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Lifewire / Erika Rawes
Gamer aesthetic with RGB lighting
Reactor circle with indicator lights
No touch display
For a gamer who wants reliable power management for their PCs, consoles, and networking devices, the APC Gaming UPS can provide that service in style.
We purchased the APC Gaming UPS so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for the full product review.
A UPS can protect your valuable equipment from power incidents. Whether in the middle of a tense multiplayer game, boss fight or even halfway through an important piece of unsaved work, the last thing you want to is to lose everything due to a power outage or brownout.
The APC 1500VA Gaming UPS (uninterrupted power supply) aims to keep you going for long enough to restore power in the event of brief outages and brownouts, giving you time to safely shut down your device, preserving your valuable data and hard drives. To find out if this UPS is a worthwhile addition to a gamer’s collection, I tested the APC 1500VA Gaming UPS for two weeks, paying special attention to its design, setup, process, ports, connectivity, and performance.
The APC 1500VA Gaming UPS has a slick, gamer vibe, and it’s able to neatly mesh with most gaming PCs and consoles. It comes in two colors, midnight and arctic, and features an LCD display, ringed by an RGB reactor circle that doubles as an indicator light. It will alert you quickly to any power changes, as well as how much charge the UPS has remaining.
The customizable RGB lighting on the reactor circle can match any RGB lighting you have on your rig or peripherals, and there’s an additional RGB light on the back of the UPS that provides a glow. The lights make it look as though the UPS belongs as a part of your setup. An easily accessible button on the front will change the RGB colors. Since the ring doubles as an indicator light, the color changes during power loss events to alert you to the percentage of battery left.
The backlighting helps with visibility, illuminating the plugs to make connections easier. Aside from the lighting and display, the design is relatively simple. There’s sufficient venting surrounding the UPS, promoting good airflow. There are a few buttons on the front —a power button, a menu button, a mute button, and the button to change the RGB lighting—and the ports are all positioned on the back (except for the three charging ports for devices like controllers and phones, which sit on the front of the device). The screen is angled for optimal viewing, but it’s not a touch screen.
The customizable RGB lighting on the reactor circle can match any RGB lighting you have on your rig or peripherals, and there’s an additional RGB light on the back of the UPS that provides a glow.
The UPS stands at 11.4 inches tall and 4.2 inches wide, so it will fit in most desk shelves of cubbies. However, with a weight of almost 26 pounds, you may not want to make a habit of moving it around from room to room. Overall, the design of the APC 1500VA Gaming UPS serves both form and function.
The APC 1500VA has ample ports and outlets to ensure it can replace your current surge protector under your desk. A total of 10 outlets are available, six of which provide battery backup power and surge protection, while the four additional outlets provide only surge protection.
The outlets are broken up with five on each side in a row, meaning there is a single battery backup outlet on the surge protection-only side. I found this to be a bit annoying since I had to pay extra attention to ensure my devices were plugged in the right spots. A four/six configuration would have been better.
Keep in mind that the more devices you have plugged into the battery backup outlets, the less time and power you will have available during outages. Oddly enough, there is a circuit breaker button placed right in the middle of the outlets, which I accidentally hit while plugging in devices. This isn't the best placement for this button.
On the front of the unit sit three, well-placed USB charging ports: one USB-C and two USB-A. This provides easy-to-reach access to charging ports for controllers or phones. Also included are surge-protected coaxial ports and a 1GB data line, which will prevent any surges from traveling through your cable and Ethernet wires, further protecting your devices.
The APC 1500VA Gaming UPS is really easy to set up, but there’s one essential step that can make or break the experience: connecting the battery. Smaller UPS devices don’t necessarily require that you connect the battery before plugging in the UPS, but larger UPS units usually ship with the battery terminal disconnected.
Often, UPS units will have a large, bright warning directly on the device stating this, but the APC gaming UPS didn’t have such a warning. It’s in the instructions, but there wasn’t a warning directly on the device. If you don’t connect the terminal, or you connect it incorrectly, it can be a hazard. To connect the battery, slide the battery door off, lift the battery using the included lifts, connect the wire that’s exposed, and slide the door back on. It’s an easy step, and you don’t need any tools, but it’s an incredibly important step.
Setup continues by plugging your UPS into a normal wall outlet, then connecting your devices into the outlets and ports in the back of the UPS, ensuring the devices you want to have battery backup for are plugged into the labeled outlets, and those you simply want to have surge-protected are plugged into the correctly labeled outlets as well. You can also connect your coaxial cables or Ethernet coming from your wall into the UPS, then run those to your modem or router, or in the case of the Ethernet, your PC, console, or router.
