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Tom's Holiday Buyer's Guide 2008, Part 1

APC BACK-UPS 10 Outlet ES BE750G
By: Ed Tittel

At 750 VA and 140 W, the APC BACK-UPS 10 Outlet BE750G (Green Edition) makes a fabulous combination of surge suppressor and power strip, with more than enough backup battery power to get you past most power hiccups without forcing a shutdown. According to a study from N.Y. University’s Wagner Graduate School, the average duration of a power outage in the continental United States from January 1990 to August 2004 was just under 20 minutes. For people whose configurations include all of the following, the unit offers between 36 and 60 minutes of battery power: a mini-tower desktop PC, a 15-19” LCD monitor, stereo speakers, a wireless access point or switch, and a single external USB drive.

Above and beyond the BE750G’s built-in batteries, which can power up to five of its 10 outlets during an outage, there’s a lot more to like about this unit. It can handle an aggregate power draw of up to 450 W, which is enough for most desktop gear, including your PC, a monitor, a printer, a wireless access point or switch, speakers, and so forth. The BE750G also includes a capable surge suppressor that should block power spikes, backed up with a $75,000 protection guarantee against power spikes and surges on the equipment plugged into it.

Furthermore, the device also senses power draw from a device plugged into its Master outlet. This enables the BE750G to shut off all devices plugged into its three master-controlled outlets when the master is turned off. Because that master device is usually a PC and controlled devices are usually speakers, monitors, and printers; APC estimates annual savings on electric bills will be lower by an average of $40 per year when using this device.

However, that’s only half of the BE750G’s green pedigree—though it’s a very nice half, to be sure. The other half comes from its high-frequency design, which requires less copper in its construction. This not only decreases the unit’s size and weight, it also lowers consumption for packaging costs (less plastic is needed to build its housing and it fits into a smaller box) and reduces shipping costs as well (always a cost factor when devices include permanent batteries).

All in all, the BE750G is an attractive, efficient, and usable power management and protection device. The outlets are cleverly situated so that you can plug multiple AC adapters right into the housing without too much crowding. It also includes APC’s well-known PowerChute software (v2.1.1 works with Vista; v2.0 works with XP, Media Center, and Windows 2000; and versions are available for older versions of Windows and other operating systems) for automatic hibernation and safe system shutdown as batteries are drawn down. At under $100, it’s one of the best techno goodies you can gift to any PC owner, including yourself!