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on 3 January 2010
Not the cheapest battery charger, but this one has features you need, and its use will ensure a good long life for your new technology nimh batteries.

Duracell are hardly advertising them, but the batteries with this charger are the new technology low self discharge long shelf life batteries which you can charge and leave - without worrying about them discharging and becoming none-rechargeable after a couple of months.

It is not unusual for a charger to take four batteries at a time. But this charger treats each battery as an individual - you can charge a single battery, you don't have to charge two at a time (which most cheaper chargers insist on).

The charger measures battery condition at individual level for best battery lifespan (and you will see that no two batteries are exactly identical).

A useful extra is the USB connection which you can use to (slowly) recharge your phone or mp3 player using four fully charged batteries. Useful out in the country away from a mains plug.

The UK plug can be flipped off the unit to allow for other style plugs to be used, but none are supplied in this package.

And a failed battery (it happens) or accidentally putting an alkaline battery in - is indicated by a flashing light. (update) Note however a flashing light could also indicate you have just inserted a fully charged battery- the sensor used seems to try a short charge and then looks to see if the voltage has increased very slightly.

(update 15 months on-) On two of my chargers (I now have three I like them so much) the led flashed for one position for good AAA batteries, after a while, this seemed to be due to a poor connection (the AAA batteries barely touch the terminals) and a good clean together with ensuring the batteries were firmly seated, solved this one.

Highly recommended.
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on 31 December 2010
I bought this charger with the intention of using it in battery pack/backup/emergency mode as a USB power source for my HTC Hero, so that when travelling I could easily charge up the phone using AA rechargeable batteries. I bought two, and both chargers' USB modes broke (a part of the USB circuitry must have burnt out) within 1 hour of use charging my HTC Hero. It would seem that the USB power mode is not compatible with devices that have a high charge current (2009 and newer smartphones I think). So, not very useful for me so only a two star rating overall. Perhaps if you have older devices that draw a lower charging current the device will work for you.

Now, the good part: the battery charger. The charger charges 1 to 4 AA or AAA (in any combination) batteries in 4 hours (AA, less for AAA), with full battery detection/overcharge prevention and bad battery detection. Also, each of the 4 charging lines are monitored separately, so there's no need to charge batteries in pairs, and batteries with different charge levels are charged the amount they need, rather than some fixed amount for all. As a battery charger this device is very well featured. The charger does tick quietly (cutoff timer in use) and will smell of plastic when brand new. Also you'll need extra space around the mains plug since the charger is flush to the plug.

Feedback from the LED lights is reasonable, but a bit limited: one light per charging lane solid red while charging, flashing red for bad battery and green on completion. A button switches a pair of blue LEDs from charge mode to USB mode.

The second good part is the AA batteries provided: Duracell ActiveCharge, which are the low self-discharge NiMH type, the best available AA batteries. Apparently they are rebranded Sanyo Eneloops.

Technical data on USB mode: HTC Hero charges at 750 mA from wall chargers, or ~280 mA from PC USB sockets. With this charger it charged at ~790 mA from AA batteries until charger USB mode broke (numbers from app called CurrentWidget). In theory 4 AA batteries (2000 mAh) would charge an HTC Hero 1.5 times (~1300 mAh).
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I wanted a battery charger, mainly to supply batteries for a power-guzzling Magic Mouse, and chose this one because of its features and the Duracell name. It comes with four AA low self-discharge nickel-metal hydride (LSD NiMH) batteries, a relatively new kind of battery which reduces self-discharge, extending shelf life between charges.

The unit can charge batteries singly, and can charge a combination of AAs and AAAs. It also has a USB port that can be used to charge a device from the mains or from a set of charged batteries. It's touted as a "mobile" charger due to its compactness, but here is the one reason why it just misses out on being 5 stars: the mains plug attaches to the charger itself, meaning that you need a lot of space around the socket in order to plug it in. Thankfully, the space needed is upwards rather than downwards, but generally I find that a plug on the end of a cable is easier to use in most situations, even if you lose a tiny bit of "portability".

