APC Back-UPS ES 700VA review

Price when reviewed

Most of the UPS devices on test don’t have very polished software; packages often feel like a bolt-on afterthought, while the Trust has no PC connection. But APC’s Back-UPS ES 700VA is a rare example where the software and hardware have been designed from the outset to work together.

APC Back-UPS ES 700VA review

PowerChute Personal Edition might continue APC’s poor play-on-words naming strategy, but the application itself is attractive, easy to use and gives you all the information you need at a glance. Battery-charge level, estimated runtime, current power source and input voltage are all prominent on the main interface. Plus, you can change the sensitivity of the device to voltage fluctuations, determining whether it switches to battery power or not when a fluctuation occurs.

The ES 700VA – so called because of the 700VA/405W rating – betters others by providing eight sockets, half battery powered and all eight surge protected. There are no IEC sockets in sight – all are the “proper” UK three-pin type. The battery is hidden beneath a sliding cover on the base, making it easy to connect the cable initially (it ships with one terminal disconnected) and quick to replace as and when it wears out.

On the side are RJ-45 in and out sockets, a reset button and, like the MGE, another RJ-45 port for connection to a PC using the bundled proprietary USB cable. It’s annoying there’s no standard USB interface, as you’ll need to be careful not to lose or damage the proprietary cable. An RJ-11 lead is also bundled, and the unit has a captive power cable for connection to the mains.

The ES 700VA lasted an impressive 27mins 44secs when we simulated a power cut – the software shuts the PC down a minimum of five minutes before critical level to ensure all files are saved, but you can also opt to shut down immediately to preserve battery power. At full load, like most others, the APC will only last four minutes on battery power. Despite being an offline UPS, applying power surges caused no problems for the ES 700VA – it sailed through our torture tests without breaking a sweat, failing only one test out of 12.

At £59, the APC isn’t the cheapest, but it comes with a three-year warranty and £50,000 connected-equipment insurance. Considering it also has more battery backed-up sockets than others, it’s great value and a deserving Labs winner.

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