NITECORE NITECORE I2 reviews
Video Transcript: Nitecore I2 Intellicharger (2016 version) - Review and Test by Mr Baz Reviews
I have the new Intellicharger from Nitecore in today. This is the i2. This is just to show you what you get included in the pack. Very basic instructions and a figure of 8 power cable, this will vary depending on which region you are living in. Looking at the top, you'll see a scratch off panel, that's to verify that it's a genuine product. On the front this lists out some of the new features and there are quite a few, actually, compared to the older i2 charger; the most obvious being the improved charging speed, you can charge at 1 amp per channel, and there's new active distribution technology as well as support for different voltage batteries, including the 4.35 ones. They're not particularly common, but it's nice to have some additional battery support too. This lists out the types of cell that it can take as well, and the sizes. So, you'll see broad support here. Don't have any D cells to test, but the 26650s and the C cells fitted perfectly fine. There's an optional car adaptor available too.
On the other side, this lists the output, inputs and outputs as well as the certifications at the bottom, you will see the CE and FCC marks.
Back of the box we have more detail about some of the new features. It gives you an idea of the extra specs that they've put into this model. They have changed quite a lot, whether or not that will be significant will depend on what you're using the charger for. It's also worth looking through the manual properly, because this does go into some of the new features and you have the two button controls on the front as well.
You'll note that you can charge a cell, a lithium cell at 1 amp, but only one channel and there's a new activation technology as well where you can manually activate a lithium cell and that will increase the pre-charging time so that you'll hopefully be able to bring those back to life.
Now, the charge current settings will vary. It does detect it itself to a degree, but you can't use the higher amps for the nickel metal hydride.
Now I have the older i2, the last version was the EU version. You'll see, there's not too many differences. The case is slightly different. Instead of the three LEDs we now have a smoked top cover with engraved markings on, we'll move in closer in a minute to look at that, and we have two buttons, the C and V, so the charge and voltage, and they can also select the channel that you want to change the settings on. Now, they're slightly taller on the new i2 compared to the older one, the slot side is a little bit bigger.
Now, the sliders have changed a bit. They've gone for a different design but they still have plastic rails at the bottom. The older one was better, in my view. They've also changed the contact points at the top, you've now a couple of nipples there where they were plain. On the back not too many changes, just looks like some additional ventilation slots on the case. Doesn't get too hot, gets warm, didn't have any issues with the heat off of the charger.
On the bottom not much changes apart from cosmetic and you still have the power input and 12 volt adaptor input too. On the panel you'll see you have engraved markings for the three voltages, and also for the 1 amp and the three stages of power charging.
What I'm doing here is just inserting a 18650 lithium cell and by default with one inserted it will start charging at 1 amps. You'll see the red LED at the top indicates the faster charging rate. Now you have a few choices, if you insert two it will by default charge them at half an amp at the same time or you can set it so that it fast charges the first battery and then moves on to the second cell. This is quite useful because if you need to have the one battery ready quicker, you can do that. It's a shame you can't have the 2 amps combined, but it's a nice feature to have and I think that's probably the most useful feature on this new charger.
Now, regarding the voltage changes, you can do that manually yourself, you'll have to for the lower voltage cells, but it's fairly easy to do with the controls and of course, you can mix a match with nickel metal hydride, nickel cadmium as well as lithium. Same charging principle as before, one to three LEDs.
Now, what I'm doing here, is just gonna run a quick test on the charging. Now, the lithium cell came out at 4.17 volts, which is okay, it's perhaps slightly under what it could be. Normally your optimal charge would be 4.2 volts, but it's not too far off. Now, the nickel metal hydride AAs they're at 1.42 volts, normally I would expect to see 1.45 to 1.5 volts. So it's slightly undercharging on the nickel metal hydrides. And I ran this test a few times with different cells. I'm now using the D4 from Nitecore and I'm testing the lithium cell. You'll see I'm up to 4.19 4.2. So, the D4 is giving a better charge, all be it by not by much on that.
With the AAs I'm now testing them, they've just come out of the D4, same brand of batteries, the same batch as well, and I'm running through each of the cells to see what the charge is. Now, you'd expect the charge to drop slightly over a bit of time. But as you can see we're up to the optimal charge on these, just under the 1.5 volts.
Wrapping up on the Nitecore. My summary and conclusion would be mixed feelings with this one. I liked the fast charging also the additional battery voltages and support and the case felt a bit more robust too. The manual activation is a useful feature to have. The disadvantages would be the it's tending to undercharge cells, the nickel metal hydride in particular, not by a massive amount, but by enough to say this isn't quite as good as it should be and also the plastic sliders weren't as good as the previous version.
My personal feeling is if you have the additional money I'd spring for the D4, it is a better charger overall than this one, and having used the i2, previous version, I feel that that's a better charger too, even though it doesn't have the 1 amp charging.