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Customer Review

on July 10, 2010
In case you're wondering, here are the 5 ways this thing charges stuff. I bought it to charge a Canon NB-6L camera battery and it works well, as the other reviews have said.

1. You can plug the charger into the wall using the built-in folding plug (nice that it doesn't need a separate AC adapter), and charge your camera battery from that. It will work on European AC voltage too with a simple adapter (not included).

2. You can plug the charger into a computer's USB port (or some other powered USB port) as a power source, and charge your camera battery from that. This is a nifty feature; I haven't seen another camera battery charger that can do this. My previous camera could be charged by plugging it directly into a USB port, which was nice since then I didn't have to carry the camera's AC adapter when I travel. So when I got a Canon camera where you have to take the battery out to charge it, I bought this charger so I could still charge the battery by USB. Of course it turns out it's not such a useful feature since you still have to carry the charger around with you (unlike with my old camera), and when do you really have a USB port as the only available source of power. To take advantage of this feature, along with the charger you also have to carry around the included male-to-male USB cable, which is actually an unusual cable that wouldn't really be used for anything else, since it has full-size connectors on both ends.

3. You can plug the charger into a car cigarette lighter, and charge your camera battery from that. That same USB male-to-male cable makes the connection to an included cigarette lighter USB adapter.

4. When the charger is plugged into the wall, you can charge another USB device from that same USB port that's used for input in #2 and #3. The USB port works in both directions, which is clever in a way (though it's also the explanation for that unusual male-to-male USB cable). It can do this at the same time as charging a camera battery if you want.

5. You can use that cigarette lighter USB adapter to power other USB stuff directly (when it's not powering the charger).

Here's what it doesn't do:

- Doesn't charge AA or AAA, because they're all NiMH or NiCd-- only charges 3.7v Li-Ion batteries (of almost any size).

- You can't put a charged camera battery in the charger and use it to power other stuff from the USB port, as backup power, when the charger isn't plugged into the wall. I found at least one other universal charger out there, called "iWap", that can do that potentially useful trick, but it's bigger which kind of defeats the purpose of such a feature.

The charger is a half inch longer than Canon's own NB-6L charger, and is the same in every other dimension, so it's pretty compact for traveling-- impressive considering how many different batteries it fits, and its various functions. This thing is cleverly engineered for real. But if you won't be using it in the car, it probably doesn't offer much practical advantage over just carrying your regular camera charger and a separate small USB charger such as Apple's. It's a good value as a replacement or additional charger in any case.
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