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Rayovac's 15-minute charger is way better
on January 28, 2005
While Sony's "super-quick" charger is a solid product and the price includes 4 high-capacity (2300mAh) NiMH batteries, the charging time is too long, at 4-5 hours. You can find a 1-hour charger at Radio Shack for the same price. Trust me, a lot of times you want to get the batteries charged very quickly, rather than waiting 4 hours.
In fact, I highly recommend Rayovac's 15-minute charger. You do need to get their special 15-minute NiMH batteries, but when you buy the charger it already comes with 2 or 4, depending on the kit. (I believe it's now $25 for the 2-AA kit and $30 or $35 for the 4-AA kit. You can also find them at Radio Shack under the Radio Shack brand, but still made by Rayovac.) When I use my digital cameras (Minolta and the SB-800 flash for my Nikon D70) being able to recharge the batteries in 15 minutes is just awesome. That's 1/16 the time needed on this Sony charger. (Do note that, the Rayovac charger charges regular NiMH batteries in 8 hours.)
BTW, reviwer "H. Yu" is in correct in stating that fast chargers can damage NiMH batteries. Most manufacturers claim that fast charging does not necessarily shortern the battery's life. The speed boost mostly comes in advances in battery chemistry, not some high-voltage forcing charge. Prior to getting the Rayovac 15-minute, I had been usign a RAdio Shack 1-hour charger for years and had charged teh same batteries probably 500 times or more with no depreciation in capacity. I'm a big battery user and NiMH is a godsend that saves money and the environment.
In short, while this Sony charger is a solid NiMH recharger, you may want to spend the same amount of money on a Rayovac 15-minute charger which saves you a lot of time and may come in extermely handy the times when you need your batteries fast. Feel free to write me at hotmail with questions.