Saturday, February 10, 2007

Got them: USBCells

I have finally got them: My bunch (i.e. 4 of them) USBCells (See a video presentation.

You will find a lot of speculation and claims about those rechargeable batteries, but few real reviews or reviews that answer questions I had in mind.

So, what you get?

Actually, they are packaged like ordinary rechargeable batteries, except 1 has already the cap open (photo).




Here you see the front





and the back with instructions and warnings in various languages (good!).

What all reviews and articles I have seen yet don't mention: The cap is not connected to the rest of the casing via a plastic stripe (like many other modern stuff). So they won't be worn out or break off. Instead they are connected with an elastic durex cord:




I cannot confirm the reports or afraidnesses saying that the cap or the battries block USB ports which are located next to each other: If you use a normal standard USB slot to put them in, you should not experience any issues. Even if so, thanks to the quite long cord, you can move the cap a bit sideways to make them not block anything.

A capacity of 1300 mAh is not much considering that nowadays you can get 2500 mAh.
I am currently using them for the purpose I originated them for: A C64-in-a-stick (aka DTV). It's yet playing for hours!


The USBCells are actually my first order from abroad. So, I also want to lose a few words about the excellent customer support and feedback they provided to me by email and Skype. Even their CEO wrote an email to me apologizing for a two day's delay caused by half the staff being hunted down by a flue.

Since I was required to pay them using PayPal, I couldn't use their online shop (because it doesn't support PayPal yet), but I was supplied by them by telling me an Ebay link.

What is confusing here is the conflicting statement of supported countries to ship to.

On their FAQ site, they mention: "Deliveries in the UK and EU are free of charge and included in the purchase price (which also includes VAT)." and in the shop (at http://usbcell.com/product/1Delivery & Packaging), they show you a whole list of countries which are supported.

However in their Ebay Shop, they have a very smaller list for "shipping included in item price", but they are not excplecitely excluding any country.

Also, are recent EU countries like Bulgaria and Romania included in the offer here?

I have furthermore noticed a small glitch in the paying proccess. Somehow they have set set some option wrong, because Ebay asking me to enter a price I am willing to pay for shipment. Since handling and shipping was included, it took me a while, till I have figured out, that I had to enter a value of "0.00 GBP" so I was able to perform the payment succcessfully (A fact I have told them by email).

This is surely something to work on. But in case of questions, replies come usually within 24-48 hours, even on weekends and holidays. (which was a pleasant surprise for me).

A lot of emails conversation was caused by this, and neither by email nor by Skype, they ever gave me the impression that I nerve rack them; I felt well served and pretty good cared.


The next step was the order receiving, something which was an incredibly failure, because they got lost (or stolen) in the post. I have received my order, after a re-dispatch with no hassles after 2 days sent by AirSure.

(A surprise by itself, since the track & trace system is NOT GOOD. It arrived to me, but the system insists on telling me after a check "Recipient not available - A delivery was attempted for your item before 22:12 on 06/02/07.").

Last but not least, I have was asked by them to tell them any opinions, suggestions, complaints I might have after upon receiving (Which I doubt as I am 100% satisfied> with my received goods! :) ).

Thanks guys!

(Images taken by myself or from USBCell's media kit)


And now, let's close this review with the last point and question:
Do the USBCells flash when they are 90% loaded? - YES, they do! (For me: After exactly after 4 1/2h all together). And the total charging time was neat 5 hours. (Exact to the minute).
Which might be random luck or sheer excelence of the charger included into the batteries!


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