Apple battery charger slays the vampire

Apple says its AA battery charger uses far less power than competitors' products once the batteries are fully charged

There may not be anything magical or revolutionary about AA batteries, but we need them to run a variety of electronic gizmos, including wireless mice and keyboards, as well as dozens of analog devices such as flashlights, wall clocks, and portable cassette recorders. Now Apple is entering the rechargeable battery business, and it's bringing its penchant for innovation to an industry that often seems to advance technologically at a glacial pace.

The new Apple Battery Charger holds up to six AA NiMH batteries, which are included with the US$29 device. Apple being Apple, of course, the charger has a few clever enhancements not found in most competing products.

Its most compelling feature is its lower vampire draw--the energy that chargers use even after batteries are fully charged--versus other products on the market. Once a battery charge cycle is complete, the Apple Battery Charger automatically slashes its power consumption to 30 milliwatts, which is 10 times better than the industry average, the company claims. Apple's rechargeable batteries have up to a 10-year lifespan.

Sure, a battery charger seems pretty ho hum when stacked against Apple innovations like the iPad, iPhone, and new Magic TrackPad. And it lacks the gee-whiz cleverness of Brother's recent announcement of a battery that can be recharged by shaking. (Then again, Brother has no immediate plans to bring its shaky battery to market, a good indication that the technology isn't quite ready.)

Apple's new $29 charger is priced competitively with similar devices on the market, albeit with a slight premium. The Sony Power Battery Charger, for instance, costs $20 at Amazon, but it comes with four Ni-MH rechargeable AA batteries versus Apple's six.

Considering how often the AAs in my power-hungry wireless mouse need replacing, a low-draw charger with batteries that last up to a decade sounds very appealing.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags gadgetsAppleconsumer electronicsgreengreen IT

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?