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Valence N-Charge VNC-130 review: Valence N-Charge VNC-130

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The Good No extra AC adapter needed (uses your laptop's power cord); recharges the laptop's native battery while powering the notebook; can also power other devices; excellent manual.

The Bad Large footprint; replacement adapter cables are expensive.

The Bottom Line Valence's three-pound external battery is one of the best, delivering lots of life and some unique options.

7.6 Overall

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In addition to making batteries for laptop vendors, Valence sells a line of multifaceted external laptop batteries. The matte-black Valence N-Charge VNC-130 ($300) provides 130WHr of power, just a little less than the 160WHr provided by the Electrovaya PowerPad 160, and at about three pounds, it's several ounces lighter than the Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90. The VNC-130 is the external battery for those who need to travel light and power other devices, such as cell phones or PDAs.

For an external battery, the VNC-130 has a large, 0.6-by-11.8-by-9.1-inch footprint, making it less convenient to tote than a smaller battery. However, the Valence doesn't need its own AC adapter, because it uses your laptop's AC power cord. Thus, the travel weight stays a low 3.3 pounds--a pound lighter than the Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90's travel weight. With a rating of up to 130WHr, the VNC-130 carries less capacity than the lighter Electrovaya PowerPad 160, but it can handle a commendable 600 recharges before starting to lose capacity.

Almost 400 laptops are compatible with the VNC-130, which connects to your laptop via the power port. Check &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex_1&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Evalence%2Ecom%2Fvalence%5Fframe%2Easp">this Valence page to see if your laptop makes the list. The battery also comes with a connector for a 12V cigarette-lighter outlet, and Valence even goes a step further with optional $20 USB adapters, so the battery can power cell phones and PDAs. Unfortunately, replacement adapter cables, which have built-in connectors specifically designed for the power port in your notebook, cost $30 each.

The VNC-130 powered our test laptop, the Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100, for 4 hours, 10 minutes, which is 40 minutes less than Hi-Capacity's SmartPad 90. It recharged in 3 hours in a tied race for fastest of the bunch. The LED battery gauge helps you determine how much juice is left, and a blinking light, rather than an annoying beep, tells you the end is near.

Unique among its peers, Valence supplies a useful and informative manual with the VNC-130. The 12-page booklet is packed with instructions, illustrations, and tips. There's even a helpful troubleshooting section and contact information. The one-year warranty is another point in Valence's favor. Six-month warranties are sadly the norm for external batteries from Hi-Capacity and Laptops for Less.

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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