Carrying tech when I travel makes for a heavy bag, so I'm always looking for lighter gadgets to shave off some weight. One area you might not think of is your laptop's power brick. The $99 FINsix Dart is the tiniest universal laptop charger we've seen, though a slightly larger competitor offers a lot more features for the same price.
I have to admit: The FINsix Dart is kind of cute. It's a 0.2-pound, 3.4 x 1.2 x 1-inch (including prongs), 65-watt laptop power brick that can go just about anywhere. Ours came in silver, but the Dart is also available in gunmetal, blue, orange and magenta. The FINsix logo can be found right above the prongs, but the charger is otherwise very plain, with a rectangular design and rounded corners.Despite its petite size, the Dart can charge a laptop and another device (smartphone, tablet). The USB port is in a strange place, with an adapter attached to its cord. This means that if the cord gets ruined, you can't use the Dart for USB devices.The Dart's main competitor, the Zolt Laptop Charger Plus is larger -- a 3.66 x 1.33-inch tube that weighs 0.2 pounds. But it fits two USB ports (as opposed to the sole port on the Dart), which are both on the main charger. This looks more elegant. It also allows for a rotating, octagonal body for optimal cord placement. The Zolt also has space for the prongs to fold up into the unit to protect them, while the Dart's stick out.
A 45-watt MagSafe 2 power adapter for a MacBook Air weighs 0.44 pounds, and a 65-watt charger for the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 weighs 0.64 pounds. So you're saving quite a bit of weight with the Dart. However, both first-party chargers are less expensive, with prices of $79.99 and $50, respectively.
The Dart comes with 6-foot cable (with the attached USB port) and nine tips, one of which should connect to your laptop, including those made by Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG, MSI, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and more. Instructions that come with the charger list the tips that you need for each brand, and I found this rundown to be mostly accurate.
In our labs, I plugged the Dart into all of the computers we were testing, and found that the suggested tips fit with the HP Pavilion x360 and MSI GS63VR 6RF Stealth Pro (though the charger doesn't have enough voltage to support the latter). The Dart didn't have a tip to fit the MSI GT72VR 6RD Dominator (it lacked the voltage to support that one, too). I took the charger with me on a visit to my parents and used the Dart to simultaneously charge my dad's Lenovo ThinkPad L412 from 2010 and my iPhone 6s Plus.
If none of the tips work with your laptop, you may be in luck. The same paper that lists tip compatibility states a guarantee that if "none of the included tips fit, FINsix will ship you the needed laptop tip for free," as long as you've registered the product.The Dart falls flat on compatibility in two areas: MacBooks and USB Type-C. While FINsix sold a few MacBook-specific tips for the Dart during early Kickstarter campaigns, the company isn't bringing that version to retail, and Mac tips aren't for sale. If you have a Mac, you're completely out of luck for now, though FINsix suggests there may eventually be tips that support Macs. USB Type-C support may be coming in the future, too, but FINsix was tight-lipped about specific details.
The company has a tool on its website to check compatibility, which can be found here. This tool will tell you if a laptop requires too much voltage or requires a nonstandard connector that won't work with the Dart.
The Dart has a power output of 65 watts, which should be enough for most consumer laptops, with the exception gaming machines and workstations. I used the Dart to charge laptops and phones at the same time without any issues.FINsix says that the Dart isn't compatible with Surface tablets or the Chromebook Pixel, because those devices require less voltage (12V DC) than what the Dart puts out (18 to 21V DC). The company claims this output is optimal for most laptops.
The FINSix Dart is a tiny laptop charger that could easily fit in a backpack, purse or pants pocket. While this charger does a fine job powering up a laptop and an extra device, it doesn't have the same thought put into its design as its main competitor.For the $99, you should get the Zolt Laptop Charger Plus, which is slightly bigger but includes two extra USB ports on the main unit, a rotating body, fold-up prongs and optional tips for MacBooks (though you do have to pay extra for them).
If you want the tiniest universal charger on the market, the FINsix Dart is for you, but I'd recommend adding just a little more size to get a better product.
|Size||3.4 x 1.2 x 1-inch|