Home > Hardware, Mobile > Review of the Kensington Wall/Air Ultra Compact Notebook Power Adapter

Review of the Kensington Wall/Air Ultra Compact Notebook Power Adapter

Kensington Wall/Air Ultra Compact=The Kensington Wall/Air Ultra Compact Notebook Power Adapter is simple; to be the lightest, most energy efficient power adapter that can also be used to charge your laptop as well as other mobile devices.  And compared to other regular 90 watt adapter, Kensington says the Ultra Compact Notebook Power Adapter is 43% smaller and 32% lighter.

In addition, the adapter also comes with over voltage, current, short circuit and temperature protection to make it an excellent long-term investment even if you switch or upgrade your machine.

As with other generic power adapters, support for various laptop brands are achieved by interchangeable power tips.  In this case, all common laptops (HP, Compaq, Dell, Acer, Toshiba, Lenovo, Sony, Gateway, Asus) should be supported, though you can take a look at the Power Compatibility Chart here to set your mind at ease.

Included with the various tips to get you started is an airline charging cable, retractable mini USB charging cable and travel pouch.  Other USB Power Tip Packs are sold separately if you require support for phones such as those from Motorola, Nokia, LG or Sony-Ericsson, among others.

Opinion

I have been using the Wall/Air Ultra Compact Notebook Power Adapter for a few weeks now, and I must say that I am very happy with its slimmer profile and reduced weight.  I was initially concerned that the adapter will not be able to handle my Sony Z series behemoth (It requires a power adapter of at least 85 watts) but I was assured by Kensington that it would not be a problem.

And who would have imagined that the simple built-in USB charger would prove to be useful; I am a convert on this now.  By using various USB cables that I already owned, I was able charge various devices such as my BlackBerry and iPhone much faster than via my laptop’s USB port.

So yes, the Ultra Compact Notebook Power Adapter has found a permanent home in my laptop bag, allowing me to leave my existing power adapter as a fixture for when I am at laptop and beyond – simply by swapping out the tip.

The Kensington Wall/Air Ultra Compact Notebook Power Adapter is currently priced at $95.99.

Read on for the detailed walk-through.

Obligatory box shot

Obligatory box shot

The power adapter

The power adapter

The various power cables and airline charging cable

The various power cables and airline charging cable

The retractable USB cord and various tips for the power adapter

The retractable USB cord and various tips for the power adapter

A travel pouch is included in the package

A travel pouch is included in the package

How the laptop-facing connector looks like prior to the insertion of the appropriate power tip

How the laptop-facing connector looks like prior to the insertion of the appropriate power tip

With the appropriate power-tip inserted

With the appropriate power-tip inserted

The USB port for charging your mobile devices or other USB-powered peripherals

The USB port for charging your mobile devices or other USB-powered peripherals

There is a voltage selector for use with certain laptops. It involves sliding in one (of two) provided plastic "keys" and is basically a slot-in and forget activity

There is a voltage selector for use with certain laptops. It involves sliding in one (of two) provided plastic "keys" and is basically a slot-in and forget activity

The Kensington power adapter accepts a standard two-prong type of power plug. It shouldn't be hard to get matching cables from elsewhere if you so desire

The Kensington power adapter accepts a standard two-prong type of power plug. It shouldn't be hard to get matching cables from elsewhere if you so desire

The power adapter switched on with a USB cable plugged into the USB charger port. Note the lit green indicator light

The power adapter switched on with a USB cable plugged into the USB charger port. Note the lit green indicator light

I personally use a retractable power cord together (third party) which I pair with the Kensington power adapter

I personally use a retractable power cord together (third party) which I pair with the Kensington power adapter

Side-by-side comparison with the default power adapter that came with my Sony Vaio laptop. In fairness, Kensington did say that my laptop might charge slower as its power adapter is slightly less powerful than the one from Sony

