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Targus APA69us - lightweight universal 90W AC travel charger with awkward design
on December 25, 2012
Definitely a travel charger in that it is very compact and light-weight. I can fit the charger (brick, cable, tips) in a small point-and shoot camera case, and the whole package (brick, cable, laptop tip, USB device tip) is 10.1 oz on my kitchen scale.
There are multiple versions of this charger sold under the same/ similar Targus model numbers. The APA69us (this version) does NOT include a DC adapter (12V/ car use) - it's only for AC wall current, and the number and type of tips out of the box varies depending on when/ where it was bought. My particular APA69us included a mini-USB tip and 8 laptop tips. (Range appears to be as few as 7 tips or as many as 10 depending on the exact version you get.) The APM69us is the APA69us AC charger plus a 12V DC adapter.
The brick gets warm but not hot when I use it with two different brands of 90W laptops (no hotter than the OEM charger bricks), and I don't notice any temp change with my netbook or when I use it for just a USB device. However the splitter gets fairly warm no matter what is being charged, even just a single USB device. Note that the reviewer of the APM69us (which is the same AC charger as the APA69us) who noted the brick temperature going up to 140-160 degrees should not have been using this charger with his laptop - this is a 90W charger, and his laptop needed over 121W by the numbers in his review. (19.2V x 6.32A = 121.3W)
I've had mine for just over a year and use it several times a month for travel. I love how lightweight and compact it is and that it can charge all of my laptops and netbooks, but I dislike the short cable and the awkward AC plug design (but then I know if the cables were longer it would be bulkier and weigh more!)
* As above - the lightest and most compact 90W universal laptop charger I've found so far
* Wider voltage range than other 90W universal chargers. This is the only 90W charger I've found that can lower the voltage enough to charge an older 36W Asus netbook (charger output voltage ranges from 10-24V per specs)
* Good tip selection - if you can't find a tip through the online compatibility tool for your particular laptop or USB device, talk to Targus and their engineers will check your exact model and let you know within a week or so
* Free tip program - Targus has not charged me a penny for any of the tips I've requested - no charge for the tips, no charge for shipping.
* Can charge a USB device in addition to a laptop. Big hint - if you can't find a tip for your particular USB device, get the U302 tip, which is a standard USB port, and use the USB cable that came with your device
* If you don't charge a laptop, you can charge 2 USB devices simultaneously (but you can't charge 2 laptops - nothing happens and neither charges.)
* Even though Targus is no longer selling the charger, they are still supplying tips for it (Kensington, learn from this!)
* As per other reviewers, the design is awkward and there are definitely sacrifices made to save weight. The brick has a flip-out plug and plugs directly into the outlet. If it's a wall outlet, it's hanging in the air. If it's a power strip, it may or may not fit depending on the orientation of the outlets - if the outlets are one above the other on the power strip it will be fine (as per the power strip picture for the APM69us), but if the outlets are next to each other, you will need several free outlets.
* Short cord from the brick to the laptop - you either need an extension cord or an outlet right next to you
* Tips stick straight out from the laptop, which means I'm much more likely to knock them about or torque them. (All of my computers have right-angle OEM chargers, and I much prefer that design.)
* Connection from tips to cables is looser than I would like - I haven't had to scotch-tape them together as another reviewer did, but I've thought about it. And the fit varies from tip to tip - some fit the cable much more tightly than others
* Proprietary connection between tips and cables. Very frustrating since I have several Targus chargers and the tip connection changes from charger to charger. However, this is not just a Targus issue - it's the same with Kensington and iGo. I know selling tips is a big money-maker for the companies, but c'mon guys - at least keep the tip connections the same within a company!
* Charger is just over a year old and Targus is no longer making it
* Almost impossible to get tips off the supplied "tip clip"
* Online tip compatibility tool is a bit frustrating since Targus doesn't necessarily name things the way you would, particularly for things like Sony Vaios that have ridiculous model numbers, and most of the time the result will be "We are currently determining the compatibility for the XYZ" (Even so, it's still a better tool than the ones from iGo and Kensington.)
As per one of the other reviewers, universal chargers are flexible, but won't work for every laptop's power requirements. You need to know your laptop's voltage and current (amperage), so look on your OEM charger for volts & amps, and determine the power, where watts = volts x amps. Know the charger's limits, and don't blame the charger if you buy one with the wrong specs. This charger is a 90W charger (10-24V, 4.75A, 90W max per the numbers on my brick) so if your laptop needs more current, lower or higher voltage, or more power than what this charger can provide, get a different charger.