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Old August 24, 2011, 06:12 PM
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Thumbs up Cooler Master Ultra Slim Notebook Adapter USNA 95

Introduction

Recently, several members of HWC were winners of a contest from Cooler Master. There were two models of this product awarded as prizes...the USNA 95, and the SNA 95. I won the USNA 95. While I am attempting to stay true to the format used in so many of the great reviews here on HWC, I currently lack the capability to test this item properly and present a proper review. Instead, this is a “preview” of the item I won in a contest from Cooler Master. I should also mention here that I am not a professional photographer, so I apologise now for the poor quality photos.

The USNA 95 is essentially a notebook adapter with a USB port for charging USB devices. Cooler Master claims on their website that this charging capability works up to 30% faster than a PC USB port. It’s listed in the CM store for $69.99 USD, $55.08 on Direct Canada, and $65.79 on NCIX.

The following technical specifications come right from the Cooler Master website.

Model: RP-095-USNA-A1

Input Voltage: 100 - 240 Vac full range

Input Frequency Range: 50 - 60 Hz

Output Rating: 18 ~ 20 VDC; 19 VDC ~ 4.74A
4.75 ~ 5.25 VDC; 5 VDCc ~ 1A

LED Indicator: Green LED indicates power on
Red LED indicates USB charge

Operation Temperature: 0 ~ 40°C

Efficiency: Up to 90%

Dimension: 62 x 17 x 104 mm
2.4 x 0.7 x 4.1 inch

Protection: OVP / OTP / OCP / OPP / SCP

Warranty: 2 years

UPC Code: 884102008238

Here is the Tip Application table, again this is available on the CM website. This info was formatted to work with the forums:

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Old August 24, 2011, 06:22 PM
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Now, onto the box and the adapter's components.

The box carries on the distinctive CM colour scheme that can be found on their website and other products. The front of the box is divided diagonally colour wise into white and purple halves. The Cooler Master logo is prominently displayed in the upper left corner of the box. The centre of the box has an opening cut into it to display the adapter itself. Down the right side of the box we see the various items that this adapter is capable of charging: laptops, MP3/MP4/IPods, mobile/smart phones, and PDA/GPS. Right below that we see an obvious decal that advertises the “Up to 150W” capability of the product.
The bottom left of the cut out window we see a red and white decal advertising the “iF Product Design Award 2010”. International Forum Design is a group based in Hannover, Germany that gives out awards in four categories: product design, communication design, material design, and packaging design. I did not see any listing of criteria of any of these awards. Right below that we see the “Design by CHOIIX” logo. At the very bottom of the front we see the product name.

Moving around to the right side of the box, we find the purple colouring continues. At the top there is a Tip Application Table. This table shows us what colour tip is compatible with what laptop manufacturer. More on that later though. Below that there is a tech specs table. Finally at the bottom, there is a small chart that indicates the region the adapter is meant for, in my case “US type”.

The rear of the case is primarily white in colour, with a small hint of purple at the top beneath the product name. Down the left side we see small icons highlighting key features of the product as CM sees them. Down the right side of the box we can see three larger graphics. The top two of these images show off the different LED states and what they indicate, with the largest graphic at the bottom highlighting the small size of the product.

Finally, the left side of the case continues the purple colouring. It lists in 17 languages (there are two dialects of Chinese listed, so I only counted them as one) the product name and directs end users to the CM website for further information.

On opening the box we find a fairly rigid plastic clamshell that holds all the pieces of the product. I never did get a picture of the parts in this. Laying out the parts we find the following (clockwise from left to right): DC cable, the adapter itself, power cord, black cloth carrying bag, rack with 9 colour coded tips, and finally a clip for cable management. I didn’t realize until I started working on this preview that I forgot to include the fairly detailed instruction/warranty pamphlet in the picture.
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Old August 24, 2011, 06:35 PM
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Basically it sets up the same way as the regular adapter that comes with your laptop. The only difference being is that you select the tip that is compatible with your lap top manufacturer. Some OEMs have more than one colour listed, but a quick eye ball check or a bit of trial and error will tell you which one you need. It will power any laptop that needs a 19V DC input according to the instruction booklet. As well, there are some OEMs that have a unique design for their own adapters (most notably Dell). Cooler Master states that the USNA 95 will have no trouble powering those notebooks; the adapter just may not be able to charge the battery.
Here is a photo of the rack with the various tips:

The tip fits very snugly onto the end of the DC cable. As is visible in the next picture the cable has one flat side, meaning the tip fits on only one way.

I tried quite forcefully and could not get the tip on the cable the wrong way. As it takes a bit of effort to get the tip onto the cable it isn’t going to be yanked off accidentally to easily, which is a good thing. However, the cables I was working with so everything will be snug. I am unsure how much the cable or tips will loosen up as they age.

One thing I noticed quickly when putting the adapter together is the power cable is about 124cm long (49”). By contrast the power cable for my Toshiba Satellite A505D is in the area of 180cm (71”) long. It is a large enough difference to be a bit of a pain. The power cable has a Velcro strap to secure it when not in use or to keep excess cable out of the way. The DC cable does not include the Velcro strap; however the strap on the power cable is just long enough to hold both cables.

