I love USB-C.
I’m thankful I live in the time of USB-C. All but gone are the days of trying to plug in your USB-A flash drive only to realize it’s upside down. Flipping it over and over and yet somehow it’s still upside down. Just me? Yes you’re right, this is an utter definition of a first world problem. However more importantly, USB-C is sustainably solving a real world problem by challenging the norm of single-use disposable batteries.
Utah-based company Paleblue, identified a problem with single use household batteries and took action with their Lithium Ion USB-C rechargeable AA and AAA batteries. Paleblue is a member of the sustainability nonprofit organization: 1% for the Planet. They are joined by companies like Patagonia, Peak Design, Klean Kanteen and others in annually donating 1 percent of gross sales to climate, food, and other environmental solutions.
From the start, Paleblue backs up their sustainability claims with their packaging. I reviewed their Sustainability Kit and was greeted by simplistic cardboard, curb recyclable packaging that did its job getting the product to and from. What stood out right away was the charging cable. A 4-to-1 USB-C cable, this accessory allows you to charge all your batteries at once. The charging adapter could work well on your desk, in your car, or with a rechargeable battery pack. Plus, if you ever need another cable, it’s only $5.00 on Paleblue’s website. With Apple and other brands charging outrageous prices for proprietary accessories, this was a breath of fresh air.
For battery capacity, the AA batteries offer 1560mAh while the AAA offer 600mAh. Both the AA and AAA rechargeable batteries fully charge in about one hour (AA being a little bit quicker). It would be nice to see a boost in power if these batteries could match the 2,000+ mAh seen in rechargeables from competitors like Duracell. However, the new market of USB-C rechargeables is more future forward than the standard NiMH rechargeables.
Admittedly, I’ve always used single use batteries. I’m used to getting the jumbo sized packs from Amazon or Costco and not having to worry about not having batteries around. But with rechargeable batteries, I’m willing to try any product that can do the job and save me money. So, do they do the job?
For the most part, yes. However, I say for the most part for a reason.
I work in live production. Problems happen on the fly, troubleshooting is a must. The key is, if there’s anything I can do to minimize troubleshooting, it makes life easier. So in order to put these batteries through the true performance exam, I used them in wireless microphones. For my test, I put them in a Shure Beta 58 Wireless handheld on full charge (indicated by a handy green status light on the plus side). After putting them in around 7:45am, the microphone died before 9:00am. I was surprised to be honest. Now, there’s multiple external factors that could have effected this including the microphone’s battery connections, power usage, and more. With rechargeable batteries, I’m less concerned about the batteries lasting forever on a full charge but rather that they perform when I need them to for the time I need them to.
Given those standards, while the first part of my test was a disappointment the second part was a success. I put the same rechargeable AA’s to the test in my Xbox wireless controller. After hours of play and use, I have yet to swap them or recharge them. In 2023, I wish Xbox controller’s had USB-C charging but if this is the closest thing I get to it, that’s fine by me. Lastly, the AAA’s performed well for me when I used them in my noise canceling headphones. Expect to recharge your AAA batteries more frequently than the AA’s given the capacity.
If you’re looking to limit your use of disposable batteries, rechargeable batteries are most likely the solution for you. While it depends on your use case, for most applications rechargeable batteries will give you the power you need until your next charge. Not to mention, saving you money in the long run (with these batteries boasting a 1000+ cycle rating). USB-C rechargeables still have plenty of room for improvement but with time and development, they could be the future of household batteries. Paleblue offers four packs of AAA rechargeable batteries at $24.99 and AA rechargeables at $29.99. If you’re looking for both, Paleblue’s website is running a sale on what they call their Sustainability Kit, 8 AA and 8 AAA batteries. While there’s room to improve, if you’re looking to jump onto the USB-C rechargeable battery train Paleblue offers the batteries you use in your day-to-day.
Note: Our reviews are always 100% independent but Gearadical receives a small affiliate amount if you purchase the product on Amazon.