If you like to travel light and are fed up carrying numerous chargers and cables to recharge your camera, phone, tablet and other portable devices, a universal battery charger can be an extremely useful accessory.
The DigiPower Smart Battery Charger TC-5000U is a slightly different take on the type of universal battery charger we’ve seen before and, rather than having to slide and adjust a pair of prongs to align with the battery contacts, the TC-5000U features a clever arrangement of prongs that are designed to automatically make contact with a battery’s terminals when it is inserted.
The idea eliminates the usual hassle of having to set up a universal charger and it worked a treat with the NP-95 battery out of our Fujifilm X100T, recognising it instantaneously.
For batteries that have small and difficult-to-access contacts, DigiPower provides a selection of charging plates to help initiate a perfect connection. Plates are provided for Sony (NP-FW50, NP-FV50), Canon (LP-E6, LP-E8) and Nikon (EN-EL14, EN-EL15) batteries, and these simply slot into the charger before the battery is clamped into place using the sprung retention bar.
Suitable for recharging Li-ion batteries with voltages ranging from 3.6V-8.4V, the charger displays a constant red LED when it’s charging, which turns to green when a battery is fully charged. Another useful feature is the USB port at the side, which allows a Li-ion battery and USB device to be charged simultaneously.
However, unlike Ansmann’s Powerline Vario universal charger, there’s no Micro USB input, so it’s not possible to hook it up to a powered USB socket or a portable power bank. The build quality is plasticky, but for those who want to save space and carry a single charger that’s capable of charging many different types of camera batteries and mobile devices, it ticks the right boxes and performs well. Michael Topham