Once wired up, you can leave everything as is and play away knowing your devices are protected. There are some advanced features should you wish to take advantage of them through the available APC PowerChute Personal Edition software. It’s available for download from the APC website.
If you choose to use the PowerChute Software for PC, you can access features such as self-testing, hibernation, and the all-important Operating System Shutdown, which will automatically shut down your PC gracefully when a power loss occurs, ensuring that your PC is safe, even when you’re not home.
The APC 1500VA Gaming UPS is relatively basic in the connectivity department, there aren’t really many smart features, nor Wi-Fi connectivity. The only way to interact with the device other than the exterior LCD panel is to use the PowerChute software, which is available only for PCs.
The package includes the USB data port cable to connect the UPS to your PC, and if you use the software, you are able to see the device’s status, performance summaries, testing results, and similar output. The main draw for the software is its ability to automatically shut down your PC, a function which is incredibly important for PC users.
The package included a sheet with a QR code, and this initially led me to believe I could download and use the APC app. This was misleading, as I was frustrated to see the QR code was only for support, and not further connectivity.
Performance is the crux of what a UPS is all about. After all, its job is to prevent data loss and catastrophic system damage during the worst of conditions. The APC 1500VA Gaming UPS boasts SineWave and AVR (automatic voltage regulation) to optimize performance and potentially even extend the life of devices. It also holds up pretty well in testing, with a few caveats.
The APC 1500VA Gaming UPS boasts SineWave and AVR (automatic voltage regulation) to optimize performance and potentially even extend the life of devices.
The UPS has a power capacity of 1500VA or 900W, the advertised runtime is three minutes at full-load, and 12 minutes at half-load. This is just enough time needed to get your device turned off properly if running at full load, and maybe enough time to finish your match at half-load.
I plugged in a mid-range gaming computer and a monitor and unplugged the UPS from the wall. The UPS did an excellent job of taking over the power without a hitch, and it started making a beeping noise to alert me that the power was off. Thankfully, there’s an easy-to-reach mute button on the top of the device.
The UPS did an excellent job of taking over the power without a hitch.
Pressing the menu button turned on the LCD screen. The LCD display showed my devices were using about 14 percent of the load capacity and showed that I had about 40 minutes of power available at that rate. I let it tick down, and was able to get just over 30 minutes of gaming time with just those two devices.
The Reactor Ring did a good job of indicating how much charge was left. Of course, other devices, like high-end monitors, power-hungry gaming computers, and the addition of a modem and router would reduce the time available. I also tested by plugging in a gaming console, TV, modem, PC, and monitor to max out the energy consumption. This time I reached 90 percent load and had about 4 minutes to get everything shut down.
Later in the week, we had a storm overnight that knocked out the power, and I was pleased to find that my system had gracefully shut down.
This was a bit stressful, but it was enough since I was sitting right there, but this limited amount of time at full load was disappointing. For many people, shutting down their devices may not be the first thing they’re able to do when a power loss occurs, especially if they have children or pets. A full charge takes about 14 to 16 hours according to the product documentation, and I found that to be pretty accurate.
I also tested the software with the same PC and the Operating System Shutdown feature worked perfectly with my PC. Later in the week, we had a storm overnight that knocked out the power, and I was pleased to find that my system had gracefully shut down.
The APC 1500VA Gaming UPS costs $260. This seems a bit high when compared to some of its competition, even fellow APC 1500VA devices. Other 1500VA UPS devices can be found for $160 to $210, with the higher end of that also having Sine wave and other similar technologies. Most of that price difference seems to be attributed to its gaming label tag and design. The design does add value though, as it looks cool with other RGB devices.
APC and CyberPower are two of the main contenders for the gaming UPS crown. The CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD has many of the same features as the APC 1500VA Gaming UPS, though admittedly without the same gaming aesthetic. The CyberPower has 12 outlets, but only six of them are battery-backed. It also has a bit less runtime at half and full-loads, at 10 and 2.5 minutes respectively. The CyberPower costs about $50 dollars less, and includes software for shutting down devices, but does not include coaxial connections. Overall, you get more with the APC Gaming UPS, but you pay a bit more too.
A stylish choice for gamers.
The APC Gaming UPS looks and works well, but it’s a bit lacking in terms of its smart features and connectivity. It’s a stylish device that runs a gaming computer and monitor for around 30 minutes, but will only run an office full of devices for a few moments. That said, it’s still a good option for gamers that want peace of mind.
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