Got a Flip Video Camera? Don’t “Flip” Over Their Rechargeable Battery Pack.

Thinking of giving up on rechargeable batteries and getting a rechargeable battery pack for your Flip Video Camera, instead? Think again!

The Flip Video Camera

It amazes me that the Flip Video camera hasn’t managed to put more expensive video cameras out of business. Its user-friendly features, quality video, and affordable price make it an obvious choice for the vast majority of people who just want to shoot simple videos. Even installing the batteries is simple: the Flip Video takes two AA batteries. Popping them in is as easy as it is with my TVs remote control.

But unlike my remote, which can milk two AA batteries for almost a decade, the Flip Video camera can drain a disposable battery in about fifteen minutes. That’s why most Flip Video users quickly realise that using rechargeable batteries makes a lot of sense.

The Flip Video Battery Pack

It has been scientifically proven that NiMH rechargeable batteries offer one of the best power options for digital cameras like the Flip Video camera. NiMH rechargeable batteries are much more powerful that alkaline batteries or even their NiCD predesescers, and they are good for use in heavy drain devices. Also, because NiMH rechargeable batteries allow a large number of recharges, they are remarkably cheaper over the long term.

Flip Video has attempted to fulfill the need for a NiMH alternative to simply feeding your Flip Video camera with disposable AA alkaline batteries all day long. The Flip Video Battery Pack is the same size as the battery compartment on the device, and does not need to be removed for charging – you charge it directly through the USB port.

The Flip Video Battery pack is essentially a bundled set of NiMH rechargeable batteries, so the technology behind the battery pack is sound, and definitely the right choice for your Flip Video camera. The question is, are you getting the best value and quality on NiMH rechargeable batteries with the Flip Video Battery Pack?

Is Your USB Port a Reliable Charger for Rechargeable Batteries?

More and more, we’re beginning to see the USB connection as a solution for charging NiMH rechargeable batteries. The most obvious example of this is the USBCell rechargeable battery. But the question is, is USB technology a reliable conduit for fully charging NiMH rechargeable batteries? Clearly, there is mixed data and thus no definitive answer. However, as a rule, you need 250mA from your USB port to get a full charge for your rechargeable batteries, and USB ports and cables are notorious for underperforming at these levels. Many people even have difficulties running devices and gadgets from a USB cable that require much less power than this.

Flip Video asserts that their battery pack “provides 4.5 hours of battery life for your Flip Ultra 2 hour camcorder or 2.5 hours for your Flip UltraHD 2 hour camcorder.” However, over time, this capacity is bound to decrease, much like what has been seen with the USBCell rechargeable batteries. So, you’re running the risk with your Flip Video rechargeable battery pack that you’re never going to get a robust charge, and thus end up having to recharge as often as you would need to replace your trusty alkalines.

Want to recharge? The Flip Video Battery Pack Only Does it USB-style.

If the sketchiness of the USB port as a reliable charger for NiMH rechargeable batteries wasn’t enough, here’s some more bad news: you can only charge the Flip Video battery pack via the camera’s USB connection — the battery pack will not charge in any NiMH battery charger. So, if you invest in the battery pack, you’re committed to the USB option. It remains to be seen if Flip Video will expand its charging options and eventually offer a proprietary external charger for their battery pack, but as of right now, there is no viable alternative.

The Price Breakdown: Are You Really Getting a Value?

Sanyo Eneloop AA rechargeable batteries - the Flip Video battery pack looks strangely similar!

The Flip Video battery pack lists for $24.99, much higher than what even two Sanyo Eneloops would cost you. So, what are you getting for the higher price? The only discernible feature is the ability to charge via USB port. Otherwise, you’re just getting a couple of AA NiMH rechargeable batteries bundled together (in a casing that looks suspiciously like Sanyo Eneloops, no?) For a lesser price, you could buy a 4-pack of Sanyo Eneloop or even Vapextech NiMH rechargeable batteries. Provided you already have a changer, you’ve saved yourself money. Or, even if you have to purchase a battery charger, the nominal amount of extra money upfront far outweighs the frustration of an underperforming battery pack.

Conclusion? Stick with singles.

This article isn’t to say that rechargeable battery packs that charge via USB ports are a bad idea in general. Clearly, there are plenty of examples in the gadget world where they perform quite well. Apple, for example, has done a wonderful job in advancing battery pack technology, and their new laptops have impressive longevity. But Apple uses lithium-ion battery cells — the best of the best in the world of rechargeable batteries — and they’ve devoted an incredible amount of resources into developing their battery technology.

NiMH battery pack technology, however, isn’t quite there yet. In the meantime, stick with single AA NiMH rechargeable batteries and a high quality recharger. They’ll give your Flip Video camera the long, smooth power you’re looking for.

Thanks for reading our article! If you’re ready to purchase some rechargeable batteries, battery chargers, or any other electronics accessory, then visit the Electronics Warehouse website and use promo code EWBLOG at checkout for 10% off your entire order, plus FREE shipping Australia wide!

7 Responses to “Got a Flip Video Camera? Don’t “Flip” Over Their Rechargeable Battery Pack.”

  1. 1 JimiCactus Aug 5th, 2010 at 2:42 am

    As a Professional Videographer for over 20 Years now I have seen many Battery & Camera advances in the industry!
    Starting with the Ni-Cads in the 80’s then going into the Ni-MH & LI-ion Types.
    The Main Tool to use is a VOLT METER!
    Once you have Fully Charged your Battery’s for a minimum of 12 to 24 Hr.s let them cool down for an hour then the best way to check them is to apply a VOLT METER!
    The Battery should read the same amount of VOLTAGE on the METER that the Manufacture imprints on the side of the Battery, (exm) AAA 1.2 VOLTS or AA 1.5 VOLTS.
    Previously charged Battery’s also lose Power sitting around for a long period of time so for the Best Results always Charge them up for an Hour just prior to installing them into your Camera!
    Remember, “Every COLD Battery needs a Top Off!”

  2. 2 JimiCactus Dec 24th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Concerning the Flip Rechargeable Battery Pack I have recently invested in an aftermarket version manufactured by, FLASHPOINT which can be purchased at ADORAMA in New York for $8.95 each!
    When I compared the AVECTOI 2650 Mah rechargeable battery’s that I had been using for my Flip Ultra HD to the ABT1W Rechargeable Battery Pack, the FLASHPOINT runs the Flip at least 3 Times Longer!
    Yes you Must charge the Pack within the Flip via the USB Connector!
    I found this quite convenient as You have to Connect the Flip to your Computer to Transfer your Video Files over anyway!
    Flip has recently introduced an A/C Charger with a USB Port that you plug your Flip into for Charging on their website for $24.95
    ~Happy Shooting,

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