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NOT genuine Sony--BEWARE!
on July 7, 2011
The batteries from this seller are very likely NOT genuine Sony batteries.
When I saw these batteries for sale for $25 (which is half-off of the Sony in-store price of about $50), I ordered three NP-FG1 InfoLITHIUM batteries from "Steve Borders Store" (fulfilled by Amazon) for my Sony DSC-HX9V digital camera. The batteries were shipped USPS and arrived with my regular mail in a timely manner. The retail packaging looked very convincing, each battery in its own package (there were holograms etc. on the package), although I couldn't do a side-by-side comparison with genuine Sony packaging from a Sony store. However, after I charged the batteries using a genuine Sony charger I bought in a Sony store, all three batteries I bought from this seller do not seem to work as expected. The InfoLITHIUM batteries are supposed to allow certain Sony cameras (like the DSC-HX9V) to indicate remaining battery life in two ways: 1) graphically, by a battery icon with four bars, indicating 1/4, 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 life remaining, and 2) numerically, by the number of minutes remaining. The first method is the only method provided by the NP-BG1 battery type, whereas both the first and second methods are supported with NP-FG1 InfoLITHIUM batteries. All three of the NP-FG1 InfoLITHIUM batteries from this seller indicate only 1/4 bars, but ~120 minutes, which seems to quickly drop. Even after a few charges on the Sony charger (purchased in a Sony store in the U.S.), none of the three batteries indicate 4/4 bars. I don't know which is more accurate, the icon or the number, but something is awry!
In addition to the three bogus batteries from this storefront, I have a NP-BG1 battery that came with the camera, and two NP-FG1 batteries, one of which I ordered from the Sony Style online store, and the other one I bought in a Sony store in the U.S. All three of the batteries function exactly as expected, precisely as I describe in the two ways mentioned above. I did a side-by-side visual inspection of the six batteries, and they are virtually identical--but there are some subtle cosmetic differences. The gray and red label on the battery is slightly lighter on all three of the knock-offs, compared with a darker hue on each of the genuine Sony batteries. The genuine Sony batteries seem to have sharper, more accurately printed text, although the letters and words on all batteries are in exactly the same location, all spelled the same. On the back of each battery, there is a 3D bar code; on the genuine batteries, each bar code is different, whereas on the look-a-likes, all bar codes are the same. On the edge of each battery (near the three gold terminals) there are some alphanumeric strings; the Sony batteries are similar, but different, whereas the crappy batteries have exactly the same numbers/letters. I don't know if the 3D bar code and this number/letter sequence by the terminals indicates a batch number, but if it does, then this could be one plausible explanation why the knock-offs appear to be rubber stamped. For reference, the numbers by the battery terminals on the knock-offs are "K8JWV 2EA" (top line) and "S95708" (bottom line). On one of the knock-offs, the second line is not accurately printed, and only the top edge of the bottom line appears on the battery. Using a VOM, the battery voltages on all the batteries are about the same (3-4 volts, depending on the contacts).
The "retail packaging" was so difficult to get apart, and it's been several weeks since my purchase, so I can't return them; I'm stuck with them. Too bad I didn't notice this problem earlier. I would rather have one extra battery that is reliable and functions as advertised than three batteries that have abnormal behavior--especially if I'm putting them in expensive, precision electronic gear. Despite the false battery indicator, they seem to hold a charge for several dozen shots, so I'll use them until they are completely unserviceable and then recycle them.
I've owned three Sony cameras, so I'm very familiar with the CyberShot product line and accessories. I worked in the IT industry for 10 years, and am a computer scientist (programmer). My point here is that when it comes to computers and electronics, I consider myself to be very tech savvy, and in my professional opinion, these batteries are not the real McCoys.
The old adage rings true--if the price seems too good to be true ($25 vs $50), it probably is. I monitored the batteries from this seller for some time prior to my purchase, and I think I saw them on sale for $15 once! My guess is that there isn't a Sony store in the U.S. that sells these this cheap. I would also guess that these batteries have fooled many people. If you don't mind a battery that only works half as expected, the 1/2 off price point is a fair purchase.
As if the price isn't enough of a red flag, consider the reviews on this product. About 30% of the reviews are less than 5 stars, so there is something wrong with this 30%. Even some of the four star reviews report similar problems as I have. Well, that's not how I roll; if the thing doesn't work as advertised, or if I surmise that I may have been sold a non-genuine product, the SELLER gets 0 stars, along with 0 stars for their knock-off product. (The genuine Sony NP-FG1 battery gets 5 stars.) Next time I'll read every single review.
I will not do business with the "Steve Borders Store" storefront again.