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Laptops for Less Universal ED350 review: Laptops for Less Universal ED350

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The Good Small and light; inexpensive; includes five adapters for different laptops.

The Bad Short on power; can't recharge laptop's native battery and run the notebook at the same time; uses older, nickel-metal-hydride chemistry.

The Bottom Line Small size and low price distinguish this battery, but we can't recommend it over the Electrovaya PowerPad 160 or the Valence N-Charge VNC-130.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

5.0 Overall

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The Laptops for Less Universal ED350 NiMH laptop battery is the smallest external laptop battery (about the size of a VHS tape) tested in CNET Labs and by far the weakest. Although it fits perfectly in a laptop bag and costs only $150, it added only about an hour of runtime in our battery-intensive tests. (Your mileage may vary.) You're better off spending your money on a second battery from your laptop maker or digging a little deeper into your wallet and getting many hours of life and more options with the Electrovaya PowerPad 160 or the Valence N-Charge VNC-130.

At 1.0 by 7.5 by 4.0 inches and weighing just 1.6 pounds, the Laptops for Less Universal ED350 travels much easier than other external batteries, and the 2.6-pound travel weight is less than that any of the other batteries by themselves. Unfortunately, the battery is based on older, nickel-metal-hydride chemistry and holds only 49WHr of power, about one-third of the biggest battery we've tested, the Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90. The ED350 is compatible with hundreds of notebooks, old and new, but you'll need to call the company to see if yours is included. In addition to the battery, you get a small, lightweight AC adapter, but it can't charge the laptop's native battery while also powering the notebook, as some other external batteries can.

With five adapters, the Laptops for Less Universal ED350 can plug into the power ports of a wide variety of laptops. You also get a 12V cigarette-lighter adapter.

To our dismay, the rudimentary two-page list of instructions that comes with the battery is no substitute for a proper manual, and picking the right adapter for your laptop is a matter of trial and error until you find one that fits correctly.

When the ED350 is near the end of its life, a somewhat annoying alarm will beep until it runs out of power. To head off the alarm, you can check the LED power gauge on the battery to see how much juice remains. The ED350 takes 3 hours to recharge, making it one of the fastest we've tested. It can safely go through 500 charge cycles before it starts to lose the ability to hold a charge, which is more charge cycles than many of its peers. The battery comes with a one-year warranty, twice as long as that of the Electrovaya PowerPad 160 or the Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90.

Power to go
Battery name
Price
Dimensions (inches)
Weight (pounds)
Capacity (WHr)
Runtime
Recharge time
Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90 $392 0.5 by 11.3 by 8.8 3.3 140 4 hr., 50 min. 4 hr., 15 min.
Electrovaya PowerPad 160 $450 0.5 by 11.9 by 9.8 2.6 160 5 hr., 5 min. 4 hr., 45 min.
Laptops for Less Universal ED350 $150 1.0 by 7.5 by 4.0 1.6 49 1 hr., 5 min. 3 hr.
Valence N-Charge VNC-130 $300 0.6 by 11.8 by 9.1 3.0 120 to 130 4 hr., 10 min. 3 hr.

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