How about that feeling when you’re working on a project, and suddenly the room goes black. All black. Never mind the fact that you can’t see, but where did your work go?

Or you leave your computer on while you run out for errands, only to get hit by a major thunder storm, and not making it back in time. That’s making it back in time to unplug the computer, not not making it back at all.

I have had modems and routers destroyed by lightning. Phones. Even motherboards. And it’s a pain every time. The costs are one thing, but being disconnected for several days is almost worse.

Living in this old house with some wonky electronics, and a power company that thinks it’s ok to cut the power every now and then, made me think. Think, research and buy.


This is what I ended up with. The APC Back-UPS ES 700.

Why this one?

For starters it’s one of few cheap UPSes that work with the Mac. A UPS needs to work with your computer you say? Sure, any UPS will give you extra juice, but what about the times when those five extra minutes aren’t quite enough, and you are still out doing those errands? With a USB cable, and a small piece of software, your UPS can automatically shut down your computer when it’s running low on power, saving you that “accidental” shutdown. Be warned though that the APC UPS will not save your work, it will shut your Mac down the hard way. Unless… yes, there is a workaround. You can write small shell scripts that will be run before shutdown, performing any crucial work you might need to get done (now is not the time to run those monthly maintenance cron scripts though).

The ES 700 is also one of the cheapest UPSes. Cheapest among the most powerful that is. Which brings me to the third reason I picked this.

405 watts. That’s how much juice it can deliver. Or 700 VA if you like. What it means is that if your equipment is pulling 405 watts, the UPS will deliver backup power for 3.9 minutes. At half load, or 202.5 watts, it will give you a staggering 15.1 minutes, defying all laws of gravity (and power).

If you’re pulling 410 watts… well, you ain’t gonna get much love at all. For me, 405 watts is enough to keep my Mac Pro running, with my Dell display hooked up, and a couple external drives (and still some room left). I would however recommend you get one of those thingies you hook up between your power strip and the outlet, that will tell you exactly how much power you’re drawing. It’ll run you about $15.

Like I said, this one is one of the most powerful UPSes among the cheap ones. At least from APC. Any more capacity, and you are looking at the “pro” products, which while I don’t know how, work in a different way, are ten times bigger and heavier, and probably also ten times more expensive.


The money shot.

The APC Back-UPS ES 700 has 8 power outlets, 4 of which are backed up by the battery, and the other 4 just protected by the surge protector. It also has connections for your phone line, to protect phone, fax or modem/dsl connection against power surges. Oh, and a USB port for connecting your computer, like mentioned above.

The price seems to be around $90, and if you ask me, that is a small price to pay for not losing your work and/or equipment. Then again, it all depends on where you live, and how careful you are. But really, I’d say it’s worth it none the less. One can never be too careful, right?

UPDATE: in the US, this model seems to be replaced by the ES 650 at $80, or the ES 750 at $100 MSRP.

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2 Responses to “Review: APC Back-UPS ES 700”  

  1. 1 Kiro

    I have always been fascinated by these little backup power supplies. I haven’t looked out for any but I might look at this one. Nice Review!

  2. 2 Andreas

    Thanks Kiro! I don’t think you will be let down by any of APCs offerings.


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