If looking to buy a set of AAAs to go with the charger I'd recommend the "Stay Charged" Duracells. These are the rebranded equivalents of the "Active Charges" that come with the unit, and feature the same LSD NiMH technology mentioned earlier.

Amazon are currently selling these units for £[] - an absolute steal at anywhere near this price.
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on 23 April 2010
I liked the product's design and the quality of the material used . Transparent cover to protect your batteries while charging and travelling. I liked the detachable mains plug which ensures ease of packing while traveling. Four 2000mA batteries supplied with the charger are very good and can retain their charge for a very long time if not in use.USB charging is very useful(extra value) as it works without the mains power supply too, i.e can be used as battery pack to charge ipod, iphone, ipad or other devices with USB charging cable. 12v dc socket to charge batteries in car(but wire not included). Two coloured LED lights indicators are easy to understand .It can even charge odd number of batteries(very useful) like single or three batteries at a time which is a big advantage . I will give it five stars with smile.

Bought another Energizer battery charger tempted by its blue digital numeric charge time display, but very much disappointed by its performance and functions, when compared to my older Duracell charger(which is 1yr old now as i am updating this review). So still 5 stars for Duracell charger.
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on 7 April 2011
I have only received this today and it is charging the included batteries at the moment. One of the four red lights has gone green, so it seems to be working ok so far. However, my reason for only 3 stars is two-fold.

Firstly I was surprised to find not one package, but two: the charger itself with a (removable) two-pin plug on the back, and a second item: an "Eveready Visitors Travel Adaptor" - basically a 3-pin plug with holes in the back of it to take (apparently among other things) a two-pin plug on the other side. Immediately the impression is that this charger isn't really meant for the UK market, or would appear to at least have been bought outside it. So does it meet our UK electrical safety requirements?

Apart from this being a surprise, I realised that, rather than replacing the two-pin plug - which I unclipped, and then realised I had to clip it back again - it plugs into the extra 3-pin plug, which itself then plugs into the wall. Now the charger itself is quite large and heavy. When it's hanging off not only its own two-pin plug, but also off the attached 3-pin plug, it doesn't seem at all stable. In fact I was so nervous, I've wedged a biscuit barrel underneath it when it's plugged in!

Secondly, the instructions are very confusing, particularly with regard to charging usb-powered devices, which is really the reason I bought this charger over another one. On the package label it clearly states at the bottom that "4 charged batteries required for USB device charging", but in the instructions, it seems to indicate that usb-powered items can be charged by plugging the charger into the mains OR with charged batteries in place. As my little mp3 player doesn't have any charging indicator itself, I'm not sure how I will know whether it's being charged!

I THINK this unit is going to work, but I'm quite nervous about using it, and I'm not actually sure it's going to charge my mp3 from the mains which is what I really wanted it for.
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on 22 January 2011
This charger is good value, especially as it comes with 4 rechargeable batteries (which in my experience seem to have a very long life). I like the fact that each battery has its own status indicator (red = charging; green = charged) so that you can whip the batteries out as soon as they're ready.

The charger plugs straight into a wall socket, which is good as it means there are no annoying cables to get in the way (but could be a slight problem if your wall socket is hard to access).
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on 2 August 2010
I mainly got this to replace my other charger that was slowly wearing away and wouldn't charge batteries properly. I discovered that the charger is helping me out a lot because i kept on having to search through batteries for my Apple Magic Mouse which those of you who own one, will know that it drink all your battery power as if it were a bottle and then your stuck for batteries. It charges them quick enough for me and quicker than my other charger and does charge the camera, very slowly but i does charge the camera! Very good for travel usage because the plug is removable (for packing i suppose and maybe just resting it down for charging appliances). Overall, not a bad charger, would recommend.
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on 24 September 2010
This is brilliant! a great idea and a great charger. I looked at a lot before I made my choice and I'm glad I chose this. It charges the batteries that come with it in about 4/5 hours (the first charge may take a bit longer) The ipod/USB slot is a great touch especially when travelling, you can charge the batteries at the same time or just charge ipod straight from the charger when its plugged in or with charged batteries when disconnected from socket.

