I live in Virginia. That means not long after the new year, a massive snowstorm tried to kill me. Only days beforehand, I received a package from a PR company containing an “APC Gaming UPS,” which is basically a massive backup battery. This one is being marketed towards gamers, a distinction largely lost on me because I only learned about home UPS units with this thing. Regardless, after figuring out how to set it up, I was able to use the UPS to mitigate the onset of what turned out to be a nearly week-long power outage nobody was prepared for.
APC Gaming UPS Review
It’s hard to set that up without coming off like a bizarre advertorial, but hear me out. I get emails all the time for things I’ve never heard of, and the idea of a gaming-centric power surge device seemed incredibly useful. At least, that’s what I thought this product was as I filled out the “I’m a games journalist” form. I didn’t expect to see anything frankly, since tech review samples can be pretty scarce. But it showed up a few months later, and it turned out to be a lot more than a surge protector.
First things first, UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply. Basically, this massive hunk of plastic and LCD displays is a several outlet surge protector, but it’s also a huge battery backup, with said battery providing most of its 20-something pound weight. In addition to power outlets, it also has ethernet passthrough, USB ports and other things like some Coaxial outlets. It also has a large, circular display screen that slopes down the front at an angle, making it really easy to read if the device is, for example, sitting under a desk.
After installing the battery and… figuring out how to turn it on, the APC Gaming UPS seemed both handy to have, and a little excessive. Instead of my normal power strips, I now had a massive, black obelisk equipped with pulsing Gamer Lights. I attached most of my work-adjacent equipment, and went about my business. Part of that business was figuring out how to angle my coverage for a fairly casual gaming website.
Then a day or two later, what seemed like a mild snow storm took out what seemed like the entire Appalachian region. You probably saw the stories about the I-95 highway being locked down for over 24 hours, but that wasn’t the only disaster. Our local, mediocre at best power company did such a poor job preparing the area for heavy snow that power all over the state was almost totally wiped out. Instead of stock buybacks, perhaps the money said company has sucked up (by documented overcharging, even) could’ve been used to do things like trim trees. Oh well.
When the power went out, the UPS immediately kicked on and started beeping at me. In fact, I didn’t even realize the power had gone out at first. The display showed me how much voltage was in use versus its capacity, and how much time I had left. This ended up being roughly two hours, which kept my internet connection, computer and lights in the room on at what became only the start of a crisis. Normally I don’t do things like keep my devices juiced up all day, so the difference made here cannot be understated.
As the clock ticked down on the battery, it became pretty apparent this would be more than a minor outage. Living in the southern US, but well above Florida, I’m not exactly used to that kind of thing. So when the power company’s website basically shrugged at me, it started to sink in that I had an emergency in front of me. Enjoying some extra videogame time turned into a mad dash to find batteries, charge devices, contact friends/family and get as much information as possible.
Frankly, if it wasn’t for this hulking behemoth of gamerfied battery power, things would’ve been a lot worse. But with the time I had left, I was able to get my wife and I set up with full phones and USB chargers, which helped us stay informed. As we headed to a full night without power, in the middle of winter, we still had those resources. As overnight gradually became several nights, we were able to use what we had left to figure out what to do next. Long story short, we found a place to stay and were able to get through the next several days of our apartment being completely in the dark. I don’t think we would’ve died or anything, but it’s easy to say that thanks to some bizarre timing, I got to experience one of the best use cases possible for the APC Gaming UPS.
Hopefully next time I can just use it for videogames.