Here in the UK we use loads and loads of disposable batteries - powering everything from the humble TV 'dobber' to your favourite special-edition Barry Manilow nasal trimmer. Although rechargeable batteries are frequently used on our shores, Britain still lags behind the rest of Europe when it comes to embracing rechargeable technology - 'Je ne vais pas utiliser de piles rechargeables'.
I remember a time when rechargeable batteries were a bit rubbish - they would take hours to charge, and then provide only enough power to drive the remote control car to the end of the room and back. This just isn't the case anymore - if you invest in a decent set of NiMH (nickel metal hydroxide) rechargeables, you'll be able to power your life-size Dale Winton cyborg for a whole day - you lucky people. Costing £6.19 for the four pack, Uniross' 2700 NiMH AA batteries are just the job. The '2700' in the battery's title refers to the capacity of the product - basically, the higher the number, the longer the battery will last in your device. I'm no scientist, but i've been assured that the battery will release 2700 milliamps of current at a specific voltage for one hour before it is discharged. 2700 is a highly respectable capacity, and the battery should be suitable for all manner of power hungry devices (including that Barry Manilow nasal trimmer). These particular batteries can be recharged many times, and the good thing about the NiMH variety is the fact that they don't have any 'memory effect', which means that they can be topped up even when they're not fully discharged without ruining their performance in the long-run.
The batteries are pleasant to look at, with a predominantly silver body and black top - that said, buying batteries solely for their appearance isn't something which is going to happen - it's akin to watching a Steven Seagal film purely for his acting ability.
Rechargeable batteries are certainly better for the environment - nickel metal hydroxide ones especially, as they don't use any toxic elements in their construction. Basically then, you'll not only have a higher performing device, but also a clearer conscience. Although paying over £6 for four batteries may sound like madness, in reality it represents great value for money. These metal bad-boys are efficient and reliable - some of the cheaper brands start to loose their capacity after around twenty or thirty charges, whereas my Uniross NiMH batteries (which are over a year old) are almost as good as new - recommended for both high and low-drain devices.
About this time last year my girlfriend and I decided to get ourselves a Nintendo Wii. We had been wanting one for a while and the stocks were starting to run dry in the run up to Christmas so we acted quickly and found one.
We played Wii Sports loads every evening and soon the batteries that came with the console and second remote died on us. We decided to replace them with rechargables batteries. Having used Uniross batteries in the past and always having found them to be really good, and having seen that they now did batteries rated to 2700mAh (the higher the number the longer they last...these were the top ones they did last year), I figured that they would be a good choice as they would last a long time in the Wiimotes, so I went ahead and purchased a set of 4 from a site online.
When I first got them, I stuck them in my charger and once they were charged I stuck them in the wiimotes and we set about playing again. I was very disappointed the next day when we went to use the Wii and the batteries were nearly flat, they hadn't last long at all.
I looked this up on the internet and it seems that Uniross batteries are not conditioned before they are sold. Let me explain this. With modern rechargeable batteries, they need some conditioning at the beginning of their life to get the best out of them and to achieve the best possible battery life from them with each charge. This conditioning is simple really but a little time consuming. Basically you just need to charge them fully and then discharge them fully a few times. Having a charger which also doubles as a discharger, I set about conditioning them, charging and discharging them several times.
Once I had done this a few times, I tried them in the controllers again and this time had much much much better results!!! They lasted a very long time, so long in fact that I ended up forgetting to keep tabs on how long they had been in use for as I had intended!
The only negative thing I would have to say about these batteries is the pricing. These are not cheap batteries, especially if purchased on the high street!!! I would certainly recommend shopping around online as there are a few sites that sell these at about half the price of the high street (or at least there were when I purchased them last year, I must admit I've not checked recently). However I wouls also advise you to consider different brands, I have since purchased a large pack of 2600 mAh batteries (which last a very good length of time also) and ended up with 12 batteries for about the same price I would have paid for 4 Uniross in the high street!!!
Overall a great battery once they are conditioned but I have marked them down because these days there are so many alternatives that offer better value for money!