Categories: Accessories and Software
One of the key problems facing consumers is that portable electronic devices are getting more power hungry with each new generation, but those single-use alkaline batteries that power them haven't really improved much over the last decade. Perhaps 10 or 20 years from now, it will seem silly that we had to tote around two or three spare sets just to make sure that we could always use our portable device whenever we wanted to. Or, has that time come already in the form of Oxyride?
While attending this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I was approached by Lindsay Singler, a PR representative for Panasonic, who surprised me by not wanting to show me the latest and greatest digital camera or flat panel television. Instead, she wanted to show me Oxyride, their latest revolution in battery power for high drain devices like digital cameras and MP3 players.
As a journalist in the electronics biz, there are two lessons that you learn quickly. Lesson number one is that every manufacturer has something "new and improved" that is going to change how we use electronics. Lesson number two is that most of these claims are grossly over exaggerated. Though their display was unquestionably hard to argue with, the skeptic in me couldn't help but remember every time a big name battery company has cried revolution, but only provided a marginal performance improvement. Maybe I was just convinced that the promise of better battery life equates to five more minutes of playtime on my MP3 player, or seven more pictures from my digital camera.
When I asked how Oxyride was better, I was told, "Oxyride provides two to three times the performance over top-performing name-brand alkaline batteries in the market." Of course, my skeptic brain translated this as, "Oxyride will last a little bit longer than Energizer and Duracell." Since I'm as much a cheapskate as I am a skeptic, it would only seem obvious that my next question would be to ask how much more two to three times the performance would cost over regular alkaline batteries (I'm sure not going to drop 12 bucks for two AAs). It was the answer to this question that finally perked my interest. "Nothing." she said. "Oxyride batteries are the same price as a quality name-brand alkaline." For a guy who's mission is to help people get more from their gear, anything that supposedly provides that much of a performance gain for no increase in cost is something I had to investigate. My main question... Was it true?
About OxyrideFor the record, Oxyride is not an enhanced formula of alkaline. In fact, the only similarity is that they're both dry-cell batteries, and both come in the standard cylindrical AA and AAA shape. Rather than try to continue to improve a technology that is already 20 years past its prime, Panasonic chose to rethink the battery, and just as importantly, how they're made.
Oxyride, the result of eight years of battery research, is the consumer friendly name for a newly developed material called Oxy Nickel Hydroxide, which has a higher initial voltage than alkaline. However, it's just not new materials that make Oxyride one powerful little package. Their new vacuum pouring manufacturing process allows them to pack more electrolytes into the battery. With these two innovations combined, Oxyride can keep high-drain electronic devices running for much longer than a traditional alkaline battery.
Of course, it's hard to take any manufacturer's word when it comes to how revolutionary one of their poducts really is. So, it was time to put Oxyride to the test.
The TestPanasonic says that Oxyride is designed to outperform other batteries in high drain electronic devices. So, to find out how much better Oxyride really was, I decided to grab the most power hungry device in my arsenal. Say hello to the Kodak EasyShare CX4200:
It's a slightly older, inexpensive consumer digital camera that chomps through AA batteries like Homer Simpson at an all-you-can-eat buffet.