shargeek is a major upgrade in several different ways. It gets a power boost from delivering just 35-watts of power to now pushing out 67-watts—expanding the types of devices it can be used to charge—and offers three USB-C ports on top instead of just one, allowing multiple devices to be plugged in and charged at the same time.
Just keep in mind that those three devices are all going to have to share that 67-watts of power, so if one of them happens to be a laptop that needs a higher power draw, it might charge much slower than usual. In a promotional video, Shargeek also claims the Retro 67 can be used to charge two MacBooks at the same time, but it’s undoubtedly referring to the older model MacBook Air laptops that shipped with just a 30-watt charger.
When actually delivering power to a plugged-in device, the Retro 67 will display how many watts are being drawn, but with more than one device plugged in, you will see a number indicating the total power draw, instead of being able to check how much power each USB-C port is using. So that’s a feature that’s probably most useful with a single device plugged in. And when the Retro 67 is plugged into a power outlet but not connected to any other device, its screen instead shows a pixelated recreation of The Matrix’s iconic digital rain effect. Hypnotic to stare at, but also kind of a waste of power, even if it’s just a trickle.
As with the Retro 35, Shargeek is going the crowdfunding route to help put its new Retro 67 charger into production, with an Indiegogo campaign that’s close to reaching its modest $2,560 funding goal. Those who back the campaign can get the Retro 67 at a steep discount—$29 instead of the full retail pricing of $79—with delivery expected sometime in March of next year. But that’s assuming everything goes smoothly moving into the production phase. At this point, Shargeek has already successfully brought a handful of crowdfunded products to market, so it has some experience with seeing crowdfunding campaigns through. But there’s always the chance for unexpected delays, like with components shortages or shipping delays. As always with crowdfunded products: buyer beware.