ProsOutput that matches Alkaline batteries and easily beats nickel metal hydride batteries; truly simple charging
ConsNot available at retail as of our review date; a bit expensive for some applications
We're very lucky here at The Tech Buyer's Guru that after nearly seven years of writing about and reviewing tech, we occasionally get a sneak peak at something really special - not just new, but different, with the potential to establish a whole new market for tech. Think iPod, iPhone, or Echo levels of ingenuity and polish. So when we were contacted by Pale Blue regarding its new smart lithium polymer rechargeable batteries, we had to try them out. Combining the century-old AA form factor and the thoroughly modern promise of smart lithium technology, this new product holds the potential to be the perfect upgrade for a huge array of electronic gear.
As background, we've been using rechargeable batteries since the bad old days of the 1980s, when they came in the form of Radio Shack Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cad) cells, which were tempermental and highly toxic. Since the early 2000s, nickel metal hydride batteries have been the norm, but first-gen products had a serious problem with charge retention over time. They were really only useful straight out of the charger. Sanyo did its best to tame the wild dynamics of NiMH batteries with its Eneloop batteries, which traded capacity and maximum output for much better shelf life. Ultimately, however, NiMH batteries could never truly replace Alkalines. This was in part because they required a bulky charger and the knowledge of how to properly "feed and care for" them with optimal charge and discharge rates, reconditioning, etc. But the fact that they only ran at 1.2V, rather than the 1.5V that Alkalines put out, just didn't work for high-performance applications. Electronics don't always behave the way you want them to when fed less voltage then they require. In fact, some products we've tested over the years wouldn't even work with NiMH batteries. A final strike against NiMH batteries is that they were quite a bit heavier than Alkalines.
We've known for a while that there had to be a better option - in fact, it was staring us straight in the face. Just about every modern piece of mobile tech has lithium batteries built in (some less fire-resistant than one would like, as exploding phones have proven!). Why couldn't a refined version of lithium technology make its way into the common AA and AAA format, so that all the devices we've been using for years, and will likely use for many years to come, get a shot of modern power?
Enter Pale Blue, with its revolutionary Lithium Polymer (LiPo) rechargeable batteries! We took them for a spin in various electronic devices, and we're very pleased to be able to share this review with our audience. Special thanks to Pale Blue for providing us a prototype sample for review.
To cover all that the Pale Blue batteries have to offer, we've put together a full video review, which you can see below:
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We think rechargeable AA and AAA batteries may finally be ready to enter the world of crave-worthy tech. With its new smart Lithium-Polymer offerings, Pale Blue is taking rechargeable batteries beyond the domain of hobbyists and straight into the world of consumer-friendly, everyday technology like smartphones, smart home devices, and smart fitness products. It's a great step in the right direction, and we applaud Pale Blue on a successful effort thus far, and wish them luck in scaling the product up to the mass market, where we believe there is plenty of potential for this product to find eager buyers.
Pale Blue has recently completed a successful crowd-funding campaign and has stated that its AA and AAA batteries should be available at Amazon by the end of 2019. We think that may be slightly ambitious, but in the meantime, you can choose to pre-order them on Indiegogo, as long as you understand there is no guarantee that they will ship.