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Showing 1-10 of 359 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
VINE VOICEon September 15, 2004
It doesn't say so in the product description page here anywhere (and I can't even find this charger on the Sony website), so here you go: it takes about 4.5 hours to fully charge the four 2300mAh batteries that come with the charger. Which I kinda like--I like that it's not a dumb charger (timed charger w/o regard for existing charge or overcharge) like the cheaper Sony charger here on Amazon.com (BCG-34HLD4), nor does it take inordinately long (some others I checked out take as long as 8-12 hours), but it's not a superfast 1-hour charger that super-heats up the batteries during the charge (and potentially reduce the battery service life).

The charger has the outlet plugs built-in, so there is no separate AC adapter. Be sure to keep the charger bay door open during charging to help dissipate the heat.

The batteries are Sanyo-brand ("HR" imprint on them) marketed under the Sony label.

Overall, a nice, compact unit. I recommend it.
66 comments| 972 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 15, 2004
This is a very cost effective battery charger. It's a simple flip top design and can charge either four AA or two AAA (You CAN mix them, however you can only charge a maximum of two AAAs at a time). Charge time is generally just over four hours if you charge all four AAs and half that with only two. AAA batteries charge in about an hour and a half by themselves, two hours if paired with AAs.

The charger cuts power to the batteries when they're full. This is a MUST feature as it preserves your battery life extraordinarily. It also is switching (100/240V) meaning you can use it outside the US without hassle (Most of Europe uses 220V). The charger comes bundled with four AA batteries with a 2300mAh capacity which is above standard and last longer. If you have batteries under 2300mAh, this charger can still charge them and cut off the power when necessary (The batteries must be NiMH however).

My only complaint with this would be the fact that the charger just has a flip up/down plug. If you have plugs sitting side by side facing downwards, the charger will occupy three slots. On a standard wall plug (Side by side with the plugs lying horizontal) it only takes up one plug however. You can easily overcome this by using an extension if needed.

All in all, I can 100% recommend this charger. There's another Sony charger slightly cheaper than this one (the BCG-34HLD4). However, pay the extra couple bucks and get this one as the other does not have a power cut off feature. If you need AAA batteries, get the Sony AAA two pack (Model NH-AAA-B2C, Amazon carries them) which are 800mAh.
11 comment| 671 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
There is an important feature for this charger (Sony BCG-34HE) that makes it an excellent buy: it charges each cell individualy.

Most low-cost slow chargers force you to charge cells in pairs. That is, either 2 or 4 cells. This smart charger allows you to put in 1, 2, 3 or 4 cells at any time. Each cell is charged individually and stopped whenever it gets full. The only problem is that the indicator lamp only changes color when ALL cells are fully charged. So even if three out of four cells are ready, you cannot start using any of them until the last one is done.

Why is charging NiMH cells in pairs a very bad idea? Beacuse no two cells have identical capacities. Even if you start with two new cells of the same brand, their capacities will drift apart after several cycles. When you charge two cells in series, the one with lower capacity will be over-charged, and this will only accelerate the disparity in capacity next time. Eventually you'll end up with cells that can only deliver a fraction of their rated capacities.

Then there's always the problem when your application requires either one or three cells. Now you are left with one drained cell that you cannot charge. If you try to charge a drained cell in series with a full one, the latter will be badly over-charged and may even be damaged from over-heating.

While I'm at it: here are the charging currents for this charger:

- One to two AA cells: 1050mA each
- Four AA cells: 525mA each
- One to two AAA cells: 640mA each

[Update on Nov 22, 2008]
I need to clear up a possible source of confusion here. SONY makes several AA/AAA battery chargers, and their names all start with "BCG-34H". My review above refers to the "BCG-34HE". If you are looking for a compact charger for both home and travel, this one is your best choice. Be careful when ordering because SONY also makes a "BCG-34HVE" which looks almost identical, but it is not suitable as a travel charger since it only accepts 110V AC input. Then there is the "BCG-34HRMF" which is larger and more expensive, but added four LCD battery status indicators. Finally, there is the "BCG-34HUE" 15-minute charger which you should avoid, because it is very bad for battery lifespan.

In case you like to consider chargers from other makers, I highly recommend the Kodak '1-hour' charger K6200 and the Duracell Mobile Charger CEF23DX4N.

