The APC Back-UPS ES 550 (also known as the BE550G) is a small, relatively inexpensive surge protection/uninterruptable power supply unit that packs a lot of punch for its price point.
I know we mainly review Chromebooks (and Chromebook accessories – H. Hill), but UPSes are universal computer peripherals, no? That being said, I actually use this affordable UPS mainly for my Mac Pro workstation (8 cores, 4 hard drives, 2 video cards) and contrary to the speculation I’ve read for years on forums, the APC Back-UPS ES 550 handles the power draw just fine (the Mac Pro is notorious for using a lot of power on start-up, which supposedly should make the UPS beep when turning on or resuming from sleep — but this doesn’t happen for me). The 550VA rating in the name translates to about 330 Watts, which is more than enough to run my computer and my primary monitor so I can save my work and shut down during an extended power outage.
The first night I had everything plugged into the UPS — I kid you not — the power went out overnight. Being a freelancer from home and a lifetime night owl, I generally do a lot of my work in the middle of the night, and have thrown my share of private, one-person tantrums when the lights dim for a second and the computer reboots. I wasn’t at the computer when it happened, but received a message on-screen (!) from the UPS letting me know that the computer had been on battery power while I was away.
It was days before I experienced another power surge/brownout, but we do get both frequently here so this is easily one of the best investments I’ve made. The time saved alone by not having to grudgingly wait while my computer reboots and re-open a program only to find there’s no backup and the last save was two hours ago… well… you understand.
The APC Back-UPS ES 550 is a simple UPS package (d’oh… pun seriously not intended). The box only comes with the (rather heavy) UPS 550 unit, a few sets of instructions in English, French, Spanish, and so on, the “PowerChute” power management software, and a handy extra telephone cable so you can protect your land line if you wish. It also has DSL/ethernet protection, for those wondering. There are 8 standard AC outlets — 4 include battery backup and surge protection, and 4 have surge protection without the battery backup (good for things like speakers, printers, etc. that you probably don’t need to be running off the battery while the power’s out).
Overall, I’m completely happy with the unit, especially with the low price. I’m glad I didn’t spend $200 on one with a higher capacity, because the 550G suits my needs for now just fine. If you do need more power, APC also has the APC 750G Back-UPS which goes up to 450 Watts and includes 2 more power outlets for a total of 10 (5/5). If you have any kind of computer setup and want some peace of mind, pick up this great, compact UPS!
- Great value for price
- First-rate UPS/surge protection from APC (One of the 2 most trusted long-time UPS brands)
- Up to 43 minutes of runtime for a standard computer setup.
- Keeps my Mac Pro and a single monitor powered up during annoying surges and brownouts
- 3 Year Warranty and a $75,000 Lifetime Connected Equipment Protection guarantee (as long as you own the unit)
- 8 AC outlets, as well as ethernet / DSL and telephone line outlets.
- Free power management software (for Windows) — software installation is optional, UPS works without it
- Cool running — hasn’t warmed up noticeably even during battery use.
- Small form factor — very compact for a UPS
- A bit heavier than it looks.
- 330 Watts may not be enough for multiple computers (but should be fine for 2-3 notebooks).
Overall Rating: (4.5)