Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No Surge Protection Makes The Hi-Capacity Cord Just Another Laptop Cord.

The Good: It adequately powers the Acer Aspire 5532
The Bad: Expensive, No surge protection, Jack cord falls out
The Basics: The Hi-Capacity AC Adapter is a very expensive plug which offers laptop users no real protection and only occasional power to the computer.

Ever since my brother purchased his Aspire 5532 laptop computer (click here for my review!), I’ve been bugging him to get a surge protector. Because of the neighborhood he lives in, I figured this was a good idea as there are frequent brownouts and power outages. I suppose I should have advised him to secure his purchase better because after a month of having his laptop, someone stole the power cord to it. I thought this was a bit silly until we went to try to replace it and discovered laptop cords (power connectors which simply connect one’s laptop to a wall) are insanely expensive off-line. They tend to cost $60 - $100 each and that blew me away considering his computer only cost something like $400 to begin with.

Rather than buy Gateway’s full priced power cord, we went with the Hi-Capacity AC adapter for the Aspire 5532. This was the least expensive AC power cord for the laptop on the market and we figured they were pretty much the same as one another. The Hi-Capacity AC adapter is a standard two-prong power cord and it comes in two parts. The first part is a four foot cord with a simple two-prong plug. This cord connects to a fairly weighty box which makes the AC current into DC current so as not to fry or confuse one’s laptop computer. The second part is the box and attached simple cord which takes the power that has been converted and connects it to the laptop with a male jack. The male jack only fits into one point on the ACER 5532, so use of this power cord is pretty much idiotproof.

Sadly, use of the cord is not as simple as it ought to be. It’s a cord, right, how complicated can it be? The end that connects to the computer is a solid piece, so one attaches it to the computer or removes it from the “power in” socket. Unfortunately, the half that plugs into the wall appears to be part of Acer’s effort to meet international standards and the cord half with the plug actually plugs into the converter box. More than any other cord I have used in recent memory, this cord continually slips out of the converter box and causes power failures. In other words, if one nudges the box, the cord is likely to stay plugged into the wall and plugged into the computer, but the junction where the cord connects from the wall to the box tends to slip out.

This is a huge problem, though it can be easily fixed with electrical tape. Still, when one pays $60 for an electrical cord, it should not need to be taped together to work properly.

Finally, the Hi-Capacity AC Adapter for the ACER Aspire 5532 does not offer any surge protection and I find that problematic and annoying. Add to that, it does not offer the most basic surge protection that a three-prong plug offers, by having the plug grounded.

For other computer products, please check out my reviews of:
HP ScanJet 3570c
Apple iPad 64 GB
OrionGadgets Synch and Charge USB Cable For iPad


For other computer or electronics reviews, please visit my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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