Other good idea is that the 3 prong UK plug is removeable, it slides off, presumably so you can slide in other countries plugs for use abroad.
I also use this to charge my 2500 NimH energizer batteries with no problems (I use it mainly for charging for my camera which I use a lot) Great price compared to a lot of other chargers and a great idea adding the USB, I'm fully equipped for travel now with ipod and camera.
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on 27 July 2010
The problem with buying a product that scores such good reviews as this battery charger is that it easily disappoints. Therefore, by all means, this seems to be a fine charger. Now that's out of the way, let's see what's not so great about it. I found five mild disappointments a bit more than I expected (how many things can you wish for in a battery charger anyway?)

So, here we go:

1 The "included EU and US plugs" which are specified on Amazon's product page aren't actually included.

Ok, it was a nice gesture to recognize us non-UK folk by acknowledging there are multiple types of plugs out there. But of course it would have been nicer if it didn't remain at words only. However, this problem can be overcome as - and there's a happy surprise - the unit can be powered by a standard 12v charger inserted on the side. The adapter from my external hard drive happened to fit, so I could charge without first buying a converter for the ridiculously over-sized UK-style plug (hope you don't mind my saying what the rest of the world thinks!)

2 According to the manual, no other batteries than NiMH can be charged.

Being that I bought this product mainly to charge large quantities of NiCd batteries, that's pretty much a deal breaker for me. Amazon's UK site didn't talk about the machine charging NiCD, but some other sites did. However, as far as I can tell now, the unit doesn't seem to refuse NiCD batteries. The 2 by 3 inch inimini-manual doesn't mention NiCD at all. That may be a good thing, as it's also not included in the surprisingly long list of batteries NOT to charge with the unit. But it does state a couple of times that ONLY NiMH batteries can be used (and of course that DURACELL NIMH batteries are recommended).

3 Doesn't seem to discharge partly loaded batteries

I'm not even sure if that's even necessary anymore, as this 'smart loader' loads each battery individually (and kuddos for that!). But it's unclear if there's any difference between NiMH and NiCD here. Maybe a 3x4" instead of the 2x3" manual could have taken some of these doubts away.

4 No detailed status indicator

The status indicator is rudimentary: red is charging, green is charged. No indication of charging status in between, as offered by some other brands. Not a big deal when you just charge some batteries every now and then, but a slight disappointment for those who manage a whole lot of batteries and would sometimes just like to know which ones are charged and which ones are not.

5 Trows out a whole bunch of batteries I never have problems with.

Of the first four non-Duracel NiMH's that I tried out, three immediately gave the blinking-red led indicator which means 'abnormal battery'. Now, these batteries were pretty old, but I'm still using them without any issue. Not sure if blinking-red means that it warns but charges, or if it basically orders you to throw away the batteries and buy some new ones. Again, Duracell, would adding one or two inches of extra information to your miniminiminimanual really break the bank? In any case, a charger that is picky might be a good thing as much as a bad thing, so I'm undecided on this one.

Now, you might find fault in someone making so much of five mild flaws in an otherwise perfectly honest battery charger. I don't judge you for that. Just remember that you took the time to read it all. Hope you make an informed decision. If you are expecting perfection, bliss and good karma from this charger: don't. But if you expect it to rapidly charge the four perfectly fine NiMH batteries that come bundled with it: yeah, it pretty much does that.
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on 18 October 2010
Bought this unit and additional set of Duracell batteries. Only one of the charging compartments works. The other three compartments flash red (meaning unsuitable battery) regardles of which batteries are inserted in which order, even with batteries which charge successfully in the one working compartment. Only talking about the four duracell batteries which came with the device and the additional duracell set, no strangers or suspects. In addition the detachable 3-point plug has a broken plastic clip so we had to tape it in place to use it at all. Pretty flimsy, and my daughter, who wanted this kit for her Nintendo Wii is pretty disappointed. Now in contact with Ecotronics to see what happens next.

Update (10 November): item replaced by Ecotronics, now works fine.
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