FINSix Dart Charger Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Tiny; Multiple color options; Extra USB port

The Cons

Prongs don't fold; No MacBook options

Verdict

The FINSix Dart is the smallest laptop charger out there, but it doesn't have as much flexibility as similarly sized alternatives.

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.

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Design

FINSix DartI 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. 

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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.

Compatibility

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.

FINSix DartIn 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. 

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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.

Performance

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.

Bottom Line

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.

 

Ask a Question
Accessories Type Chargers
Battery Type/Life
Size 3.4 x 1.2 x 1-inch
Weight 0.2-pounds
Company Website http://finsix.com/
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3 comments
  • John T. McCarty Says:

    I've got a Dart. It rocks. I use it with my Lenovo X1 since I bought one (in a Brookstone airport store). It's small enough to drop in my pocket, it also charges my iPhone, and the design and details are great...nice finish and a reversible USB port. You can have it at either end of the cable. For me, that's the laptop end so I don't have to reach back down under the desk to plug in another device. I'm with @James: The Dart is great. Not sure what the reviewer was doing calling it "square with rounded corners" and testing the Dart on gaming laptops...it's a 65W charger...it's not supposed to power gaming laptops. The review seems more than a little unfair, basically a hatchet job.

    So my summary: The Dart is a tiny, powerful mobile device charger. The USB port is great to fast charge my phone, and the main port charges my laptop just as fast as the original charger. It's the only thing I need on trips.

  • Lionel B Says:

    Makes no sense to get either one given that laptop prices are barely above that of either of them. That said, the Dart seems to have fallen on its face at launch given that it is not compatible with Surface - forget Apple. Also, the prongs stick out unlike for the Zolt.

  • James Says:

    Conclusion on this review is completely wrong. Dart is way better than Zolt. Dart is smaller than a Zolt with its prongs folded.

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