Traveling with tech gadgets can become a case of too many power cords and too little space. If you’re dreaming of a device that will charge your notebook and smartphone all at once, you aren’t alone. Take a look out our review of the universal Wall/Air Ultra Thin Notebook Power Adapter to see if it could bring any relief to your travel headaches.
Build and Design
- Input: 100-240VAC, 50-60Hz, 2.5A Max (global AC mains (wall power) compatible)
- Output: 14-17 VDC and 17-21 VDC (Color-coded selector dependant)
- USB Output: 5 VDC 0.5 A Max
- Output Power: Up to 90 Watts
- Dimensions: 5.9 x 2.4 x 0.8 inches (150mm x 60mm x 20mm) 330g
- Energy Star certified
Ready to test the Kensington Power Adapter, I found that opening the plastic packaging took a very sturdy pair of scissors, five minutes of struggling, and some zen-inspired patience. Once the case is cracked open, you’ll find three cords enclosed with the power brick:
- An AC adapter cable, about three inches in length, connects the power brick to a standard wall outlet.
- The “EmPower” cable, designed to connect any notebook (via the proper tip) directly to a power source on an airplane.
- A mini-USB adapter that connects a PDA or other mobile device to the power brick via the standard-size USB power port.
Along with the cables, an array of tips are included for compatibility with corresponding notebooks. Each tip is color coded in either green or blue to indicate the proper voltage setting on the power brick. A table lays out which tip, or tips, will be compatible with each notebook manufacturer.
Acer: D and H
Compaq: E, H, I
Dell: H and J
Gateway: D and H
HP: E, H, and I
IBM: L and C
Lenovo: H, L and C
Medion: E and H
Packard Bell: H
Toshiba: H and B
Sony users will find their tip in a separate bag, along with instructions on how to determine the appropriate voltage setting for a VAIO notebook.
According to the compatibility chart, my Dell Latitude E6400, or any Dell notebook, will work with either the H or J tip. Tip H was too small, but J was just right. With the proper tip and the color-coordinated voltage setting, I plugged the adapter into the wall and hooked it up to my notebook. As promised, it both charged my notebook and supplied power while I used it.
Using my notebook as the adapter provided both power and battery charge warmed up the power brick to a toasty 130 degrees Fahrenheit after about an hour. That’s downright hot, and for a device that’s designed for travelers, not exactly desirable. Still, as I was working on my laptop, the adapter charged my Dell notebook in a little over two hours.
Throwing another device into the mix provided good results, too. The adapter fully charged both my notebook and a Blackberry overnight via the USB charging port on the side of the power brick. For good measure, we also used the adapter with a Gateway MD7818u, and the power adapter supplied enough current to both power the notebook and charge the battery at the same time.
I did not test the “EmPower” airplane power cord. It’s designed to function separately from the power brick. Unlike the adapter itself, this cord isn’t guaranteed to charge a notebook, only to supply enough power to keep it running in flight.
The Kensington Wall/Air Ultra Thin Notebook Power Adapter did everything it claimed it could do, but so will the adapters supplied with most notebooks and other devices. And running up to 130 degrees, this little power adapter is just too darn hot.
I don’t find it any more or less convenient than packing the cords and power adapters that were supplied with my notebook and phone. Frequent travelers who would like a second set of power cables for their electronics might find it a decent option. Everything is bundled into the zip-up pouch, ready to hit the road at a moment’s notice. Others who travel with several computers made by different manufacturers would like this universal adapter for its versatility. However, I wouldn’t recommend it to occasional travelers. Stick with your trusty, manufacturer-issued power brick.
- Provided appropriate power and battery charge to several different notebooks
- EmPower cable offers power connection on board an airplane
- Nylon pouch keeps power brick and cables packed neatly
- Heated up to 130 degrees with heavy use
- Bulk of adapter tips, cables and power brick is hardly space-saving
Pricing and availability
The Kensington Wall/Air Ultra Thin Notebook Power Adapter is available for purchase at Kensinton’s website with a retail price of $139.99.