Smallest computer charger for travel – FINsix DART


FINsix logoAre you traveling with your computer? If so, you know how much weight it adds to your bag. Even that 2-3 pound computer feels like a lead weight after a while!

So you might like the amazingly light FINsix DART as much as I do.

You have to see this!

FINsix DART light weight travel charger along side a pen for scale

DART charger – a dream to travel with

The DART is a 65W laptop charger that supports 100-240V so it’s good anywhere in the world. And it weighs virtually nothing. It came out of MIT research and started as crowd-funded.

It consists of:

  • 65W charger unit that is 2-prong American style. (It can be used with a European, UK, etc adapter.)
  • a universal cable that plugs into the charger on either end and enables you to plug a power tip into the other end.
  • a set of tips that work for most major PC laptops. (You only need to bring the tip you need.)
  • a built-in 2.1A (10.5 watts) USB port that, by reversing the cable can be close to your laptop or close to the power source.

If you’ve worked from a hostel, guest house or even hotel or friend’s home, you know what it’s like to not have a couple of free wall outlets (aka power points) so you know how handy a built-in high power USB port is! One outlet is all you need! And a 2.1A (10.5 watts) USB port provides higher power charging than most USB chargers.

FINsix says it’s “up to 4x smaller and lighter than today’s 65W laptop chargers.” It’s even smaller and lighter than a MacBook Pro power adapter! Every time I see a PC user’s power supply, I’m reminded all over again how tiny and sleek the DART is.

FINsix says it runs at 90%+ power conversion efficiency and doesn’t get hot, even with a larger Mac.

DART box and contents

DART box and contents

Dart Specs

Size: 2.75″ Long x 1.1″ Wide (6.86 cm Long x 2.79 cm Wide)
Weight: 85 grams (3 ounces or 0.18 pounds)
Volume: 3 cubic inches

What about a MacBook Pro or other higher power computer?

If you have an older Mac or a MacBook Air, you’ve got a MagSafe power cable which Apple never licensed so you can’t purchase a power tip for the DART.

If you’ve got a MacBook or MacBook Pro that has the newer USB-C connector, it comes with the long-time beautiful white power supply but the cable in that powers it is USB-C and you can purchase the DART-C. (The 13″ MacBook Pro uses a 61W brick. The 12″ MacBook uses a 30W brick.) The DART-C has you covered. However, you also have the ability to charge via any USB charger that has a high enough power output so you don’t even need to carry a power supply for your MacBook/Pro. Charging will be slower though, than with Apple’s brick or the DART-C.

FINsix writes:
“The DART-C is compatible with the 2016 15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. The 15″ MacBook Pro will charge slightly faster with its 87W USB-C charger (compared to the DART-C), we have observed 15-20 minutes difference* in charging time from 0 to 100% using the 87W Apple USB-C charger vs. the DART-C.”

Getting even lighter…

If you’d like to reduce your weight even more, and you already have a high power USB charger, you can purchase an extra 6′ cable that comes without the inline USB charger.

Wondering if it’ll work with your laptop?

If you wonder if the DART has a tip for you, have a look at finsix.com/#section-compatibility to see.

I don’t know if any PCs are using USB-C to charge, yet. If so, you have several options for a small charger. Of the ones I have seen advertised though (not first-hand), none looks as nice as the DART and I haven’t compared weights.

My Experience with the world’s smallest & lightest laptop charger

I have been traveling with my DART since 2017 and love it!*

The charger unit itself is at least half the size of the smallest (45w) Apple power block. The cable that connects to the computer is much thinner, so it takes up much less room. Together these pieces are significantly lighter than what I’d been traveling with — and you may have noticed my trick for not having to take Apple’s thick long cable “which I called: “Easiest way to plug in your MacBook around the world,” and that trick saves weight as well.

They say the cable is reversible. What this means is that either end of the charger cable can be plugged into the charger and either end can connect to a charger tip. The USB charger is close to one end.

TIP:
Logic told me to plug the end with the USB charger into the end by the computer tip so your USB device sits on your desk, close to the computer. However, my tip is to plug the end with the USB charger into the end close to the other end at least some of the time as the weight of the USB charger can possibly weigh your connector down. That said, when I have the USB port at the computer end, my 3″ or 6″ Nite Ize Gear Tie, which is plastic-covered metal as a strain relief, wrapping it around the top corner of my laptop.

 

*UPDATE Sept 24, 2018: Unfortunately, I have to report that my DART failed. Technically, I’d only used it for 7 months. I’d used it but put it aside to save it for my travels, then traveled with it for 5 months, then back home again, I again put it away to save it. Two months into my next travels, I plugged it into a standard UK fused adapter and then into a wall in a hostel that pre-dates elelctricity but had good power and immediately the light on the USB charger port flicked off. My charger was dead. Fortunately, I used the support form on the FINsix website and they sent me a replacement. (I had to pay their $15.50 international shipping fee and I’m not happy that they listed the full retail value on the replacement so the UK charged me £23.80, $31.25 for VAT and handling fee. This brought my replacement to $46.75. That’s half the purchase price, including US taxes, all over again.) I’ll never know if the unit failed due to the hostel’s wiring or whether it was something internal, but I figure I owe it to you to let you know. I’ve got to add though, that opening my new DART box in Thornbury, England, I again felt the glee of holding such a small laptop charger and I’m smiling now as I’m using it.

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