According to CM, the unit provides up to 95W of continuous power and peaks at 150W. As I said, I do not have the ability to measure the power draw or output.


I can tell you that the adapter works fine with my Toshiba A505D, Dell Inspiron 1300, Inspiron 1525, and Inspiron 1721 laptops. In the case of the Dells it took some trial and error, as only the 1721 used the black tip. In the end, it doesn’t really matter as I was able to find a tip for each of the laptops in my house.


Now I’ll talk about the USB charging capability of this adapter. As I stated in the opening of this preview, I do not have the ability to scientifically and accurately measure the charging ability of this adapter. What I can tell you is that this adapter seems to charge my LG phone faster than hooking it to a computer. From the low battery warning to charge complete took the USNA 95 about 45 minutes, while the lap top takes about 55-60 min. That’s in the neighbourhood of 10-15 minutes faster, so ~20% or so faster than the laptop. Again, at this point that is purely my observation. The charge times for an older Sony USB MP3 player are in the neighbourhood of 25% faster. The first generation iPod Nano charging times settle in between the two at around 22-23% faster. I also did not notice a significant difference in charge time if the adapter was also powering a laptop.

Now, before I forget; a quick word about the LED on the adapter. Once the adapter is connected to an outlet the LED is green indicating normal usage. As soon as a USB device gets plugged in that is not at full charge the LED shows red. The colour changes to green once the device gets fully charged.

Cooler Master calls this an “Ultra Slim” Notebook Adapter. It is definitely small...not much larger than my LG phone. As a reference I would say that this adapter is about the size of a blackberry. At 62mm wide, 104mm long and 17mm tall it certainly doesn’t take up much room in any kind of bag if you are on the move.

There is a small plastic cable clip to help control cable clutter. While I think that this can be useful to some people, for me I didn’t really work with it too much. I found that with the shorter power cable I didn’t have a lot of loose cable lying around so it just wasn’t something that bothered me.
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Old August 24, 2011, 06:40 PM
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Conclusion

Overall, I can see the benefits to owning the USNA 95. It has the ability to charge and power many different types of laptops. It comes with 9 different tips for you to find the one that fits your laptop. That is especially useful to somebody like me who has multiple laptops. At the same time, you have the ability to charge a USB device right on the adapter itself. It is also fairly small, so you can pack it into a bag or a pack if you are on the move somewhere. It even comes with its own bag to keep all the parts together. As my laptop is the only in the house that has sleep and charge the USNA 95 has become a sort of communal charging station for those too lazy to go plug into my desktop.

Earlier I mentioned the price, both on the CM store and on a couple of the e-retailers popular here on HWC. It may seem a bit on the high side, until it’s compared to the price of the adapters for the laptops I have in my house. Looking on Batteriesdirect.com I found an adapter for the Inspiron 1525 for about $55, the Inspiron 1721 is about the same price. A new adapter for the Inspiron 1300 on that website runs $46.99. The adapter for my Toshiba runs $89.99 on the Toshiba website, the only place I could find it. So, for a price roughly in the middle of what OEM adapters would cost me I can get an adapter that can be used on more than one laptop model as well charge USB devices, albeit one at a time. Seems like a pretty decent deal to me.

Overall, I am fairly happy with this adapter.

Pros:

Flexibility- both in the ability to work with multiple laptop models, but the ability to charge USB devices at the same time.

Apparent slight increase in charge times- I say apparent, as I did not scientifically evaluate charge times.

Value- Decent price compared to OEM adapters, then add in the additional features.

Cons:

Power cord is too short, makes it hard to use the laptop in any of the places I normally sit and have the laptop plugged in.
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Old August 24, 2011, 11:59 PM
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very nice and well written mr perry!
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Old August 25, 2011, 07:40 AM
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Thanks. Not sure how the reviewers here produce the reviews they do consistently. Getting the formatting right drove me around the bend...sometimes word and excel didn't want to cooperate with the forums.
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Old August 25, 2011, 03:43 PM
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Nice review, Always wondered how effective those uniserval power adapter were. The power cord thing is kinda lame. How hard can it be to provide a decent size one.
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Old August 25, 2011, 05:29 PM
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Thanks. I might have been spoiled by a really long power cord on my Toshiba, so that the one that came with the CM adapter would seem to be extra short. The 22" difference between the two is fairly significant though. If that's all I have to complain about, I think I can live with it
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Old August 25, 2011, 05:44 PM
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I have a Toshiba myself and it can be quite handy to be able to reach an extra 22'
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Old August 26, 2011, 08:21 AM
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I actually didn't think of comparing the cord length against the cord length of any of the Dells in the house, at least not till this morning. I never actually use the Dells since they aren't mine. Once I get a chance tonight I will check it out and post here.

It can be extremely handy to be able to reach that extra 2 feet. In a way its really a non issue for me as the adapters for all the laptops in my house are still good, so the sole purpose currently for this CM product is just recharging our USB devices.
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