Cute. That was the first word that I thought of when I first saw it unpacked. Hahnel’s ProCube is a charger for Li-Ion camera batteries as well as rechargeable AA batteries. It comes with several switchable trays to accommodate several different camera batteries. It’s a great charger for a good price.
The Hahnel ProCube battery charger is a small cube with replaceable plates to accommodate different brands of Li-Ion batteries. The ProCube Sony/Olympus model comes with exchangeable plates for multiple Sony and Olympus battery types. Included are the Sony FW-50 type, which I mistook for FV-50 batteries. Cutting a long story short: I couldn’t try out the Li-Ion battery plates and the ProCube’s performance in that area because it turns out I don’t have any of the types the device supports. However, I did have the chance to try out its AA battery charging capabilities.
The ProCube also has a USB charging port. The front side of the cube has a generous LED screen showing you how the charging process is going. However, it does not show you how much power is left in the batteries you’re charging — at least not with AA batteries.
The AA battery plate is cleverly designed. It sticks on top of any of the Li-Ion battery plates you have installed, using magnets and electrical contact dots in the centre of its magnetic ‘feet’. This allows you to use it whenever you want without having to switch plates — just place it on the already installed Li-Ion plate, insert your AA batteries and start charging.
Charging is fast and the eneloop pro batteries I tried the ProCube with first didn’t get too hot in the process. As far as I could see, the ProCube performed as well as Panasonic’s own eneloop pro charger — and that one is one of the best money can buy.
I also tried the ProCube with Hahnel’s own Synergy 2500 AA batteries. The Synergy 2500 range is a range of batteries that perhaps look different from the outside, but are very much alike the Panasonic eneloop pros I reviewed earlier. It has a 2500mAh capacity, can be recharged 500 times and retains its charge at about 80% for several years. The only difference I found between the eneloop pros and the Synergy’s was that the Synergy batteries that I received had more power left in them out-of-the-box than the eneloops — which is kind of strange as the eneloop pros were a brand new type when I reviewed them — and were less prone to fluctuating performance when I tested them with the LumoPro speedlight. To see how I tested, read my eneloop pro review.
In short, the Synergy AA batteries fared better than the eneloop pros, so either Hahnel has developed its own ‘eneloop’ type of battery, it has improved upon the existing eneloop pro, or these were simply handled better so that they were in a better shape when I got them.
Whatever the case, the ProCube charger is excellent for charging four of these high-capacity AA batteries quickly. I am pretty certain the ProCube is also one of the best chargers you can buy for the Li-Ion batteries it supports. The Hahnel ProCube costs €80.00. To charge your video Li-Ion batteries like my FV-50 I confused the FW-50 batteries with, I warmly recommend the Hahnel Powerstation Twin V Pro, which costs €90.00. I have been using two of the latter for many years and they’re both going strong!