Living on the Road

APC Universal Notebook Battery

Extended travel battery w/USB port

When flying you can never be sure if your aircraft will be equipped with in-seat power, especially in economy. My laptop’s battery only lasts a couple hours when playing movies, but most external extended batteries have been bulky and require another external charger – until now. The recently released Universal Notebook Batteries by APC finally solve the problem well.

The UPB70 model I purchased for my last trip to Europe is very light and very thin using lithium polymer batteries and it requires no extra charger. To charge up it just plugs in-line: wall plug –> laptop power supply –> APC battery –> laptop. Both the laptop and battery get charged simultaneously. It works with both of my current laptops, as well as my wife’s, so we can share it (also defraying the cost). The battery also has a separate USB-charging port for your phone, iPod or any other USB-charging accessory, like my GPS, which is handy. Most importantly, it kept my laptop playing movies all the way from London to San Francisco!

They are a bit expensive at around $150, but considering those “air power” adapters are often $120 and you can almost never use it, I think this is a deal. The batteries also come with tips for several hundred specific laptop models so you can figure out how to allow the battery to be charged in-line with your laptop cord. The one thing the APC battery doesn’t have is the Apple MagSafe connector yet (although they do have the G4 connector), but there are seemingly options for making an adapter for yourself.

One note: I learned quickly is that if you are taking it through airline security, it’s best to take it out of your bag along with your laptop, as they will always want to see it once it goes through the X-ray.

-- Alexander Rose 03/30/07

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