[Update on Dec 9, 2010]
SONY has released a new BCG-34HRE charger. It is similar (in terms of size and speed) to the old BCG-34HE reviewed above, but added several important features. Check my review on the new charger for details.
2626 comments| 123 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 18, 2006
This Sony Charger replaces the Walmart Special I bought for $10. The Walmart batteries lasted less then 10 charges. I'd recommend you purchase an additional set of 4 Sony (2500mah)batteries when you purchase this unit. That will give you a total of 8 batteries. This charger also detects failed batteries (like my Walmart ones) and can charge from 1 to 4 batteries at a time. Also, somewhat unique, is that it has a refresh cycle to recondition batteries that have developed some "memory" and aren't holding a full charge as well as they once did. You'll need 4 to 5 hours for a full charge but if you buy a second set of 4 batteries for about $11.00, the time needed for a recharge really becomes academic. The charger clearly displays the status of each battery through its charge cycle. Really a well thought out device.
0Comment| 36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 25, 2006
As i travel a lot to different places with varying voltages this charger suits me very well. Also the Sony battery which comes along with this is 2500mA which offers the best battery life in any electronic equipment. I kind of like the design of this charger which has the neat charging compartment with shutters. Also this has a automatic cutoff saftey, Voltage monotoring functions, saftey timers which all accounts for the health of the charged battery which in turn yields better battery life.

Another plus point is it charges both AA and AAA Ni-MH batteries with support for 2500mAh,2300mAh,2100mAh,900mAh,800mAh. Phew... so thats a big range in case if u have old lesser mAh Ni-MH batteries. The typical charge time i see from 0-full on 2500mAh is 3hours 10 minutes with all the 4 batteries on which is ok (instead of those fast chargers which kind of heat up the batteries and would reduce some battery life...)

So in over all this is a neat piece of equipment that u must have as u dont need to worry about changing voltages..

Also i booked at Amazon and it came to me pretty fast..Keep it up AMAZON :-)...
0Comment| 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 28, 2005
After much research and making comparisons I chose this package because of the high-capacity batteries and the price.

I use the included 2300 mAh batteries exclusively in a digital camera (Sony Cybershot), and they work great, lasting much longer than I expected, even with the camera constantly being turned off and on. Flash recharged quickly too.

Charger is compact, and 2 prongs fold out in the back so you can plug it directly into outlet. Battery charge time is reasonable too, but not really an issue because I only need 2 batteries at a time (4 are included). I usually charge 2 at a time, and have already done this a couple times, without noticing a loss in battery life.

I also charged my Energizer 1200mAh NiMH's without a problem. Eventually, I'll use this for AAA rechargable batteries too. Tested the alkaline battery saftey-feature, and it worked (the charger knew not to charge them).

Because I use my camera a lot, I know this has already paid for itself. I'm confident in the charger, and enjoy the freedom of being able to take as many pictures a I want, without worrying about buying batteries.
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VINE VOICEon April 24, 2006
I use these batteries in my Canon S2 IS camera. I can get at least 300 shots + video footage on a single charge. Recharging takes 4-5 hours. The batteries that came with mine are indeed 2500mAh.

This is going to save me a fortune in batteries over the life of my camera, and keep the landfills a little emptier too.

I have no problem recommending these batteries to anyone willing to pay a few extra clams for a good set.
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on June 3, 2006
I learned a valuable lesson recently. When I first bought my digital camera I loaded it with some 2500 mAh Ni-MH batteries. I was extremely disappointed that I could only get about 30 pictures before the battery died. When I started to research battery chargers, I came to realize that not all chargers are created equal. Many older and even cheaper new chargers are not capable of fully charging high capacity batteries. This is because they use a timed charge which shuts off without regard for how much the battery is actually charged. So if you are still using a 3 or 5 year old charger and it isn't a "smart" charger, then you might only be getting a 50% or less charge. In my case, with an old Energizer charger, I reckon I was only getting a 30% charge.

This Sony charger is ideal. My family uses a lot of devices that use AA batteries (cameras, Gameboys, CD players etc). I was always wary of super quick chargers because of the way they heat the batteries up. With this charger, the batteries stay cool yet a full charge of four 2500mAh NiMHs only takes about 4 hours. That's easily fast enough. And a big plus for me is that I can use it on my travels outside N. America because of its muti voltage capability, although you should be aware that you'll need a plug adaptor. Since this is a "smart" charger it can charge any capacity battery, even the latest 2650 mAh ones.
As an added bonus, the batteries that came with the charger are high capacity 2500mAh made in Japan.
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on October 8, 2004
i bought these batteries for a digital camera i had recently bought. with standard batteries i could take about 10 pictures before the batteries were spent but with the 2300 mAh batteries i can take 300 with the flash on. the charger is nice and compact and charges 4 batteries in 4 hours and 2 in about 2.5 hours. its a great package for the price.
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on January 14, 2005
I got this charger and batteries for a Canon A95 digital camera. I charged the batteries for the first time following the directions that come with the charger (yes, it helps to read directions!). So far, it has been several weeks with many pictures taken, and I have not yet had to recharge the batteries! I haven't figured it using any scientific methods, but I was changing AA's every other day using regular alkaline batteries.

The charger is small, sleek, and did not show any signs of overheating. Yes, it will only charge 2 AAA batteries, not 4 as advertised.

So, five stars from me, so far.
0Comment| 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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