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AmazonBasics ABHT1208TC Surge Protector Tear-Down

The New Challenger

AmazonBasics may not be the first name an enthusiast thinks of when it comes to surge protection for PCs and related equipment. With the rise of online shopping, though, Amazon’s house brands are bound to garner increased exposure.

I recently went shopping for surge protection for my mother’s new flat-panel televisions, and Amazon’s ABHT1208TC came up along the usual suspects. More than a year had passed since my last surge protector tear-down, so I decided to buy one for $23 CAD (~$19 USD) and find out how it stacks up against established players like APC’s SurgeArrest Performance, which costs $10-15 more and serves up a seemingly comparable feature set.


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The Box

As is frequently the case for goods that ship directly from warehouses to consumers, the expense of colorful print on glossy paper laminated on cardboard gets skipped in favor of generic brown cardboard and a simple label to act as a seal identifying the contents.

According to the label, this surge protector has 4350 joules of surge suppression, which is 1330 more than APC's.


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Accessories

The only other item inside, other than the power bar, is its multilingual manual, which rehashes the specifications and warnings on the box’s label. APC’s competitor comes with Velcro straps for cable management, a coax cable, and a phone cord, so there's roughly $5 worth of the price difference.


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Unboxed

Inside the box, the unit is wrapped inside a plastic bag. Usually when manufacturers do this, they also throw in a packet of silica gel and try to seal the bag to prevent metal parts from oxidizing while they sit in warehouses. Here though, it looks like the open bag’s only function is to protect the surface finish from scratches and friction during shipping.


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Shipping Cap

I believe this is the first surge protector I have looked at that ships with a protection boot on its RF connectors to protect them from getting knocked around. Then again, most other surge protectors are either tucked into custom-molded packaging or snug-fitting cardboard forms where the unit isn’t free to bounce around inside, as is the case with Amazon’s generic brown box.


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Plug

Here's another new plug style to add to the collection. This one is in somewhat of a P-shape, with a modest ridge along the top and back to help with grip. Assuming you grab this plug with your thumb in the nook and your fingers mainly on the back part near the neutral pin, maintaining a safe distance from the live pin shouldn’t be an issue. If you cannot access the outlet from an ideal angle, though, the irregular shape can be awkward.


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Cord

A fair number of sub-$40 surge protectors have 3×1.5mm² (#16) power cords. Surprisingly, that isn’t the case here. We instead get a whole 2.4 meters (eight feet) of 3×2.08mm² (#14) cord.


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Ports End

Two coax F-connectors and three telephone jacks sit directly on the seam between the two housing pieces instead of being inserted through housing holes with some alternate internal retention means. This simplifies the molds and assembly.

As far as I can remember, the other surge suppressors with coax ports I've seen had washers between their external nut and plastic housing. That's not the case here, so tack on another $0.05!


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Tail End

The side with the cable entry point features a typical rocker switch. We can't help but to be disappointed by the lack of strain relief at the cable’s entry point, which could lead to premature failure. Then again, most people rarely move their surge protectors, so failure from metal fatigue within the product's lifespan is pretty unlikely. There goes another $0.10!


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Back

The rear cover features a generous total of 10 screws holding Amazon’s surge protector together, two of which provide the clamping force near the cable's entry point to ensure it cannot be ripped out using force (within reason). Two wall-mounting slots provide means to mount the surge protector vertically in either orientation.


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Identity Check

Looking up UL listing E196224 reveals that Amazon’s ABHT1208TC is manufactured by CyberPower. With the amount of re-branding going on in every branch of the IT world, this shouldn’t be surprising at all. What do we expect to find inside? Likely a souped-up version of CyberPower’s unit in my $15 surge protector round-up from a few years ago.


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Daniel Sauvageau is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He’s known for his feature tear-downs of components and peripherals.