I'll be honest, when the review list was agreed and one of mine was 'Duracell Chargers and Batteries', I wasn't exactly jumping up and down with joy - I mean, batteries and their chargers aren't exactly the most exciting things on the planet are they!
The Duracell parcel arrived and contained:
- A four-pack of Duracell Ultra Lithium AA batteries - whatever, still I suppose it saves me buying yet another pack of 4 AAs)
- A four-pack of Duracell Rechargeable AA batteries - rechargeable? Maybe I've been living in a battery 'hole' somewhere, but since when did Duracell do rechargeable batteries?)
- A speedy charger for the aforementioned rechargeable batteries - erm, when did rechargeable battery chargers get so small, compact and funky looking?
- A portable Duracell five-hour mobile phone and MP3 charger - oh, this looks COOL! These are awesome Duracell battery things to review.
And so it came to pass, one of the things I'd never thought I'd hear myself say, or think, in a hundred million years...I was EXCITED about batteries and chargers.
I'm not sure if that says more about me or the power and battery hungry world we now live in, but there's one thing I am sure of - we can't live without them and if you hate it when your phone or MP3 player runs out of juice when you're out, then you're going to LOVE the portable Duracell five-hour charger.
Duracell Ultra Lithium Batteries
Duracell claim that their Ultra Lithium batteries are their most powerful yet and delivers up to seven times more power than their Duracell Plus Power alkaline batteries; they do add the caveat, however, that this is in digital cameras and that results may vary depending on device.
I don't have digital cameras that take AA batteries, so I couldn't test them in-camera. However, I DO have a very power-hungry Canon Speedlight (one of those big flash units that sits on the top of paparazzi cameras, in case you were wondering) - that things EATS batteries alive and figured it would make for an interesting test.
It's always tricky with things like this though, how quickly it munches through power will depend on the settings. If the flash needs to be super bright then it's, obviously, going to drain batteries faster; if I don't need so much flash then they'll last longer.
So I ran the Speedlight through sets of shots across the flash range and, I have to say, I was rather impressed. The power refresh rate was faster for longer - when the batteries start to get tired, it takes longer between flash for it to be ready again - but how much longer they lasted overall is impossible to say due to there being too many variables.
A four-pack of Ultra Lithium batteries costs £6.54 over at Amazon at the moment (they list the full retail price as £8.49).
- Pros - great for power-hungry devices
- Cons - not recharegable
- Score - 7/10 (only because they need to be thrown away when they're dead)
Speedy Duracell Charger and Accu Stay Charged 1700mAh batteries
I remember when rechargeable batteries first hit the market - or rather I remember when we first had some - I must have been about eight or nine and can picture this huge box that you put the batteries in, to charge them and that plugged into the mains. This thing was a beast and a far cry from the very nifty design of the Speedy Duracell Charger.
The Speedy Duracell Charger is no bigger than the palm of my hand, and I've got little hands! To use it, simply open it up and slide the plug adapter into the slot on the back, insert the batteries and plug it all into the mains - I've taken some pictures for you, so you can see how small and neat it is.
You can charge two or four batteries at any one time - two batteries will fully charge in just 15 minutes, four of them will take an hour - and there are two LED lights that shine green when your batteries are 'cooked'.
If you look carefully, you'll see that the Duracell Speedy Charger will work with AA and AAA batteries, as it features charging contacts for the negative ends of both sizes.
The Accy Stay Charged17000mAh batteries performed VERY well. I set the Teenagers the task of draining them from full-charged to flat in Wii controllers - they were almost beside themselves with joy and embarked on nine-and-a-half hours of battery draining Wii play with gusto!
The Speedy Duracell Charger retails for £29.99 and comes with 2AA and 2AAA Accu Stay Charged batteries.
- Pros - good power time, very small and neat design, fast charging, charges both AA and AAA batteries (which can be done at the same time too)
- Cons - NONE!
- Score - 10/10
By the way, you can buy the Accu Stay Charged batteries separately from the Speedy Charger; Amazon are currently selling four-packs of AAs for £3.90 instead of £9.99 - I've bought some!
Duracell Five-Hour Portable Mobile and MP3 Charger
THIS was the Duracell item that really got me excited. You see, I can't stand it when my phone runs out of power - it leaves me feeling vulnerable and cut-off AND without music <----- VERY irritating!
So I have numerous USB plug adapters dotted around the house and one I can use in the car, so there's ALWAYS an available source of power to charge it up - I use my phone a LOT; it has, pretty much, my entire life on it so even a non-iPhone 4S battery would struggle to stay charged all day without needing a little bit of topping up now and again.
SO, the five-hour portable charger - it's ever so simple: attach the plug adapter, plug it in, when the three bars shine green you know it's done, slide it off the plug adapter and put it in your bag (along with the short USB cable supplied); BINGO - up to five hours of spare battery power at your fingertips, even if you're in the middle of nowhere and as far away from a plug socket as can be.
I LOVE THIS! No, I don't just love it, I NEED IT! Let me explain...
I travel a lot and spend a lot of time hanging around in airports waiting for connecting flights; I don't NOT want to use my phone - playing Angry Birds can kill quite a bit of time and listening to music is also preferable to listening to general airport hubub - but I really cannot afford to let my battery die completely before I reach my destination.
This Duracell Five-Hour Portable Mobile and MP3 charger is the missing piece of my mobile battery charging puzzle - I've got all the bases covered at home and in the car, but being away from those places was the chink in my must-not-let-phone-die armour and now it's sorted; HURRAH!
It doesn't just work with phones and MP3 players - pretty much any device that can be charged via USB can be charged with the Duracell Portable Charger - apart from iPads, I tried.
It has two USB slots on the bottom so you can charge two devices at the same time; you can charge, and use, your devices when the charger itself is charging (does that make sense?) and it comes with a mini USB adapter too, so it pretty much covers all USB bases.
I wouldn't be without this now; the only thing I have to do is remember to charge it back up again once I've used it!
The Duracell Mobile and MP3 Portable Charger retails for £39.99, is available from Amazon (they only have seven left, at the time of writing) and is well worth the money as far as I'm concerned.
- Pros - Sleek and small design, provides and additional five hours battery life, can charge two devices at the same time, comes with different USB adapters
- Cons - It won't charge iPads (but if this isn't a problem for you - read: NO CONS!)
- Score - 9/10 (10/10 if you couldn't care less about iPads!)
I don't think I've really left anything much to say!
I was very impressed with all of the Duracell products sent to me; I've fallen in love with the rechargeable AA and AAAs - buying throw-away batteries will be a less frequent past-time now - and I'm completely besotted with, and inseparable from, the portable mobile charger.
I feel that all the prices are fair and you can always save yourself some money by keeping an eye out for battery bargains.