Adaptor Perish

I’d like to inaugurate the new criticism category by reviewing my new 65 watt iBook adaptor. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Well, let’s begin.

65w iBook adaptorWords cannot describe my loathing for this device. That’s a pretty strong indictment for something so banal as a power adaptor, particularly one that I haven’t even taken out of the box. Power adaptors, though, eh? Meh. Plug them in, they work – or rather the thing that they, in turn, plug into, works. What’s to loathe indescribably? Verily I say unto thee, the reasons I loathe the Apple 65w iBook adaptor are threefold.

Firstly, this is the third one I’ve bought. And I’m not the grab-the-cord-and-yank kind of guy; my gear may have a bit of rack-rash, but generally speaking you won’t see me holding the frayed end of a power cord in my hand with my face blackened like Yosemite Sam’s after that unfortunate blowback incident when Bugs put the cork in his shotgun. I have a healthy respect for electricity. With the exception of my family, friends, cats and piano, everything I love runs off it. These adaptors, simply put, are inexcusably fragile. The half-capsule jack, containing the oh-so-clever multi-coloured LED ring, comes with a cute little rounded snap-on plastic cap of the type that offers no protection at all and is prone to being lost within a week of purchase. The jack itself is attached to a cable with about the diameter and tensile strength of a licorice whip.

Secondly, these things hit the market at a whopping $149 CDN, making them the most expensive power adaptor I have ever paid for by a margin of over $50. Eventually the price dropped to about $100, still at the top of the pops. Just out of curiosity, I thought I’d look up the replacement cost for one of the more specialized adaptors in my collection, the 1 amp 12 VAC adaptors that come with my Metasonix modules. They clock in at about $10 or so from Jameco. They are a perfect example of the “wall wart” phenomenon that Apple thoughtfully avoids with their design (actually Apple gives you the option), but if I started with $100 I could probably afford a few power bars to compensate.

Thirdly, this device is too precious in both senses of the word. There can’t be anything about a power adaptor that makes it worth that kind of money, and by that I mean I don’t need the wall-wart option, I don’t need the fold-out winding arms (they broke off my first one and I didn’t miss them), and I certainly don’t need the glowing multi-coloured ring, which I’ll bet dollars to fluorescent green donuts is the most expensive component. Fine to build in to the cost of the computer, but make a replacement without the useless crap and sell it for a reasonable price.

Rating: 5/10, and it only gets that much because it actually does what it’s supposed to when you plug it in.