It's hard to get excited about buying a laptop charger since it's a necessity and only good for one thing: powering a laptop. On top of that, they're generally bulky and ugly. The Targus Premium Laptop Charger is not only a smaller, lighter package than the typical power pack, but its design is nice and the use of tips instead of fixed outputs allows you to use it for more than one system or device. The Premium package includes the power supply; charging cable; 11 tips including Mini-USB and Apple iPhone/iPod connectors; a car adapter; and an elastic band for cable management. The tips work with laptops from Acer, Asus, Compaq, HP, Fujitsu, Dell, HP, Gateway, IBM/Lenovo, Panasonic, Sony, and Toshiba. (Unfortunately, no Apple laptop tips are currently available.) If you don't need so many tips to start, Targus sells less-expensive packages with fewer included. The charger has a couple shortcomings, but all in all it's an excellent choice for those who need to replace a laptop charger or simply want a smaller one with more purpose than powering a notebook.
Most laptop chargers are simple matte-black rectangular blocks with one fixed cable for attaching to the system's input and one removable one that's required to plug into an outlet. This means you've got a minimum of two cables and a thick adapter to deal with when traveling--and that's without adding in chargers for other mobile devices. The Targus Premium Laptop Charger, on the other hand, measures 2.7 inches wide by 4.5 inches deep by 0.8 inch high and is topped in glossy black plastic and backed by ridged matte gray plastic. It's nice-looking for a power supply and matches many of the company's mobile computer accessories. The biggest complaint is that the glossy top scratches easily. The whole package weighs 11 ounces and is slim enough to slip into a simple sleeve alongside a laptop without a struggle.
The AC prongs lie flat, folding into the body, but rotate out making firm stops at 90 and 180 degrees. This allows it to fold flat against a wall and to stand straight up if you need to plug into a crowded power strip. That's assuming you're plugging into a strip with outlets that are in a single, straight row. If you're plugging into a strip, wall adapter, or wall that has side-by-side outlets, the sides of the charger to the left or right of the AC prongs will interfere with neighboring outlets. A short extension cord will solve this, even one that's just a few inches long, but you'll otherwise need to free up space around the power pack for it to fit.
At the opposite end of power supply from the AC prongs is a port for connecting the included power cable. The cable can also be connected to the included car cigarette lighter adapter, removing the need to carry a separate cable for that task. The power cable isn't all that long at roughly 6.5 feet. If you're frequently working at desks or tables next to an outlet, you'll be fine, but an additional 2 feet would be welcomed. Mostly because the tips pull apart from the cord easily, so some slack in the power cable is needed for them to stay connected.
Toward the end of the cable is a small splitter that matches the look of the charger. That splitter has a pair of 6-inch cables coming from it, each terminating in a proprietary connector for attaching tips. This is where the Targus Charger scores big. Not only can you charge two things at once, but if you have something other than a laptop that needs power, you're set. Just pop on the tip and plug in. You don't need to carry a bunch of chargers with you, only a couple extra tips. And with the company's Tips from Targus program, you can request additional tips free of charge; you only need register the charger with Targus to qualify and pay for shipping, which is about $4.
As for power, the adapter is rated from 10 to 24 volts at up to 4.75 amps. The maximum power supplied is 90 watts. That allows it to charge most thin-and-light and ultraportable notebooks--the ones that most people will likely be traveling with. Larger mainstream and desktop replacement laptops generally need more juice, so be sure to check your needs before you buy this charger. This input information can typically be found labeled on the underside of a laptop. We tested the Targus Premium Laptop Charger on a number of mainstream systems and it never failed to work, as long as we used the proper tip and the power demands were within the charger's range.
The Targus Premium Laptop Charger is a spot-on portable power solution for mobile devices. It's small, reasonably lightweight, and about as attractive as a power supply is going to get. Its power cord will be a bit short for some users and the tips detach a little too easily from the cord, but those are really the only issues. Targus' free tips policy is an excellent bonus, too, giving this use beyond the life of your current laptop and other mobile devices.