Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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March 25, 2008 • Reviews

The Targus 100W Auto Power Inverter Review

I just missed posting this review in time for Texas’ Spring Break, but it should still be timely for everyone who plans on traveling this summer. I’ll warn you now though, in order to use this product you’ll need to give up one of your vehicle’s cup-holders.

Why would I ask for something so uncivilized?

Because by giving up a cup-holder you might just gain the means to charge up to three devices at the same time, all from a single cigar lighter or power port.

Intrigued? I was, which is how I came to be in possession of the Targus 100W Auto Power Inverter.

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The Power Inverter is composed of matte gray plastic with grippy rubberized black inserts; the device has a very solid feel, and the rubberized sections allow a good grip when it is in hand…but of course it seldom will be. At its widest points, the inverter measures approximately 6″ tall x 4.25″ across, and the base measures approximately 2.3″ across; it weighs exactly 14.8 ounces.

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The DC charger is attached to a 25″ cord…

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…which when not in use wraps around the top of the cup…

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…and tucks into a rear receptacle.

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On the top of the inverter are three power points: a grounded 120V AC plug, a USB port, and a Targus PPS port.

I didn’t know what a PPS port was either (don’t feel alone!), so a quick search on the Targus site was in order. I learned that “the PPS port can be used with the Targus Auto/Dual Digital Device Power Adapter (APP2001US). The APV11US can deliver 100W of continuous and up to 150W of peak power. It is safe to use and features over-current, over-temperature and surge protection.”

The 0.6″ slit at the top of the inverter is actually a status LED, which will glow bright blue when the inverter is receiving DC power.

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On the inverter’s base is a cooling vent; there are also notches cut into the base’s sides which will allow even more airflow.

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I don’t have any Targus PPS Port accessories, but I was still able to use the power inverter to charge both my MacBook Pro and iPhone at the same time in my ranch truck. Since I don’t own auto chargers for either item, the inverter is a very welcome addition to my road trip gear.

I do have one niggle, although it’s minor: so many American cup-holders are sized for a Big Gulp (32 ounce) drink or larger, which means that even the inner rings in my center console’s cup-holders are about an inch wider than the diameter of the inverter. While the sides of the cup-holder still hold it somewhat securely, it seems like there should be a sleeve that could be used for a snugger fit – maybe a modified koozie with no bottom could be adapted to work.

I suppose that the looser fit might also help with ventilation, so perhaps there is a benefit.

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According to Targus, the 100W power inverter has “built-in over-current, over-temperature and surge protection.” I think that a device such as this is a must-have accessory for anyone who uses electronics on the go. Imagine being able to charge digital music players, PDAs, mobile phones, DVD players, laptops -heck, even a portable television – without having to invest in a vehicle charger for each device; with the Targus Inverter, you can.

The Targus 100W Auto Power Inverter is available directly from the manufacturer as well as other retailers.
MSRP: $ 69.99 for the Inverter, add $19.95 if you get the Targus Universal Auto / Dual Digital Device Adapter; tips to fit supported devices are approximately $10 each
What I Like: Allows you to use and charge electronics items while in a vehicle – even if you don’t have a DC adapter; gives the ability to use and charge up to three devices at the same time if you also invest in the PPS Port accessories
What Needs improvement: The inverter fits rather loosely in all four of my truck’s front seat cup-holders; I suspect that it will do the same in many other vehicles.

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