FSP NB S90 Universal Notebook Adapter Review

by Reads (9,760)
  • Pros

    • Simple to setup
    • Solid construction
    • Worldwide compatibility
  • Cons

    • Makes some noise occasionally

Those of us that use a notebook in multiple locations know that it can be a pain to always lug around the same power adapter. Eventually we buy an additional AC adapter, but OEM replacements can sometimes be very expensive. This is when we turn to universal power adapters, which are usually much more affordable, and offer great compatibility with a wide range of notebooks. In this review we take a look at the FSP NB S90 Universal Notebook Adapter, to see how well it works in everyday use.

FSP NB S90 Specifications:

  • Input Voltage: 100V AC to 240V AC, 50 ~ 60Hz
  • Output Voltage: 15~17V OR 18~21V
  • Peak Power Output: 90W
  • Operating Efficiency: 85%+
  • Meets CEC Energy Standard (CEC LEVEL 4) and Energy Star Standards
  • Warranty: 3 years parts/labor
  • MSRP: $59.99

Build and Design
The FSP NB S90 looks like your average AC adapter with a black matte plastic body and standard black cord. The only thing that sets it apart is an added inline control that you use to adjust the output voltage of the power supply. Compared to some universal adapters with large and bulky connectors, the FSP adapter looks sleek on the end with a simple right angle plug. Once you remove the included warning labels there would be no way to tell this power adapter wasn’t included with your notebook from the factory.

Build quality is very good with a firmly locking voltage adjustment switch and sturdy universal plug connection. Both cords connecting to the AC adapter are long enough to easily connect to most outlets around your laptop while not being overly cumbersome. Storage for travel is addressed in two ways: the first being a Velcro strap to hold the cords in place around the body and the second being a simple slipcase (slightly larger than a soda can) that holds the AC adapter and unused universal plugs. The cords incorporate stress relievers on each end to help prevent early failure, and these areas of the cord are flexible enough to not put pressure against the computers power jack when connected.

Ease of Use
The FSP NB S90 power adapter has a very simple method of adapting to individual notebooks. You find the plug that fits your notebook, look at the rated voltage of the original power adapter (or cross-reference the manual), and set the voltage setting as needed. FSP really nailed the adjustable voltage setting mechanism perfectly. You are given two ranges, either 15-17V or 18-21V, and to select the voltage you pull one side out as indicated, turn the knob to the selected voltage, and press and lock it back into place. There is no need to use thin screwdrivers or coins, just your fingertips. Once it is set, it is hard to accidentally change since it requires very deliberate moves to adjust.

Performance
The performance of the FSP NB S90 power adapter was excellent in terms of rated capacity and compatibility. Over a period of a few weeks, we tested this adapter with a wide range of notebooks and netbooks that came through our office for review. In every situation the FSP adapter had a plug for the occasion and worked as intended. To test its rated capacity, we drained a Dell Latitude D630, and while it was charging had the system running wPrime. During that time the peak power consumption at the wall as indicated by our Kill-A-Watt was 88 watts. Depending on the notebook used you might be able to go slightly above that value, but we weren’t trying to push it any higher.

Heat and Noise
During normal use of the AC adapter it remained slightly warm to the touch. Under higher loads (such as when we were charging the Dell Latitude D630 while also running wPrime) it did get hot to the touch, but no more than the standard adapter in that situation. Noise levels were fine during most of the review, but we did notice some warble emitted from the adapter when it sat idle with nothing attached after a while. A similar noise also came out when it was at its very peak of power output. If your AC adapter was located underneath your desk, and not sitting next to your arm, you probably wouldn’t even notice it.

Conclusion
The FSP NB S90 Universal Notebook Adapter works exactly as described and has a wide range of tips to make it work with every notebook we could find. The voltage adjustment is easy to change using only your fingers, and once set, very difficult to accidentally change. The tips are compact rather than bulky, looking exactly like an original AC adapter cord. If you are in the market for a spare adapter, or even just a replacement, the FSP NB S90 will do the job well.

Pros:

  • Simple to setup
  • Solid construction
  • Worldwide compatibility

Cons:

  • Makes some mild chirping noise occasionally



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