The FinSix Dart Adapter - A biased review of a failed Kickstarter project
Backing projects on Kickstarter is an exciting pastime. You can help people fulfilling their dreams and be part of a possible disrupting new technology. At least you will get your hands as one of the first onto a new project, which is also cool. Just be aware, that Kickstarter is not like shopping at the mall. Kickstarter is a gamble and the odds won't always be in your favor. So let's see what kind of bet the FinSix Dart was.
Waiting for the summer time
I think I've backed the Dart in early 2014. Back then, it sounded like a really great idea: Shrinking the laptop adapter as much as possible. The times of the heavy brick you'd carry around with your lightweight notebook are finally over. This product will bring an important shift to the adapter market. I had to have it.
The timeline was promising too at first. Around 6 months after the Kickstarter campaign they wanted to ship their first units. I hardly can't wait!
But after putting down my pledge, things got somewhat less bright. Shipping dates were constantly shifted into the future, communications between FinSix and their backers was allegedly not the best and with every month passing by, the number of disappointed backers grew and grew.
I can't say I was really angry or worried. Sure I wanted to get my unit eventually, but I took Kickstarter as it was: A gamble.
And what can I say, after nearly 18 months of delay I finally got my Dart.
A closer look at the FinSix Dart
The FinSix Dart arrived in a little box specifically made with Kickstarter in mind and reads "We had an idea..." but it should actually read "We had an idea, but...".
More on that later. Let's have a look at the inside of the box at first.
The Dart came nicely packaged with a charging cable and a set of different prongs for the most notebook charging sockets - of course without any supported by Apple. There was also a little "thank you" card, a nice black bag for carrying your Dart around and the mandatory manual that will never get read. Last but not least, there was the Dart itself, which I ordered in this nice glossy orange tone and a little cheap-looking US to EU power socket adapter, which is kinda ironic that an adapter needs another adapter to function because the Dart only comes as a US version, oh well.
Seeing the Dart in action
If course I had to power my Toshiba Portége Z830 with the Dart right away. I plugged the Dart in and the first thing I noticed, was the chord was shorter than my other charger's chord. So I wanted to change the power socket but to my surprise the US-EU adapter came off the Dart and got stuck in the power socket. Unfortunately it was so small that it was impossible to grab the little adapter without directly putting your fingers inside the socket. I don't know how you feel about 220V outlets, but I don't like to fiddle with live wire like that. This is unacceptable and is nothing short of a safety hazard that could kill you. I've never seen such an careless attempt to solve the power plug issue, they could have done better.
In fact, the Dart looks like crap with the adapter attached. It destroys the whole cool look they wanted to achieve. Dear FinSix, I know you had to ship and there was a lot of pressure, fair enough. But you could have done better in that segment.
The Dart comes with one additional USB charging port which is nice. The position of this charger is fairly close the the laptop plug, so it is useful if you want to charge stuff you want to have close by like a phone for example.
So, let's charge something, finally
Let's charge or destroy the laptop battery
The battery of my notebook is not in best condition. In fact I replaced it with some aftermarket battery already and this one was beginning to die on me anyway. The Dart is supposed to deliver 65 watts of output. The same amount as my default adapter. But Windows told me that the battery was "not charging". It recognized an external power source but my battery charge didn't increase a bit while I kept working. That really was a disappointment and a serious issue. But I wanted to make some more tests and not to judge the adapter too early.
But I wasn't able to do so. After a few hours getting juice from the Dart my battery died unexpectedly and caused a BIOS error code, preventing my system from booting. The only working solution was to dismount the battery completely from my laptop. Since then I'm running the computer without a battery, thanks Dart.
Hold on! I don't want to jump to conclusions. If the Dart has killed my battery is yet to be decided, but this is some kind of coincidence that doesn't really raise my trust in this piece of plastic. Come on, a notebook battery is a subtle piece of hardware anyway and you need to treat them carefully if you want to get the most out of them. Even at the sheer possibility that something might harm the battery, I won't let it near them. Sorry Dart, but you're out! No three strikes for you.
I have tried powering my computer with the Dart and without the battery but I experienced sudden turn offs of the machine without a warning. I was probably right and the Dart doesn't deliver enough power for the Portege Z830. What a disappointment. You had one job, you piece of garbage!
Conclusion: Don't order the Dart
For me, the conclusion is clear: Don't order the Dart if you don't want to harm your computer internals. Again I can't proof a connection, but in technology there is always a better alternative available, so why compromise? I suggest you should get the Zolt if you are into small and hip adapters. Or just browse the third party aftermarket. When I realized the Dart won't ship any time soon, I got a random china adapter which was nearly as small, 50% cheaper (The Dart costs a whopping 99$) and it just worked.
Adding a cheap and potentially dangerous power adapter, delayed delivery and bad customer relations just rounds up the whole image.
Sure the FinSix Dart is the lightest and prettiest of all adapters in the world. But that doesn't mean it will be useful by any means. Maybe you'll have a better experience with this one and I hope you do.
But for me, this was a failed and disappointing venture. Better luck next time, FinSix.