By Evan Ackerman
As electronics get more powerful, the demands that they place on their power source increases, often entirely out of proportion to the ability of things like batteries to keep up. This is especially problematic with rechargeable batteries, which generally start off at a disadvantage anyway when it comes to voltage. I’ve had pretty good luck with high end NiMH batteries in the past, but the future is being brought to you by PowerGenix and their new NiZn (that’s nickel zinc) rechargeable cells.
This new nickel zinc technology appears to offer the high output voltage of premium alkalines (1.6 volts), the lightness of lithium batteries, plus faster charging, no memory, and relative cheapness and eco-friendliness (thanks to the zinc). The only downside is potentially the capacity, which is 1500 mAh, as opposed to some high end NiMH batteries, which offer in excess of 2500 mAh. By way of comparison, Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries have a capacity of about 3000 mAh, while standard alkalines store about 2700 mAh. You have to remember, though, that capacity and voltage are interrelated, meaning that the NiZn rechargeables that output 1.6 volts will perform far better in high drain devices than NiMH rechargeables, which only output 1.2 volts.
The other downside is the unsurprising fact that NiZn batteries require their own special charger, but a charger plus a set of 4 AA batteries is only $25 (pre-order) with free shipping on Amazon. I wouldn’t go swapping out all of your NiMH batteries for these new ones, but for high drain devices, nickel zinc looks like it should work significantly better, and they’re a damn sight cheaper, and much less wasteful, than buying disposable batteries of any sort.