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Apc Be350 R Back Ups 350 Va

Reviewing: Apc Be350 R Back Ups 350 Va  |  Rating:
By pdcd on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 7 | Other Technology Expertise:

The APC BE350R Back-UPS 350VA is one of APC's cheapest uninterruptible power supply (UPS) solutions, designed mainly for personal usage. It is 15"x9"x5" and weighs about 10 pounds, relatively small and light for UPSes.

When I purchased the BE350R I wasn't looking for much more than a glorified surge protector, so my expectations were not high for it. The traditional power strips you can buy at discount and general stores claim thay have surge protection, but it's not very strong and if a strong surge hits don't expect your devices to be safe. Most, if not all, UPS devices will convert the AC to DC and back to AC -- it's not just a fuse, which means everything hooked into it is safer.

The BE350R has 4 outlets for surge protection only, and 4 outlets for surge protection & battery backup. They're widely spaced, so no problem getting large plugs in. It comes with a USB link you can hook into your computer to get reports on surges, spikes, etc. You can also configure it to shut down your computer in the case of power loss, so that if you're not around to shut it down, it will shut down gracefully before the UPS loses power. Your phone line (RJ-11) can be plugged in as well for extra protection.

When you first set up the BE350R you have to manually attach the battery, which is not any more difficult than putting a battery in a smoke detector. The battery bay is much larger than the BE350R and if you want to purchase replacement batteries or larger batteries you can. The BE350R outer shell is the same for many of the models, the difference is just the size of the internal battery.

APC states you can expect 2 minutes of usage after power goes out, but this is dependant on what you have plugged into it. I have a 32" LCD TV, a DVR (digital video recorder), a Drobo (external hard drive array), and a PS2. I'd plug my computer in, but it's a laptop so I have it on the surge protection only side. Even with the PS2 and TV off, I don't get more than 30 seconds of power. That said, here and every place I've ever lived at power outages usually last a few seconds, or at least 10 minutes, so to me 30 seconds of power is just about as good as 5 or 10 minutes. After being discharged, it takes several hours to charge back up. During storms I've been pleased with its performance dealing with a series of 1-2 second power losses.

Overall the BE350R is a great home UPS at a fairly low cost that provides considerable extra protection for those more expensive devices, whether or not you need the extra few seconds of power. You get what you pay for, though, so don't expect it to last longer than a minute even with just one device plugged into it!

Note: Some websites advise you to hook your UPS up to a power strip with surge protection for extra protection, but this can alter the impedance and mess things up in certain situations, so don't ever do this.