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, which is also available as the Dart-C for USB Type-C notebooks only, is the tiniest universal laptop charger we've seen, though it's more expensive than larger chargers that laptop vendors sell separately.
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.
If there's one flaw in the design, it's that the prongs don't fold into the unit. I wish they would, so I wouldn't have to worry about tossing the charger in a bag and having them get bent out of shape.
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.
Both Darts come with a 6-foot cable (with the attached USB port). The original Dart comes with 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.
The other model. Dart-C, is for USB Type-C laptops and phones. While it looks the same, it only services USB-C devices instead of using tips. You won't be able to use the cable for data, as it has a proprietary connector attaching to the charger (I wish both sides were USB Type-C).
In our labs, I plugged the regular 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 just one area: older MacBooks without USB Type-C charging . 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 that uses MagSafe, you're completely out of luck for now, though FINsix suggests there may eventually be tips that support Macs.
But if you have a newer MacBook, it has USB Type-C, and the Dart-C will charge it without a problem. I tried the Dart-C with the Mac and the Chromebook Plus in our labs, which charged just as if they were using the plugs that came in the box. I also charged up a couple of phones with the USB Type-C tip, because that's how the future works: one plug for everything.
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 / Dart-C is a tiny laptop charger that could easily fit in a backpack, purse or pants pocket. It's especially easy if you have a USB-Type C device and want one charger to carry around everywhere.
For USB Type-C, there are cheaper options from mainstream manufacturers like Lenovo ($42, 45W) and Google ($60, 60W), but they're bulkier and only charge one device at a time.
If you want the tiniest universal charger on the market, the FINsix Dart / Dart-C is for you, as long as there is a tip that supports your laptop.