For anyone looking at buying an Uninterruptible Power Supply you might like to know that we like to see good Value for Money in the products we review and this unit dishes it out in spades.
So here goes:
Before we get into the specifics, let’s first discuss why just about everyone that has to work from home these days or runs a small business needs to have some backup power for their computers.
Twice today our power went down during a pretty nasty autumn storm. It’s nice to know that you can finish certain tasks without stressing too much about when the electrons are gonna flow again. How much time depends on the load the UPS needs to sustain.
More on that in a moment.
We’ve written before on an aspect that’s just as important for your electronics. You can read here our review of the CyberPower’s bigger sibling the PR2200ELCDSL where we talk about Automatic Voltage Regulation.
This feature evens out the very irregular voltage that gets delivered to your house or business. Spikes in voltage and brownouts (low voltage) can wreak havoc on sensitive electronics.
AVR is absolutely essential for computing equipment.
The VP1200ELD has that and also protection for phone, fax, and network connections.
The big LCD display tells you the load capacity and how much battery capacity is left.
When you first start up the unit, the obligatory beep is followed by regular beeps if the unit is not powered. Fortunately, you can mute that with a long press of the Mute button.
The display also indicates an Estimated Runtime – initially about 360 minutes for this model.
Sounds adequate, but – what does it mean? How much time do you really have?
The box says up to 150 minutes runtime. That applies only to its higher capacity sibling which is also shipped in the same size box. The runtime listed for a 60W computer – like the 21” iMac – is 117 minutes. Nearly two hours extra which is pretty good.
It is important that you get plenty of time to gracefully shut down your PC after a power out situation.
A handy feature of this unit is that when power goes down, the software will automatically save all your files and shut the system down.
If there’s no load on the system and no input power but the display is on, be aware that the battery will drain very quickly in less than a day.
Power-hungry devices like laser printers, copiers or heaters must not be plugged into the UPS.
Curiously, the installation leaflet mentions to connect PC, monitor and external storage devices like Zip drives, Jazz (properly spelled Jaz) drives and tapes.
This shows how long CyberPower has been producing UPS systems as Zip and Jaz drives were introduced more than 25 years ago! They were popular for a brief few years back then when CyberPower introduced their first UPS... It looks like they’ve just copied that line about those drives ever since! Time for an update.
The manual describes how to calculate the optimal load on the system which should not be higher than 80% of the rated capacity. For this unit that means 80% of 720W is 576W. So total up the power consumption of your computer equipment and stay under that number. Of course CyberPower has units to cater for the most demanding environments but in this Value Pro series there are 4 units from 390W to 960W.
See the models here.
The top 2 models have 4 outlets that are all surge protected and 3 of them have battery backup.
For communication to your computer and to configure the unit you can choose from a serial or USB port. The software used is PowerPanel Personal.
Configurable alarms can be set directly on the unit.
These functions and many more to fine-tune your UPS can be accessed by pressing the Select and Enter buttons at the same time.
We have been testing and using CyberPower systems for many years. This CyberPower VP1200ELCD UPS is indeed good value for money at the listed price of AUD339.
We like the ample backup power, the configurability and the fact that AVR always gives you power that’s been cleaned up before it goes into your computers– without spikes, surges or voltage that’s too low.
The official RRP is already reasonable but, as always, you may do better if you search around a bit.
We’ve seen it advertised for as low as $239 plus shipping. It’s a fairly weighty unit at just over 10kgs.
Last recommendation: You can’t go wrong with a CyberPower for backup but the critical decision to take is that you DO get backup power if your computer is important to you!