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Instant Power Charger

Sun Apr 22, 2001 - 7:27 PM EDT - By James Hromadka

The Competition

IPC with foil sleeveSo how does the IPC compare with other Prism rechargers? When compared to the Emergency Charger, the IPC weighs less so it's more appropriate for a single trip. However paying $9.95 for 3.5 charges from each PowerCartridge makes for a higher expense in the long run, even if the battery technology is cutting-edge. It's also easier to find AA batteries than PowerCartridges in retail stores. If the cost per cartridge was to come down and retail availability were to go up, the IPC could be a better value.

Conclusion

While the Instant Power Charger works great with cell phones, it makes a poor candidate as a recharger for the Visor. The PowerCartridges that the IPC uses are just too expensive for the amount of recharges that they provide. Perhaps with time the PowerCartridges will come down in price, but for now, the IPC is just too expensive to be worthwhile.

Update: Electric Fuel felt that I was remiss in comparing the IPC to the Emergency Charger, so here are some points they wanted me to mention:

  1. The effective charge delivered by our PowerCartridge is at least double that of 4 AAs. (after a 2 hour charge by a set of AAs the charge current goes below 200mA. This leads to a very slow charge process and also will not support the operation of a device with an empty battery, especially with high drain applications (visorphone, MP3 etc.) The PowerCartridge delivers ~400mA for the its full 6 - 7 charging hours.) This is quite important when you consider the circumstances a person will use this type of product.
  2. For a full kit (including batteries), the IPC's SRP is presently $19.95 while the EC costs ~$40. It will take quite a few uses to recoup this initial outlay.
  3. The convenience of the LED charge indicator and having the batteries prefitted should also be considered.




Criteria 

Rating

Weight 5
Durability 4
Usability 3
Cost/Benefit 1
Overall
(not an average)
Pros
- Uses cutting edge technology
- Light PowerCartridges
Cons
- Replacement PowerCartridges are expensive
-Difficult to find replacement cartridges in retail stores


 

Product Info
Details
Name Instant Power Charger
Company Electric Fuel Corp.
Weight: 3.5 oz. (cable+cartridge)
Size: 2.5" x 2" x 0.5"
Fact Sheet & User Opinions
Availability
Unknown
Pricing
$19.95 (Package)
$9.95 (PowerCartridge refills)

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