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Enthusiast Power Protection: Four-Way 900 W UPS Roundup

CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD

The long name for CyberPower’s upper-mainstream backup unit is easily broken down into brand (CP), VA rating (1500), PFC power supply support, and an LCD front-panel display.

Besides being the smallest, lightest, and cheapest unit in today’s roundup, the CP1500PFCLCD is also the only unit that has not fully replaced step-wave with pure-sine-wave circuitry, instead opting for a modified triangular wave that CyberPower calls “Adaptive Sinewave” to eliminate the zero power state that has so often prevented step-wave units from working with active PFC power supplies. This basically means that users get the enhanced compatibility of a sine wave unit at a low price similar to many step wave competitors.

A large LCD panel eases manual configuration from the unit itself, giving users one more excuse not to install the included management software. Enhanced front-panel capabilities also make the CP1500PFCLCD a better choice for non-PC power backup applications, such as home theater system protection, and CyberPower even lets you charge your USB-equipped cell phone from the front panel. If you’re starting to think this might be the perfect device for household emergencies, that’s probably the kind of thinking CyberPower is hoping to foster.

Unlike more expensive solutions that have configurable load-shedding outlets, the CP1500PFCLCD has five battery-backed and five surge-only outlets (two covered by the red warning label). PC users can plug unneeded peripherals like their speakers and printer to the surge-only connections for instant power-off, preserving the battery for their PC and monitor. Similarly, home-theater users can keep required devices, such as their TV, cable box, and radio plugged into the battery-backed side as they listen to emergency alerts, while unnecessary devices power off instantly to preserve the unit's limited battery life.

CyberPower surprised us by including a telephone and TV cables in its installation kit, along with the expected USB cable, manual, and software CD.