The PowerGenix 1.6V Batteries and Charger -
As we mentioned we met up with PowerGenix at CES 2010. First we saw them at the Lunch at Piero’s; there they talked with us about the new technology and how they were a better choice for rechargeable AA and AAA batteries. We arranged to meet up with them and setup a sample of their AA NiZn for use in our Canon Digital Rebel T1i camera. When we got to their small booth in the North Hall we had quite a bit to see. PowerGenix showed how in a simple demo how much more power their product can provide over the typical NiMH or NiCad battery. They put two identical battery operated cars head to head. One had the PowerGenix batteries in it and the other a competing NiMH battery. The NiZn batteries easily pushed the NiMH powered car back across the table.
We were very intrigued and as we packed up the sample we looked forward to getting these 1.6V AA’s into our camera.
PoweGenix provided us with a single four-slot rapid charger and twelve AA NiZn 1.6v batteries. The charger is a typical item and is built along the same lines as almost any other modern battery charger.
It can hold either four AA sized batteries or two AAs and two AAAs in the center two slots.
As we mentioned above we used the PowerGenix AAs in our Canon Digital Rebel T1i Digital camera. This also has BG-E5 battery grip. This device connects to the bottom of the T1i and allows you to use either two LP-E5 batteries or six AA batteries in a second tray.
After a full overnight charge of the six batteries we needed we set out to try and kill them during CES. However, not matter how much video or RAW image files [with flash] we took the batteries would not die. As of this writing we still have the same six batteries in the T1i and it is still showing 100% charge on the LCD display. This is after over 800 RAW images and close to one hour of video. This is in very stark contrast to even two LP-E5 batteries. These typically last me for about 500-700 RAW images before I need to recharge them. I hope to have a final Image Count on this battery set for you in a follow on but for now I can tell you that they just do not seem to want to die. To further expand our testing after I returned from CES I placed two of these in a single Wii Remote while leaving the a 2nd Wii Remote with standard alkaline batteries after a period of two weeks of daily use [two hours each day] the alkaline batteries show ½ charge while the PowerGenix NiZn show a full charge. We plan to see exactly how long these will last in more devices in the near future including wireless mice, keyboards, and smaller digital cameras.Value -
Now for the downside; as with most rechargeable battery systems the upfront cost puts many people off. They look at the cost of a 20 pack of AA batteries at $14 and see that to get just the charger and four NiZn batteries they have to shell out $35
. If they want more than that they need to cough up another $30
to get to 12 total [if you get the same 1.6v flavor]. The total up-front cost for half the number of batteries is now over four times the cost of just buying plain batteries. To many people will not see this as a good deal, they will spend the lesser amount and not worry about it. But as these standard batteries do not have the same life span in hardware like digital cameras they will often replace them twice before they would need to recharge their NiZn batteries. By the same comparison a set of four Lithium batteries for digital camera from Energizer will set you back almost $12
and they are not rechargeable. The rechargeable LP-E5 runs $74
while four NiMH AAs will cost you $18
[not including the charger] So while the initial cost seems high, in reality it is reasonable to get the same quality batteries and much more for rechargeable ones using a lower quality electrochemical combination.Conclusion -
Rechargeable batteries are a hit and miss thing. Many people are not going to see the advantage and not buy them regardless of how good they are. Most people also do not see the environmental impact of using the typical alkaline battery; they recycle paper, plastic and other materials but usually do not think twice about throwing batteries [even ones they are not supposed to] away in the regular trash. Even if they do recycle their batteries there are still environmental hazards and the return rate on components [other than the nickel] is low. The PowerGenix Nickel-Zinc batteries offer a great compromise in terms of price and performance. They also offer a more eco-friendly option to regular, NiCad and NiMH batteries. We were quite impressed with the performance of these in all of the devices we have tested so far and can highly recommend them for use in even high-end digital cameras [even over the canon LP-E5 batteries]. The cost and performance simply make the PowerGenix NiZn AA 1.6v batteries the obvious choice here and easily take our Editor’s Choice for Prosumer gear.***UPDATE***
We attended the 52nd Daytona 500. This ended up being a six hour and 12 minute race with two red flag situations that totaled over two hours of down time. During the race I used the same Six PowerGenix AA batteries that I put in my Canon Digital Rebel T1i back in January. During the race I shot 311 RAW images and four 7-10 minute 720P videos. The battery indicator still reads 100% charge. I did not turn the camera off from the start of the race to the finish, I only let it enter the sleep mode. I am doubly impressed with these batteries as I am used to needing to replace the battery pack on my camera at least once during an event like this.
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