Innergie’s mCube Slim 95 solves the annoying problem familiar to anyone who travels with a laptop on a regular basis; no matter how slim and light the laptop itself, the AC adaptor is probably a standard unit that along with its cabling can add surprising bulk.
Compounding this, the same issue will apply to smartphones, digital cameras, tablets and camcorders, each of which will also need its own adaptor. A few devices will charge from a laptop USB port when it’s switched on, while those requiring more than 5 watts (anything from a tablet upwards) won’t.
The Slim 95 is designed as a one-size-fits-all answer to this multi-device inconvenience.
On first impression, the white plastic adaptor unit itself doesn’t save much weight (179g) or bulk compared to a standard netbook equivalent, but some of this is gained back through slimmer cabling to and from the adaptor. This will be particularly true for UK consumers who have to put up with thick mains leads.
As it names implies, the Slim 95’s rating is 95 watts which powers and charges a plethora of devices from the 10 watts or thereabouts needed to cope with tablets and some smartphones to the 45 watts of a camcorder and 65 watts of a laptop.
The adaptor is supplied with nine different tips covering the 11 major makes of laptop (Samsung, Dell, Acer, Asus, HP/Compaq, IBM/Lenovo, Gateway, MSI, Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba), which attach very tightly to a universal interface. Note: Apple laptops are not covered but there is a power LED to let you know that it is working correctly.
A particular feature is that the Slim 95 can charge a laptop and second device through its USB port at the same time which immediately means that users don’t have to carry around one power supply. Add in a third USB-chargeable device and the weight savings start adding up.
Slightly confusingly, Innergie also sells an identically-rated mains adaptor with two USB charging ports but for most people this is probably overkill.
The diagram on the firm’s website lists a voltage switch although that was missing from the unit sent for review; presumably it is auto-sensing. The Slim 95 states that includes protection from power surges although any competent laptop adaptor should also do this.
In use with a Samsung netbook we found it ran a bit cooler than the manufacturer's adaptor, charging the unit in the same time. It coped with dual-charging a smartphone equally well.
Given that the traveller is being asked to spend between £55 (the manufacturer’s MRP) and £70 on the Slim 95 it is reasonable to study the value for money on offer. For anyone running a single laptop the answer is that it’s probably not worth the investment even if it cuts bulk a bit compared to a conventional laptop adaptor. The two groups who will benefit are those carrying two or three devices as many people now do, i.e. a laptop, smartphone and tablet. Anyone who owns more than one laptop brand will also be able to make a case for owning or carrying only one adaptor. This multi-laptop capability also gives it some future-proofing as does the choice of USB charging port.