Move over, alkalines: In PC World tests, new Panasonic Oxyride disposable batteries delivered more than twice the performance of high-end alkalines for the same price.
That's welcome news given the proliferation of high-drain battery-powered devices these days, such as digital cameras, MP3 players, and portable game consoles. AA and AAA rechargeables are still the most cost-effective way to power many such devices, but lots of people use disposables anyway, perhaps because they forget to charge the batteries they own or because they never buy rechargeables in the first place.
Using a Canon PowerShot A400 digital camera, we compared the new Oxyride AAs ($4 for four) with Duracell Ultra alkalines (also $4 for four) and with 1800-mAh Rayovac nickel metal hydride rechargeables (about $12 per four without charger). Panasonic says that its new cells last up to twice as long as alkalines, but in our tests the Oxyrides exceeded those claims and nearly matched our NiMH rechargeables. After loading the camera with each type of battery, we took an even mix of flash and nonflash shots. The Oxyrides powered 290 shots, compared with just 131 for the Duracells. And the Oxyrides completed only 10 fewer shots than the NiMH cells did.
Panasonic says it uses a patented process and a combination of new and improved electrolytes to manufacture the new AA and AAA cells. After eight years in development, they finally reached store shelves in Japan last year.
Oxyrides face some competition in the disposable arena from long-lived AA and AAA lithium disposable batteries, which makers say last about five times longer than alkaline batteries. But these batteries also cost about three times as much as alkalines. Given their relatively low price and their sizable power boost, Oxyrides should hold greater appeal for many battery buyers. There's one slight catch: At least for now, you can get the batteries only from Panasonic; the company has no plans at present to license its technology to others.
Test Report: Better Fuel for Power-Hungry Devices
In PC World tests, Panasonic's new Oxyride disposable batteries proved they can keep your favorite portables going significantly longer than top-of-the-line alkaline batteries.