The Lind Electronics DC Power Adapter (available through the company's Web site and other online retailers) is a good choice if you're on a long road trip and don't want to stop to recharge your laptop. This compact unit plugs into a car's cigarette lighter and can provide on-the-go juice for a wide range of notebooks.
The Power Adapter unit measures 5.0 x 3.0 x 1.2 inches and weighs 13 ounces, about the size of an AC adapter for a larger notebook. Its metal exterior has small metal fins for helping it to keep cool, and it feels rugged enough to take a real beating, should it roll around your car during a fast turn or sudden brake.
The Power Adapter uses any power source that provides 12-32 volts of direct current (VDC)--such as a car's electrical system. One end plugs into a cigarette lighter, and the other end into your laptop. Depending on the model of your system, you will need to order the appropriate adapter; Lind sells units that are compatible with most major notebook manufacturers that range in price from $59.95 to $159. Our review unit ($119) was designed for use with a Panasonic Toughbook F8 notebook, but it worked just as well with a Gateway P-7811FX gaming system.
To use the Power Adapter, you plug one end of the charger into your car's cigarette adapter, and the other end into your notebook; your car has to be on to provide power to the outlet. Both the cable connecting the device to your car's cigarette lighter adapter and the one that goes from the device to your computer are 36 inches in length. That was plenty of slack to extend from the center console of our minivan to a friend surfing the Web from the back seat. That also means you can run the cables under seats to prevent passengers from tripping over them while getting in or out of the car. We do wish there were extra USB ports built into the power brick for charging additional electronics.
The Power Adapter comes with a three-year warranty, and Lind Electronics offers phone and Web-based support.
If you're planning to use your notebook in a car, the Lind Electronics DC Power Adapter is a very good choice, even if it is a bit expensive at $119. The Power Adapter's long cables means that it can be placed in an unobtrusive location, and the accessory works with a wide variety of laptops. You'll get peace of mind knowing you won't have to worry about running out of juice while on the road.