Performance and Usage
As you might imagine, the performance testing of the USNA 95 was not much more than timing how long it takes to charge different netbooks and notebooks from a dead battery. To do this we setup a couple of them. One was an MSI Wind 200U; the other was a more custom job with an Intel Core i7 CPU, 17-inch display, discrete NVIDIA GTX 285 GPU, 12GB of RAM and a pair of RAIDed 500GB 7200 RPM drives. Each of these was tested with the stock charger to see how long it took to charge while powered off and also while in use. We then ran the same tests using the USNA 95 on each system. To add a little more fun into this, we also tested with a USB device (my HTC EVO) attached and charging. The results were interesting.
The MSI Wind 200U was an easy one to test. We already knew that the charging cycle for this device was just under 2 hours when powered off and around 2.5 hours when running. It is just not a power hungry device. With the USNA 95 the charging times were pretty much the same. We saw a deviation of about plus or minus five minutes either way during our multiple testing runs. We also saw no difference when we plugged in our EVO for charging.
The custom job was a little harder on things. When powered off it takes about 3.5 hours to charge the 12 cell battery that is needed to run it untethered. When the system is on the charge time goes up dramatically. It pushes past the 5 hour mark [5 hours and 18 minutes average]. With the USNA 95, again we find similar times, although the charge time during operation went up a little. Our average charge time while the system was powered on was 5 hours and 33 minutes. Here we saw a change when the EVO was plugged in, but only when the system was in active use. Charging the EVO and the laptop took an additional 10 minutes. Still, when you consider that the USNA 95 is considerably easier to carry around, it is not that much of an issue.
The USNA 95 is a handy little product. With the ability to supply up to 150 Watts and a multitude of tips, it can handle almost any situation. The design choice that removed both cords from the charger was a brilliant one. The connection of the cord from the charger to the laptop is the most common point of failure due to wear and tear. This not only makes the USNA 95 easier to carry around, but it is also means that it should last much longer than a traditional charger.
Performance wise you are not going to get better charging times and in some cases (like the 120 Watt custom laptop I have) you will lose a little time. However, this is in comparison to a power "brick" that is almost four times as big volume wise. Granted, the USNA 95 is not smaller (it is thinner) than the stock one that came with the Wind 200U, but it is easier to pack and believe it or not, fits better into the bag I have for it.
Overall, I can see the USNA 95 being a great idea as a replacement for a damaged notebook or netbook charger, or simply as one that you buy for every day travel use. I will be dragging this one with me on my trips and leaving the stock charger at home from now on. It leaves a ton more room in the bag and is easier to use without fear of damage.
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