Side-by-side comparison with the default power adapter that came with my Sony Vaio laptop. In fairness, Kensington did say that my laptop might charge slower as its power adapter is slightly less powerful than the one from Sony

Another side-by-side comparison. The Kensington power adapter has a thinner profile, making it easier to bring around in a laptop bag

Another side-by-side comparison. The Kensington power adapter has a thinner profile, making it easier to bring around in a laptop bag

Top view comparison

Top view comparison

Everything I need packed into the included travel pouch (The retractable power cord is not part of the package)

Everything I need packed into the included travel pouch (The retractable power cord is not part of the package)

The travel porch with everything inside

The travel porch with everything inside

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  1. July 5th, 2010 at 22:45 | #1

    Hi what is the brand of the 3rd party retractable power cord and where did you get it?

    Thanks

  2. Paul Mah
    July 5th, 2010 at 23:26 | #2

    Hi there. The retractable cord is Lapmate, bought at a local computer shop. I’ve not seen it sold at any other place unfortunately..

  3. pat toche
    August 15th, 2010 at 04:40 | #3

    Hi, great review, I got myself the 33336US model because it was the only one currently available quickly where I live. My great worry was that the wall-to-adapter cable is way too short, but I thought I’d buy a cable from a local store.

    The funny thing is that the 33336US model comes with an IEC connector that I’ve never seen before. I believe the one you have is C7 (see the picture above, next to your “The Kensington power adapter accepts a standard two-prong type of power plug. It shouldn’t be hard to get matching cables from elsewhere if you so desire”). I couldn’t find any information on the connector on the 33336US model I bought… It looks similar, except that the two prongs are separated by an empty space and they are not round by more like a sideways rugby ball / USfootball, if you see what I mean… I’m currently considering reshaping a C7 (I have accumulated many in a box) with a knife. Alternatively, I may have to use the packaged connector and reattach it to a longer cable. So here’s a warning for anyone planning to replace the cable on the 33336US — you may not find the (as yet unidentified) connector near your home.

  4. pat toche
    August 15th, 2010 at 04:55 | #4

    if you zoom on this photo, at the top, you can see what the connector looks like.

    http://a.imageshack.us/img830/1395/k33336us.jpg

  5. pat toche
    August 16th, 2010 at 16:20 | #5

    The Kensington 33336US connector (as pictured above) is “very special” according to just about everyone at the Mongkok computer center, Hong Kong. Couldn’t find anything like it. It’s probably manufactured by Kensington on purpose so that they can better control your lives.

    If you cut a standard C7 right down the middle with a kitchen knife and refine the job with a nail file you can get a Kensington 33336US-compatible connector. It took me 15 minutes, it fits well, and now I have a longer wall-to-adaptor cable. It shouldn’t have to be this hard though, should it?

  6. Paul Mah
    August 16th, 2010 at 16:25 | #6

    Hi Pat Touche, I think the 33336US connector that you referred to is just a version without the “neutral” pin. I suppose availability depends on where you live. Personally, I was lucky to favor the use of a retractable cable (and which I already own) that supplies both 2-pin and 3-pin output, so I never had to hunt around for a longer version with the correct connector.

  7. pat toche
    August 24th, 2010 at 04:49 | #7

    Hi Paul, I bought the adapter on amazon.com, from the U.S, had it shipped over, it’s model 33336US, where US stands for the US model. I know now (too late!) that the European model has a different adapter, that might have been better… The connector I’m talking about is a modified C7, very similar to the C7 pictured above but modified slightly by the manufacturer, not much but just enough that it won’t fit exactly a C7. Anyhow, I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and I’m very pleased. The kitchen knife adaptation job is one of the highlights of my summer.

  8. Will Chang
    November 21st, 2010 at 13:35 | #8

    An adapter from three to two wires is available at Ziplinq.com. http://www.ziplinq.com/products/Prod_Individual3.aspx?groupcode=S3020

  1. November 24th, 2010 at 02:29 | #1
  2. May 11th, 2011 at 10:43 | #2