Belkin has a new $100 emergency backup unit that can save your data and your sanity if the regular power goes out.

We’ll point out right away that such backup boxes have been around for many years, and we found them for sale recently on the Web for as little as $28. The big “but” that attaches to any further description is that there’s a lot of difference in features and reliability as you move up in price. In fact, you can go to units costing several hundred dollars, but those are aimed at fairly large businesses.

The Belkin Battery Backup has some features we really like. One is a built-in rechargeable and removable flashlight — if the power fails, it’s often dark in the room. But the main feature is that the backup battery delivers up to 300 watts for around 20 minutes. That’s enough power to keep several pieces of equipment going and enough time to save your work and shut everything down in a normal manner.

The unit weighs about 10 pounds and is about the size of a kitchen blender or tabletop coffee machine. It has six electrical outlets plus a phone line outlet and attaches to the computer through a USB port. Works with PCs and Macs. The Belkin Web site is Belkin.com.

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