Jeremy Laukkonen is automotive and tech writer for numerous major trade publications as well as the creator of a popular blog and video game startup. A fan of EVs since the early 2000s, he stays up-to-date on the myriad complex systems that power battery electric vehicles.
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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Clear LCD display
10 outlets, including five battery backup outlets
Vertical orientation doesn’t take up much space
Hot swappable batteries
Option to connect additional batteries
Stepped sine wave like cheaper options
No USB or additional charging outputs
Big and heavy
The APC Back-UPS Pro 1500 takes up a lot of space, but it also provides enough juice to keep your gear running when the power goes out.
The APC Back-UPS Pro 1500 is a tower style uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that packs enough reserve battery capacity to keep most computers running when the power goes out. It doesn’t have enough juice to keep you gaming while the power is out, but it can allow you to continue working for a while if your power consumption is low, or to safely save your work and shut down if your workstation is especially power hungry.
I recently swapped out the old UPS I had been using to backstop the gaming rig I also use for work for a APC Back-UPS Pro 1500. Over the course of a couple weeks, I was able to test how well the Back-UPS Pro 1500 handles daily duty as a surge protector, and also subjected it to simulated brownouts and full-blown power outages to see how well it actually protected my high-end equipment.
The APC Back-UPS Pro 1500 has a mini tower configuration that looks like a smaller version of a desktop computer. The finish is mostly matte black, with a glossy stripe set into the front.
The overall design is fairly utilitarian, with all the sockets and outlets on the back, vents on the sides, and a display located conveniently with the handful of controls on the front, but it’s attractive enough that I wouldn’t mind leaving it on my desk if I had the room. Most will prefer to set this one under the desk instead of on top of it, but the tall and skinny form factor makes that easy as well.
The battery pack is located on the underside of the UPS, hidden behind a sliding panel, and the expansion pack can be found on the back of the unit for easier access.
This UPS comes with the battery disconnected, so hooking the battery up correctly is the most important part of the setup process. APC makes it pretty easy, with red and green color coded stickers showing whether or not you have the battery installed correctly.
Once you have pulled the battery, flipped it, and reinstalled it, the UPS is ready to use. It doesn’t ship with a fully charged battery though, so you’ll want to let it charge for a while before plugging anything in.
While the Back-UPS Pro 1500 is technically ready to go as soon as the battery finishes charging, most users will also want to install the PowerChute Personal Edition software that APC provides access to.
Installing PowerChute and connecting the Back-UPS Pro 1500 to a computer is quick and easy if you leave all the settings at default. If you want to change things like the sensitivity for switching to battery power, power consumption threshold for your master outlet, or any other settings, then the setup process will take longer.
Installing PowerChute and connecting the Back-UPS Pro 1500 to a computer is quick and easy if you leave all the settings at default.
The Back-UPS Pro 1500 comes with a small display that shows vital information like your input voltage, battery status, and the current load. You can access much more detailed information through the PowerChute software, but I found the inclusion of this little LCD screen to be a nice touch.
This UPS features 10 power outlets, all of which feature surge protection. Five of the outlets have access to backup battery power, and four can be controlled by a single master device. Of the ports that can be controlled by the master, just one has access to backup battery power.
In addition to power outlets, this unit provides surge protection for both Ethernet and cable connections. It also has a single data port that you can use to connect to a computer to take advantage of the PowerChute software, and an input for an auxiliary battery.
All the outlets and ports are located on the back of the device, and this UPS doesn’t include any USB charging ports or any other sort of dedicated charging ports. You get 10 power outlets, and that’s it.
This is an 865W/1500VA UPS, but those numbers refer to how much power the device can provide at one time, not how much power the battery has stored. The battery itself is a 216 Volt-Amp-Hour unit that can be hot swapped without the need to shut your equipment down, and this unit also has the option to connect an additional 372 Volt-Amp-Hour battery to a port located on the rear of the unit.
In my office setup, I had been using an old CyberPower UPS that was originally intended for a lower power workstation and wasn’t suited for my rig’s power needs. I slotted this unit in place, and it was able to handle both my monitors and my PC’s beefy power supply without a single complaint.
Since I didn’t experience any natural power outages, or even brownouts, during my time with the Back-UPS Pro 1500, I ended up simulating a power outage by flipping the appropriate circuit breaker. With the UPS on its default settings, it immediately swapped over, keeping my computer up and running with plenty of time to save and shut down.
The Back-UPS Pro 1500 doesn’t have any dedicated charging ports, so you have to plug chargers into the provided outlets if you want to charge your devices. This UPS is capable of putting out over 800 watts of power, so you can safely charge any device at the same speed you would normally experience by plugging the same charger directly into a wall outlet.
In terms of charging the onboard battery, I found that it takes about eight hours to charge the battery all the way. That isn’t bad for a battery this size, although it is longer than some UPS units I’ve used.
This UPS is capable of putting out over 800 watts of power, so you can safely charge any device at the same speed you would normally experience by plugging the same charger directly into a wall outlet.
With an MSRP of $240, the Back-UPS Pro 1500 is priced at the expensive end of the spectrum. It’s typically available in the $200 range, which is closer to the competition, but still fairly expensive.
The main feature of the Back-UPS Pro 1500 that may make it worth the extra money is the option to add an external battery. That can more than double the battery capacity, providing a massive amount of backup battery power for the relatively low initial investment. All of those features combine for a strong recommendation, though you’ll want to look elsewhere if you absolutely need a built-in USB charging socket or you’d rather save some money by going with a slightly less competent model.
If you don’t plan on using the auxiliary battery feature, then shop sales. This is a great UPS, but some of the shine comes off when it’s priced at or above the MSRP.
The main feature of the Back-UPS Pro 1500 that may make it worth the extra money is the option to add an external battery.
Priced at an MSRP of $250, and typically available for between $130 and $200, the CyberPower CP1500 is a very close competitor of the APC Back-UPS 1500. Their manufacturer suggested prices are very similar, but the CyberPower unit is typically available at a significant discount.
The CyberPower unit includes 12 outlets, six of which are battery backed, but it doesn’t include the master socket feature that’s offered by the APC Back-UPS 1500. It also includes a slightly more colorful display and two front-facing USB charging outlets, including one USB-C charger.
The CyperPower UPS also includes an expansion port on the back that you can use to install an SNPM card.
The APC unit, however, has the option to install an auxiliary battery, which the CyberPower UPS lacks. If you want to have that option in your back pocket, then the APC unit is the obvious choice. Otherwise, the CyperPower UPS has a lot of nice features and an attractive price.
A Bulky UPS with an easy battery expansion.
The APC Back-UPS 1500 is a great battery backup for medium duty applications, like power-hungry gaming rigs and large 4K TVs. It packs a lot of reserve battery capacity, enough to keep you working for a good long while on a low powered workstation, and you can even add additional power with the inclusion of an optional auxiliary battery.
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